Dyslexia and Me: The adventure begins
Hello there! Thank you very much for deciding to read my first blog post on Dyslexia and Me!
My name is Áine (Hannah in English) and I am a 29 year old mature student studying an undergraduate degree in History, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Studies. I am a big enthusiast of Viking history, I love music (especially metal) and cats… and I am dyslexic.
When I left high school, I dropped out half-way through my final year. I found it a real struggle and I couldn’t cope with it any longer, so I left and went to college to study music instead. I always thought that I would complete high school before I moved on to further or higher education, but unfortunately I was never given the help I needed in school. In fact, I wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until I was 25 when I decided to go back to college to gain the qualifications I needed for university.
I have felt very let down by the education system over the years. Despite my mother raising concerns about my abilities within reading and writing both in primary and high school, she was consistently dismissed as a ‘pushy parent’. ‘She can’t be good at everything!’ Although in high school they decided I had Irlen Syndrome (also known as Scotopic sensitivity syndrome, Visual Stress and Asfedia), they were not prepared to properly assess me for dyslexia as it ‘cost too much money’. I had extra time in exams and my questions printed on coloured paper, but besides this help in exam situations, I had no other help with my studies.
My results for my Standard Grades (Scottish qualifications similar to GCSE) when I was 16 were pretty impressive, I gained three 1’s (A’s) and four 2’s (B’s)! And for this reason, when I asked if I could take English over two years rather than the Higher (Scottish qualification similar to A Level) in one, it was refused. I had several meetings with my school counsellor, the head of year and my English teacher, but they refused to listen to my reasons as I had done so well gaining a 1 in English Standard Grade. I ended up dropping off the course completely. I couldn’t keep up with the work load and no one was prepared to help me despite asking on an almost weekly basis!
After leaving education for the ‘real world’ for a number of years, I decided to go back to university to study one of my big passions, history. It meant that I had to go back to college to gain the Higher qualifications that I had missed out on while in high school. Before I started, I told the college that I had been told I was dyslexic (by someone when I went to study music in my teens) but I hadn’t been properly assessed. The college booked me in to see an educational psychologist who diagnosed me at the age of 25 as dyslexic and confirmed the Irlen Syndrome that was mentioned before. I then received the help I needed! I was allowed to type in exams (as well as the extra time and coloured paper) rather than writing by hand, I was given a laptop on loan from the college for taking notes in class and a digital recorder to record classes so I could listen back if I had missed anything while taking notes. With this extra help I finally managed to complete my Highers and received three A’s, in English, History and Sociology.
Since then, I have received a lot of support and equipment when embarking on an undergraduate degree at university. I’m currently in my final year and am hoping that I will be able to continue my studies further into a postgraduate degree. I wouldn’t have managed to get this far if I hadn’t gained the help I needed when I came back into education.
So despite my struggles through school, I am on the way to completing an undergraduate degree in a field that I love! It has taken me a while to get to the position I am in now and I still struggle and threaten to throw the towel in with every essay I have to write, but I’ve got here now! It does however make me wonder if it would have been possible to have achieved more if I had been given the support I needed from when my mother originally began calling into question whether or not I was dyslexic back in primary school.
Posted on February 9, 2014, in Education and tagged Asfedia, Awareness, Blogger, Blogging, College, Coursework, Diagnosis, Dyslexia, Dyslexic, Education, Education System, Exams, First Blog, Further Education, Higher, Higher Education, Irlen Syndrome, Learning Disability, Learning Support, Mature Student, New Blog, Postgraduate, School, Scotland, Scotopic sensitivity syndrome, Specific Learning Difficulty, SpLD, Standard Grade, Student, Student Support, Undergraduate, University, Visual Stress. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.