Around 1/20 people have some degree of dyslexia and around 4% of those are severely dyslexic whereby it effects their life on a day to day basis. It may not always be obvious when an individual is dyslexic and that is why sometimes people get overlooked and are not diagnosed until they get older.
When I started my access course, I had not studied for four years so I thought that my spelling and reading ability had been hindered because of this. I struggled in silence, refusing to read out loud in class and getting angry when they told me off for it. When I started my undergrad degree, of course communal reading was not obligatory but when I received my essay grades back, my comments would often state I had used wrong words in certain places (their/there, effect/affect) even though the content was good.
One of my tutors spoke to me suggesting that I should go to the disability centre to think about getting assessed for dyslexia but quite honestly I was too embarrassed to. She stated that I would be able to get extra help and support through my studies however, I did not go. I plowed through relying greatly on spell check, google, Miles and a lot of dedication.
It must be acknowledged, that being dyslexic does not just effect your reading and writing skills. It can effect a whole heap of things in your life. For example, your short term memory is lapse, difficulty in organising your thoughts as well as you would like to, the ability to interpret text, poor sense of direction and ability to follow instructions in a subsequential manner. Furthermore, people with dyslexia can have difficulties understanding how long something can take to complete (eg a journey), the ability to take notes to speech dictation and the list is goes on.
Whilst studying my postgrad course I have found the content and scientific jargon very difficult to understand and interpret. Furthermore, retaining the correct information is proving difficult. As before, my spelling is atrocious which can be easily fixed (google) but I am still getting words muddled up when writing.
Also I am attempting to take my skills tests in order to start my teacher training at the end of the year. Everyone I speak to say “The English is easy and the maths is hard” when actually when I practice I keep failing miserably at the English ones and passing the Maths. It is so so daunting because I only get three attempts. If I fail all three I can not apply to be a teacher for two years. I contacted my university that I wish to attend for my teacher training asking if they gave any support sessions for literacy tests. However, they only provide support for the maths tests. After a lengthy conversation with them, they asked if I was dyslexic or if I would think about getting tested.
After much deliberation, I contacted my disability centre at my current university and arranged a meeting. When I arrived I was nervous. I did not want them to think that I was being silly for attending. My brother is severely dyslexic and when I have wondered if I am (dyslexic), I naturally compare myself to him and do not recognise any similarities in our difficulties. Nevertheless, the meeting went swimmingly well and it was far less daunting than I imagined. The initial screening took around an hour where she asked me questions regarding my reading, writing, memory, map reading, organisation and so on. She marked me on many questions and suggested at the end that I needed to be referred to a educational psychologist.
After telling some family members about the results of my initial screening they sort of shrugged it off as though it was not possible that I may be dyslexic. Following on with asking questions like “How long did it last (the meeting )” suggesting that maybe the initial screening was too short to maybe get to know me well enough and the initial concerns from the advisor were not correct.
On the day of my assessment, I was somewhat nervous again. I had that feeling of concern, do I want to be branded as dyslexic? Am I here for nothing? My brother’s dyslexic, he finds it difficult to even text, surely I can not be dyslexic? After getting lost on the way to the centre, I arrived and after cooling down from my lost fluster, I was comfortable. The assessment took approximately two hours whereby I was given tasks that were quite hard. I had to relay basic numbers and letters back from a sheet (timed), identifying missing parts to patterns, answering questions based on a text that I was given (about a humpback whale), reading aloud (which I hated), trying to say nonsense words (such as pooga), removing certain sounds from words (eg. saying power after removing the first sound) and so on.
My assessor, who gave little away during my test came to the conclusion that my results suggest that I am very intelligent but I find it difficult to relay what I want to say and get down onto paper. “You are dyslexic, and I do not know how you have come this far without any help”, is what he said. He kept talking and explaining the result tables to me but all I was thinking was has he got this wrong? How did this happen?. ” You slipped through the net, all of the attention was focused on your brother, it is very common.” Was he blaming my parents? Surely it is not just their responsibility, my school missed it too?
After coming out there I contacted M, I felt a little confused and a little emotional that this was the outcome. Will I need to state this on any applications in the future? I did not think that this would be the conclusion. I am in the process of getting extra things in place to help me with my studies but to be quite honest I am rather clueless. I have told a handful of people and the general consensuses is that they did not think I could possibly be dyslexic. Maybe the moral of the story is that there is always an untold story. Although, I have been passing assignments and assessments I have been struggling of which, I have not hidden from anyone.
If any of you are dyslexic, think you are, or know of someone who is, let me know. Contact me. I would love to know what protocols you have put in place or maybe what difficulties you have faced.
Lots of Love