There are over 25 muscles in the hand and fingers, so you can see why it is essential to have strong muscles, leading to good handwriting and drawing. You will...
Dyslexia A2Z -About Us
Dyslexia A2Z – About Us
Maria Chivers has dedicated most of her working life to understanding and raising awareness of all aspects of neurodiversity, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and visual stress.
The Dyslexia A2Z website was established over 20 years ago to reach a wider audience than her teaching centre, ‘The Swindon Dyslexia Centre’, operating locally in the Swindon area.
Maria is an international author on dyslexia and other learning difficulties.
Maria’s vision is to raise awareness of neurodiversity and provide a service to anyone who needs help understanding an extremely complicated education system.
Furthermore, keeping up to date with educational issues helps Maria fulfil her dream that our education authorities will put sufficient resources and training so that children will be adequately educated one day.
The Dyslexia A2Z website can point people in the right direction to get tests, tuition, resources, and advice.
About Maria Chivers
About Maria Chivers
Maria herself is both dyslexic and dyspraxic, hence her passion for all aspects of neurodiversity, and she describes herself as being dedicated to raising awareness of dyslexia and dysgraphia.
Maria is 65 years of age and lives in Swindon with her husband, Chris, a retired police officer. They have two children. Maria first became involved in dyslexia when their older child experienced problems at infant school and was subsequently diagnosed with dyslexia. Later, their younger child was also subsequently similarly interpreted.
In 1991 Maria established the Swindon Dyslexia Centre. Then, to reach a wider audience, she developed the concept of the Dyslexia A2Z website to complement the Centre’s activities and operate alongside it to continue to spread the word about learning difficulties.
Maria Chivers has dedicated most of her working life to understanding and raising awareness of all aspects of neurodiversity, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia and visual stress.
For many years, Maria worked with teams of highly trained specialists – tutors, psychologists and other therapists – on a range of specific learning difficulties. She has also been featured on radio and television, including ‘The Learning Curve’. She has also delivered lectures on dyslexia.
Due to ill health, Maria closed the Swindon Dyslexia Centre in 2009 and turned her focus to the website.
Books by Maria Chivers
Maria is an international author on dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Her portfolio of titles includes:
- Alli Can’t Write – A storybook for children with learning difficulties, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and ADHD.
- Dyslexia and Alternative Therapies
- Practical Strategies for Living with Dyslexia
- Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties – The Essential Guide
- Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties – A Parent’s Guide (out of print)
- Dyslexia The Inner Hurt (out of print)
Her book ‘Practical Strategies for Living with Dyslexia’ has been translated into other languages.
Reviews on 'Alli Can't Write'
Alli Can’t Write
Reviews From the United Kingdom
Dr Helen Ross
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic resource
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 December 2019
The story is full of the kind of characters that you would see in many classrooms! The way that the story introduces the difficulties experienced by Alli is sensitive and presented clearly so that a child would be able to identify themselves as Alli. The experiences described are so common amongst young people with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties.
The interaction between Mummy-Gator and the schoolteachers is supportive and shows young people that there are discussions which take place that they may not necessarily be aware of. The book introduces the concept of specialist testing carefully and shows young people that it is not something to fear.
There is a list of recommendations for the family and Alli’s teachers, to help Alli improve his writing which are useful for everyone involved in supporting young people at school. There are also topics such as environmental damaged introduced in the book, so that different foci can be addressed when going through the book with young people multiple times.
The book is a useful resource to share with professionals and young people. The practical suggestions given to support Alli are useful for supporting young people with difficulties, their teachers and families. It is low cost and is thus accessible to multiple audiences. I would heartily recommend reading it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book on dysgraphia
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 June 2019
‘Alli can’t Write’ It is a lovely book for children who have dysgraphia! I like the way the book integrates an Everglades ecosystem message into its messages on dysgraphia. I also like the blend of the story and the information. The author communicates so successfully. It is a very novel, beautifully illustrated book which purveys information in a way that will help so many children. Well done!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Dysgraphia – A great useful book for both the parent and child
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 March 2019
This book is a little gem, a really great useful book both for the parent and child.
The author speaks exactly how a child would, great communicator. We loved Alli, and really liked it when the skunk made rude smells (typical child). He also liked looking for the snails.
I have no hesitating recommending this book to anyone, with problems writing.
Nice ideas in section two for parents and teachers, which give good information to help to strengthen the muscles in the hand fun. And some pencil grips, that don’t look like special pieces. And lots of other good ideas. Haven’t been able to try any of the suggestions out yet though.
Not only is the book fun but it also has very useful information to help me understand what disgraphia is. Even if your child doesn’t have disgrafia, its still a lovely little story.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 May 2019
I enjoyed this book and I’m sure children of all ages will too, and all the different animals in it children will just love
5.0 out of 5 stars It give specific info in back of book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 May 2019
A lovely story and very informative my 7 yr old son was able to see the similarities in himself being dyslexic and dysgraphic
5.0 out of 5 stars Really lovely book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 June 2019
Our boys age 7 and 3 both loved this story, it’s a very informative story and fun to read. It gives lots of good idea for children with disgraphia.
5.0 out of 5 stars A positive message of encouragement and acceptance
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 April 2019
We enjoyed the witty empathetic storyline and delighted in following the courageous journey of Alli and his family from their frustrations and difficulties to finding solutions. The positive message of encouragement and acceptance runs through the story, we loved the inspiring message of not giving up! This is a truly unique book with engaging lively graphics, beautifully illustrated in a child friendly style. Interspersed with fascinating facts and the useful information contribute to the added value of this book. A wonderful story for children and a must have for parents in their understanding of children’s handwriting development.
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a positive book for children as well as adults
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 May 2019
This is a good story and the children loved the different animals. They also felt sorry for Alli and could understand how he felt, and were glad he got the help he needed. This book is good for children and also there is a lot of helpful information for parents to. I will also be recommending this to my SENCO as it would be a great one for them to have to read with children and also lend to parents.
5.0 out of 5 stars Hand writing needs to be taught.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 May 2019
Dysgraphia is a SpLD largely overlooked in the UK, this book should raise its profile among parents and teachers whilst helping children to accept themselves and get the support they need. Alli and his endangered friends will appeal to children and the information given about them will provide a useful vehicle to encourage them to take heart about their own situation.
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful and practical book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 May 2019
This is a lovely and really practical book. I read it to my grandson and he really enjoyed it and he struggles with handwriting at times. I also found it useful for guidance for both schools and parents.
5.0 out of 5 stars Dedicated to raising awareness for people with learning difficulties.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 March 2019
This book has a lovely story line, pictures are very well illustrated and help’s tell the story. It’s a lovely book to read to children to help them understand that there are other children with similar learning difficulties. There is also an adult section of the book for parents and teachers with useful information and links. I have also purchased other books from this author and have always found them very useful and educational.
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual, interesting and engaging
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 November 2020
This little book written by Maria Chivers is both delightful and helpful. It is written in an engaging manner for those who have problems committing their well-formed ideas onto paper due to handwriting difficulties and / or dysgraphia. Couching the issues amongst exotic animals helps children identify with the characters and their problems in a positive way. The book is also full of explanations and ideas for parents and school staff, written in an accessible manner. Well worth reading.
Mrs F Woodfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Little gem
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 November 2019
Lovely little book that really helps both child and adult to grasp what is meant by Dyslexia. The book also covers little extras about nature and animals. I will be recommending this book to friends and schools. Thanks
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 December 2019
A fantastic book that i could easily relate to. Definitely one to read to children so that they can understand other children difficulties.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book for all the family!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 June 2019
what a great book, written so well enjoyed by all our family, our kids loved it!! Great for raisinf awareness
it also has useful information to help understand what disgraphia is.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 December 2019
A fantastic book which both my girls really enjoyed. The story was engaging and the illustrations were lovely.
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a story, an amazing resource for all ages
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 November 2020
Fabulous way to explain what having handwriting difficulties feels like to other children, young people, teachers and teaching assistants. Loved the resources at the back, thank you.
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 August 2021
As a seasoned teacher with over 15 years’ experience teaching a broad spectrum of abilities, I often come across students with SEND. This book is a breath of fresh air: written in a straightforward, yet friendly style, the story of Alli the Alligator is accessible and easily-relatable to anyone who supports children and young people with dyslexia and dysgraphia. The sympathetic telling of the story of how Alli overcomes his struggles is not only heartwarming, but is also educational and informative about what it is like to have dyslexia and dysgraphia. Towards the end of the book, there is an invaluable section on additional resources, websites, books, along with excellent advice and guidance on how best to support children with dyslexia/dysgraphia.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 September 2021
A great story for children to read or to be read to. Also a very informative book for adults, giving a description of how someone can be misinterpreted as being a messy writer, where in fact with the correct support was able to achieve. Lots of useful ideas to help support a child with their handwriting difficulties. Definitely recommend!
Reviews From Other Countries
Sammi Jo Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly recommend
Reviewed in the United States on 10 March 2020Verified Purchase
just finding out my son is dislexic and has disgraphia, a wonderful written book to understand what a child goes through, a must read if you? Your child’s needs!
Swindon Dyslexia Centre
Swindon Dyslexia Centre
Maria Chivers founded the Swindon Dyslexia Centre in 1991.
Maria, working with a team of highly trained specialists: tutors, psychologists and other therapists; with specific learning difficulties, has featured on radio and television, including ‘The Learning Curve’.
Starting with just a few children, the Centre increased over the years until over 100 students attended each week for specialist dyslexia tuition.
Unfortunately, the Swindon Dyslexia Centre had to close after operating for nearly 18 years due to Maria’s serious health condition.
This organisation was subsequently amalgamated into the DyslexiaA2Z website, so Maria could continue spreading the awareness of dyslexia – as and when – her health allows.
SDC – Newspaper Archive
This is the newspaper archive of our work at the Swindon Dyslexia Centre.
The Inner Hurt – Poetry Competition 1992
Maria Chivers and two children are winners of the Poetry Competition.
Maria Chivers and three children were winners of the Poetry Competition.
Newspaper Cuttings of the Centre (Archive)
- The Anguish of a Slow Pupil 1997
- Book of Poetry 1997
- Book Signing 1997
- Dim! No Dyslexic 1997
- Dyslexia Week 1995
- Dyslexic Girl Guide Wins Award
- People with dyslexia Not Stupid
- Heartfelt Plea 1997
- Inner Hurt Back Cover
- Inner Hurt Front Cover
- Learning Curve TV 1997
- Maria has a way with Words 1997
- Mum Signs Book 1997
- No Magic Cure for Dyslexia
- Opened Centre 1992
- Worried Parents Hotline Busy 1997
Alli Can’t Write
A Storybook for Children with Handwriting Difficulties.
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