Wednesday 17 October 2018

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

So October is Dyslexia Awareness Month. I've had dyslexia all my life, but it took a long time for it to be picked up and diagnosed. I have a very vivid memory of being 4/5years old and struggling with my reading homework which including the word 'what' and I was insistent that the word was pronounced 'w-hat' and my Dad was desperately trying to get me to say 'what'. 

Dyslexia is a form of 'Specific Learning Difficulty' (very different to a 'Learning Disability')

Having dyslexia doesn't mean I'm not intelligent - my brain just works a bit differently and gets a bit more scattered than other people's and I think more in pictures rather than words.

Dyslexia runs in our family - both myself, my brother and my Dad have it.

I always struggled with reading and spelling. I hated being called out to read aloud in class as people would laugh at my reading aloud ability or dis-ability in my case. What I found most frustrating was I was so bright, when it came to writing our work out my head would be buzzing with ideas of what I wanted to say but putting pen to paper was slow and very difficult and I was always pulled up for not finishing my work or for my spelling errors. Despite my intelligence I was in the bottom set for work so some of the other students that where on my table preferred to pick on me rather than do their work so I didn't;t really enjoy school that much.

Finally when my dyslexia was picked up, assessed and diagnosed is was almost like a sigh of relief. I quite beating myself up and my IQ was higher than average but for things like reading and writing speak I scored so low it wasn't on the chart but other things I scored very highly on so I was able to work with my strengths. I also got introduced to assistive technology which has been a lifeline and I got a support worker in class as well as 1:1 teaching sessions to help me with the things I found difficult. I also got special arrangements for examinations.

Some of the assistive technology I use is Dragon which a voice controlled, so I can control my computer with my voice and i can talk and it will type for me. Read and Write Gold which has lots of different features like reading out text, having a more advanced spell checker, a word dictionary, screen overlay, high lighter organiser and many more. I also use Inspiration in which you can mind map out things such as essays, blog posts etc.

Looking back I think I would have done better at education if my dyslexia hod of been picked up sooner but I pleased with myself for how far I did get without the support and knowledge of my dyslexia.

So, what is Dyslexia?
  • Dyslexia is one of a family of Specific Learning Difficulties.
  • Many people who have dyslexia have strong visual, creative and problem solving skills.
  • Dyslexia is not linked to intelligence but can make learning difficult.
  • Dyslexia is a life-long condition which has a substantial effect on an individual’s day to day activities and is classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010.
  • Dyslexia varies from person to person and no two people will have the same set of strengths and weaknesses.
  • It often co-occurs with related conditions, such as dyspraxia, dyscalculia and attention deficit disorder.
  • Dyslexic individuals often have difficulty processing and remembering information.
- The Dyslexia Association
 Alongside the dyslexia I also have Scotopic Sensitivity, or Irlens. Some people have this alongside their dyslexia, other can have it without having dyslexia. This was picked up a long time before my dyslexia.

Wearing tinted lenses - originally it was green, then blue and now purple they help to 'unscramble' the words on a page and makes it easier to focus on the text. I also have a colour filer on my laptop, iPad and phone which does the same thing.

"Irlen Syndrome (also referred to at times as Meares-Irlen Syndrome, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, and Visual Stress) is a perceptual processing disorder. It is not an optical problem. It is a problem with the brain’s ability to process visual information."
- Irlen