It’s not nice to say that you’re never going to succeed, back in my school days this is exactly what I was told.
At nine years old I was told that I was dyslexic, so what did it mean to me? I was different how did that make me feel? At first, I was excited I wanted to be different, but I use the analogy of it’s like going to the dentist the feeling of stress, anxiety and self-doubt, I will never achieve. I did always wonder when I was younger why my sister who is three years younger than me could read, spell and write better than I could. Being diagnosed as dyslexic and having a label was kind of a relief in one way but it was also a hindrance.
Over my life I have come to understand my disability, my differences and my abilities. I’m very open talking about my dyslexia, I class myself as a severely dyslexic adult due to my reading and spelling ages being substantially lower than my chronological age. Of course, I can read but I have no automatic reading skill, words are just letters and symbols, I have to subconsciously tell myself to read.
Being told at school that I would never succeed because I couldn’t read affected me more thought at the time. Subconsciously I can’t remember the teacher telling me this, but my mum tells me I was there and maybe I block it out and it could be my driving force for my success today.
As a severely dyslexic adult that has worked for a UK National Charity in the areas of dyslexia and is now a dyslexic consultant for many multinational and international companies including Microsoft, I must have an ability and I must be succeeding. I still have difficulties with reading and spelling and my handwriting is just about legible.
I use technology every day, the advances in our assistive technology has grown so much, I remember at school being given a laptop with dictation software that never worked and now we’re talking to our phones and our computers and it types up the words for us and we also get responses back from our digital assistance. The concept of text-to-speech of text being read out loud has enabled me to gain content from many sources like listening to an email and listening to a full series of audiobooks. Assistive technology has put me back onto a level playing field with my peers and my colleagues. If you look at me you wouldn’t know that I have a disability but my dyslexia affects me every day with time management, organisational skills and of course reading writing and spelling.
Understanding my difficulties and understanding my challenges has enabled me to grow.
Technology and understanding can change people’s lives.