With a Drop of Color and Assistive Tech, a Published Author with Dyslexia is Born

2022-07-10 | By Orcam Staff

share facebook share twitter share linkedIn share whatsApp
With Assistive Tech, a Published Author with Dyslexia is Born

Tom McLaughlin is a famous children’s book author, illustrator, and animation designer despite having Dyslexia. For over 10 years, he has worked  in TV development, animation, commercial illustration, and greetings cards.

Important Diagnosis That Did Not Matter Than 

His success today was not without a long challenging battle: When Tom was about 10 he was diagnosed with dyslexia. At that time dyslexia was a relatively new thing, meaning there was no real support within the education system. Teachers didn’t know what to do about it, or didn’t believe it really existed. “He’s just a bit lazy, he just needs to concentrate a bit more” or “work harder” they said. So while it was a relief to be able to put a name to the multitude of problems that he had, it didn’t help.


Thankfully today children receive better support than ever. According to Tom, it is best to lean into your teachers, they are there to help you. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed about who you are. 

Tom reads

Dyslexia is a Weird Thing That Affects People in Different Ways

Tom believes his dyslexia allows him to be more creative and think more visually than most people, which is very handy for his job. Yet we live and work in a world of words, so for someone like him it can be really tough. Sometimes he feels the same as everyone else, then other days even spelling the simplest words becomes almost impossible. 


While spelling can all be fixed and sorted in private, reading is the hardest part for Tom. Whether that’s reading through edits or reading a new book in front of kids, when you read aloud, there’s nowhere to hide, making reading in front of people an anxiety nightmare for him. 

I love the OrCam Read illustration

Visually Dreams can Come True

For someone with dyslexia, the OrCam Learn is a great tool that literally turns the world into an audiobook. Tom uses it when he is struggling with some research, or just wants someone else to do the reading. The OrCam Learn has many good features, all work seamlessly and intuitively, taking the stress out of reading completely for him.


Tom addresses young children who struggle with this learning difficulty by saying “Give yourself some time and don’t worry so much.” Dyslexic kids or teens should know that struggling with dyslexia doesn’t mean they have no brain, or they are lazy, instead they just need to be brave. 


For him being a children’s book author is nothing to do with spelling or being able to read well, it’s about imagination, creativity, and telling stories. The world has progressed a lot since he was diagnosed and it will only get better!

Susan using the OrCam Read

For people with reading difficulties including dyslexia, and for anyone who consumes large amounts of text. OrCam Learn is a first-of-its-kind handheld device with a smart camera that seamlessly reads text from any printed surface or digital screen.