Dyslexia and Me: A Response from a Dyslexic #TimeToTalk
Posted by ainemosh
I can only speak from my own experience as I am not an educator or a health care worker. I am also not in the United States, so please read the original article for the full context. What I would like to discuss is the possible implications of not identifying dyslexia in schools.
I am an adult dyslexic who was NOT diagnosed with dyslexia at school. My mother knew there was something going on and had raised the possibility of me being dyslexic both in primary and secondary school. Both schools failed in looking into this further. In fact, my secondary school told my mum that if she wanted to have me tested, she would have to pay for it herself, which was a lot of money for a single mum with two kids to find. My mum couldn’t afford it and I wasn’t diagnosed until later.
For me, there were things I feel I missed out on due to the lack of support.
I struggled with organisation and structuring my time (which I have become far better at since being at university and getting support). This isn’t just a skill needed for school but is a life skill. If I have a structure within the workplace or when I was at uni, then I cope pretty well on the whole. However, at home trying to organise which tasks are more pressing and making sure the flat is organised and tidy is a real struggle. I really do struggle to prioritise and end up having freak outs every so often.
Strengths and weaknesses in my learning have been more difficult to identify by myself. During my time at university I tried all sorts of different learning techniques to try to find one most suitable to me, but even after 4 years of undergraduate I think I only identified one technique which helped me though, which was cramming as much reading in the 2 days before an exam so it was fresh in my mind.
For me the real issue I have had because of my dyslexia not being diagnosed in school is my lack of self belief and self-esteem. I still have a real fear of making mistakes which can make me slower or more nervous when attempting new tasks. I am very thorough in all I do which is definitely a strength as I don’t cut corners, but it means that people assume that I am lazy or slow or a daydreamer. And that’s what I was tagged as at school.
I believe that if I HAD been diagnosed at school and I HAD been given the support I needed, I would have far better self-esteem. I was a very miserable teenager. I think teenage years are hard enough for kids growing up with all the hormones and dramas of life without feeling like you’re working your hardest and being called lazy or stupid. I threw tantrums and cried a lot. The only classes I enjoyed was music because it was where I did well and where I wasn’t made to feel like I was useless.
I left school at 17 thinking I was a useless waste of space. I didn’t believe the marks I received in my exams (all top marks) because I had been made to think that I wasn’t clever. I was convinced it was a flook and/or that they had mixed up my papers with someone elses. Even now I wonder how the hell I managed to do so well!
Even writing about my experiences of secondary school is painful and I can feel myself welling up as well as feeling anger and resentment. The signs were there, my mum tried her hardest to point it out, yet the school(s) were not prepared to acknowledge that I needed support.
“Well, she can’t be good at everything.”
Could I say that I had depression as a teenager? Well my doctor told me otherwise when I asked for help. I was certainly very low, had suicidal thoughts and am still dealing with self-esteem issues almost 15 years on. I do believe that all of that could have been avoided if I had been diagnosed with dyslexia and given the support I needed in school.
Posted on February 6, 2015, in Awareness, Personal Experience and tagged #TimeToTalk, Depression, Diagnosis, Dyslexia, Dyslexic Advantage Blog, Identifying, School, Self Esteem. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.