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October is Dyslexia Awareness Month, which is a time to raise awareness and share experiences. So, let me start from the beginning (decades ago) to my childhood.
As a young child, I loved climbing trees and being outdoors. I was boisterous.
After a discussion with my mum revisiting memories, she described me as being my own person (even back then) who did not feel the need to conform to what other children were doing. (I did my own thing).
The 80s and 90s
Being the 80s, my brother and I were a minority in a predominantly white school. I had friends (including one who I am still friends with to date) and was a happy child. However, I needed more time to read at school and struggled with pronunciation of certain words.
I was told, numerous times by my teachers that I was a lazy child, who had messy handwriting. I became slightly frustrated.
At primary school, I had difficulty telling the time. My brain could not fathom quarter to and quarter past the hour (no matter how many times the teacher and my mum tried to teach me). I eventually learnt how to tell the time.
Moving onto middle school, no matter how hard I tried at my work, the teachers always marked it down because my writing was messy. It was at this period of time in my life that I had lost confidence in myself. I felt that no matter what I did, it was not good enough. I would also daydream into my own world of thoughts.
During this time, I was being bullied.
Once a boisterous child, then became a shy and withdrawn child.
The Invisible Child
I mentioned this before, but I hated reading out loud to the class.
I also remember one time, I was sitting at the back of the class, and decided to sneak out of the lesson half-way through. (if you are reading this mum, my apologies) The thing was, the teacher did not even notice I was missing. It was like I was an invisible child.
I had encouragement and support from my parents at home, but I needed this at school too. Sometimes the quiet children go unnoticed.
It was not until the food technology teacher looked at my ideas and praised me for my work, that I began to take notice during the lesson. I was engaged and motivated to create more food concepts. Finally, the ideas that I had in my head, I could produce them and see the outcome.
Unfortunately, the headteacher did not have the same enthusiasm in me as my food technology teacher. He informed me that I was highly likely to fail my GCSE’s and not to bother looking into applying for A levels.
The Turning Point
I decided that I was going to work extremely hard. I highlighted keywords and wrote down notes in bullet point form. My notetaking may have looked like scribbles to the untrained eye, but to me, it was an organised mess.
As well as help from my parents, I learnt how to break the work down for me to process it. I found my own way of learning.
It is difficult for me to explain my thought process to someone else. A lot of strategies I adopted back then I still use now. I was, back then, and still am unconventional in my methods. You could say that I had reconnected to my younger self of doing my own thing.
It was not easy, but I managed to pass my GCSE’s, then after my A-Levels (though I had to complete a probational period).
I finally got extra support at university after completing a dyslexia assessment, which concluded that I was dyslexic.
I recently attended a virtual webinar hosted by the Dyslexia Show. It was so helpful to listen to and relate to the speaker and host. I was shaking my head throughout the webinar in agreement saying to myself, “that makes so much sense now”.
I now have more questions about myself that I need to find the answers to after learning and understanding more about Dyslexia, including associated conditions.
So, to be continued.
*The content of this post is for information purposes and is based on personal experience, not to be generalised. I received no payment or any other commission for this post.
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The British Dyslexia Association has an active petition, which is at your discretion to sign. The purpose of this petition is to increase access to dyslexia assessment and targeted support in schools in the UK. For more detail, and information about Dyslexia Week 2020, I have provided the link below: