Dyslexia and Me: Doing it for the Grown Ups (and women?)

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

In the last month or so, I have been becoming far more active within the online community trying to raise awareness of dyslexia. It’s something that I was passionate about before I was diagnosed myself. When I was growing up we had a couple of family friends who suffered with dyslexia. Both have gone on to do amazing things, but there was always a struggle in reaching their goals. I had a poster of Albert Einstein on my wall as a teenager amongst all my posters of metal bands. It said on it, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”, a quote which I still live by to this day. Before I knew I was dyslexic I already had a number of people I admired due to their achievements despite struggling through school and the academic life to get to where they were. They were people I knew personally as well as the usual list of famous dyslexics that you can find on Google, Wikipedia etc.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until I was 25 when I decided I wanted to go back to university to study for an undergraduate degree in History. I despised school for many reasons (I will come back to this in a later blog) but being ignored when I was crying out for help is one thing that will continue to irritate me until I finally reach my life goal. I know I was not the only person to go through the schooling system in this fashion, I have read so many stories in other blogs with echos of the same experiences I had. I left school in 2001, so surely in the last 13 years things must have changed?

One of my contributions to #showme1in5

One of my contributions to #showme1in5

While browsing through blogs, Twitter and Facebook accounts and websites related to dyslexia, there is definitely a recurrent theme. Mum’s and dad’s of dyslexic kids are raising their voices through the powers of the internet to try to create a fairer education system for their kids! There are whole movements of parents from grassroot levels through campaigns, such as Decoding Dyslexia, who are an absolute inspiration! The #showme1in5 hashtag is being used on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram etc etc etc! I have nothing but the utmost respect for these people and have tried to show my support through the blog and through social media.

However, some of us are old enough to be raising our voices for ourselves. Our mum’s and dad’s tried to raise questions when we were at school that was ignored. The grown ups with dyslexia. The ones that slipped through the net. The ones who were never shown helpful strategies to make life easier and have had to come up with our own solutions. It seems that for those who were missed at school, our voices are far quieter. When raising on social media that I was one of those kids, the response was “We Rworking 2make sure that the next generation &their families don’t have to go thu the same!” Well that’s fantastic! I would hate for anyone to go through the same as what I did at school, but where is the support for the grown ups with dyslexia?

I have been told that the education system has improved since I left school, that they are more supportive and catch more students with dyslexia than they had when I was there. Yet, since I have been at university, I have met so many people who are in their late teens and early twenties who have only just being diagnosed with dyslexia. I read blogs by people in universities across the world who have just been diagnosed. They found that it finally made sense as to why they had struggled with certain aspects of their life. So have things really improved since I left, or are the educators telling themselves this to make them feel better?

Another contribution to #showme1in5

Another contribution to #showme1in5

With so many people diagnosed within further and higher education, isn’t it time that voices of the grown ups with dyslexia are heard as loud as the kids and their parents? Should we not be showing these kids that are struggling now that they can achieve so much when they are given the right support? And at the same time we, the grown ups, find new strategies and technologies to help us within the workplace and at home?

An issue I have seen raised via social network pages and blogs suggests women are less likely to be diagnosed with dyslexia than men. I haven’t done any research into this myself, so I couldn’t give any answers to whether this is true or whether or not the female of the species show different signs or have different strategies to males. I have been commended for raising my voice as a female with dyslexia, yet it seems that most of the stories I have read in blogs have been written by women (though not all, there are some fantastic dyslexic guys blogging too!).

Dyslexia crosses boundaries. If Decoding Dyslexia‘s 1 in 5 ratio is true for the USA, then worldwide there must be quite a number of us who have left school and who are not being represented on the whole within the online dyslexia community. I still ask my mum for help with filling in forms (my mortal enemy) and proofreading letters etc for me, but I don’t expect her to fight my battles with dyslexia now I am about to hit 30!

So here I am, standing up to be counted! I am a grown up with dyslexia and I want to see changes in attitudes to those within further and higher education who have been diagnosed after leaving school and to those within the workplace who may not have been diagnosed before. For those who have been diagnosed in their adulthood who are struggling to come to terms with it, or those who embrace it as they realise why that ‘quirky’ thing they did was seen as quirky by everyone else. It’s not just kids who struggle with dyslexia! It spans across the generations. Let’s show support to all of the 1 in 5 from school kid to grandparent!

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Posted on March 16, 2014, in Awareness and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Hello I really enjoyed your blog and felt like you was sharing and expressing my experiences. I to do believe more can be done with supporting children with dyslexia and that money should be put more into school than into colleges and universities where dyslexia is more identified and given most of the support to. I would like this to change at least in my lifetime, so that children who are dyslexic can be better supported and teaching styles are more specific to their way of learning…

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    • Hi Pauline, thank you very much 🙂 I agree that more can be and should be done for children with dyslexia in schools and the reason money is put into further and higher education is because so many students make it that far without proper diagnosis or support.

      I really would love the next generation of kids to have the support they need in schools so they don’t get to the grown up stage of their lives having gone through the same struggle I had. I am happy that I received a diagnosis in college that I could take with me into university to gain full support.

      The point of my blog was not to take away from the fight to support kids at school, far from it! I would just love to see more support for older generations who were missed that are struggling through further or higher education with recent diagnosis and also for those who have never been properly diagnosed who are in the workplace now.

      I plan on writing a blog in a few weeks about my experience in the workplace before I went back into education. I found it very hard to hold a job because I wasn’t as fast at typing/learning than others but didn’t know I was dyslexic at the time. If I had, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have been changing jobs quite as often as I had, especially in office environments.

      So yes, we need as much support for kids as we possibly can! I am 100% behind this, but we need just as much support put in to help older people who may have struggled their whole lives without the support they needed.

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  2. Good afternoon. I’m editor of http://www.dyslexia-online.com/. We have
    high-quality content, we are developing the site. Can I publish an article with a link to your site?

    Liked by 1 person

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