Harry Sylvester tells the story of growing up in a time and place where learning disabilities were unrecognized and misunderstood. He speaks of shame, struggles, and isolation — but also shares strategies, solutions, and successes. He graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in mechanical engineering but was unable to get promoted at work because he could not fill out the required paperwork.
“I covered up the fact that I couldn’t read well and couldn’t spell and write. I did everything I needed to do so that nobody would find out these horrible truths. As I look back at all of this, I can see that keeping that secret was more disabling than the disability.”
Mr. Sylvester was in his fifties when he finally discovered that there was an entire community of people who were like him -- as much as 10% of the population. It was a life-changing event for him. He devoted the last 25 years of his life to assisting people with learning disabilities -- in schools, in prisons, and in communities.
“I hope that my readers will end up with a better understanding of what it means to have a learning disability, and that those with disabilities will find some solutions for their difficulties.”
Some reviewer comments:
"A journey of self-discovery, insight, understanding and change...a story of victories and losses, triumphs and defeats, hope and despair,...a story experienced by every person with a learning disability...and one that should be heard by every parent and teacher who strives to understand.”
[Rick Lavoie, M.A., M.Ed.]
“Harry’s quiet dignity and respect for himself shows..., along with his sensitivity and compassion for others who struggle. He knows their pain. However, he has learned...to work with his strengths, and to find comfort in his successes.... His message is the message of his life: Never give up, use your strengths, and find your place in a world where you can experience success.”
[Larry B. Silver, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Georgetown University, author of "The MisUnderstood Child" and former President of the Learning Disabilities Association of America]
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