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Dyslexia and Me: STEM – Engineering – John Britten

John Kenton Britten


John Kenton Britten from Christchurch, New Zealand, was the founder of the Britten Motorcycle Company. He built his first motor powered go-kart at the age of 12 and at 13 he and his mate restored a motorcycle they found in a ditch. He went on to develop motorcycles that set a number of world speed records.

Although John struggled at school with dyslexia he completed a four-year mechanical engineering course at night school. He worked in the UK for four months with Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners on a design to link the M1 and M4 motorways. He returned to New Zealand and became the sole design engineer for Rowe Engineering where he designed off-road equipment and heavy machinery.

You can find out more about John Kenton Britten here:

#DDChat Goes Weekly!

First of all a massive thank you to everyone who took part in yesterday’s #DDChat on Twitter discussing all things dyslexia. It was the best one yet, I couldn’t keep up fast enough with the fantastic discussions!

We decided last night that #DDChat will now be changing from a monthly chat to a weekly chat taking place every Thursday from 8-10pm GMT with the format of an hour of questions followed by an open floor for discussion.

If you have any topics you would like us to discuss, then please go to the #DDChat tab at the top of the page and fill in the form.

I hope to see you all next Thursday on Twitter!

#DDChat Returns This Thursday!

The Twitter chat dedicated to 2 hours of dyslexia discussion returns this Thursday 8-10pm GMT (UK time) using the hashtag #DDChat. If you have any topics you would like to have discussed, then head to You only have until tomorrow to submit your topic suggestions as the questions will be posted online tomorrow, so don’t delay!

The first hour is questions, the second is an open floor. Make sure you pop it into your diary now!

Dyslexia: Dysassemble

I have a new dyslexia related blog project in the works and I am looking for enthusiastic dyslexic people to take part! The blog is called Dyslexia: Dysassemble.

Here is a little bit more information for you:

I have met a lot of wonderful people trying to show the world what dyslexia actually is! The positive bits, the bits of struggles, the funny bits and the not so funny bits. We can be found all over the world on various sections of social media pushing for changes to the way dyslexia is perceived.

I thought that creating a blog where all these talents could come together and add at least one blog per month would help to show the world just how diverse a bunch of people we are! Our different talents, the different things we are trying to open people’s eyes to.

If you would like to join the team, then please head to The Communication System and fill in the form with why you would like to join in and what you are hoping to contribute. At this point I would like to add that this does NOT have to be a written format, it could be a piece of art, music, photography etc that shows your own dyslexic positive trait. I know that writing is not a strength for some dyslexic people and I want this blog to play to our strengths!

Under 18s are more than welcome to join the team too, but I would really like a parent to contact me first so we can find the best way to highlight your talents but to also keep you safe! Especially with the team profiles etc.

Poll Results: There is enough support for adults with dyslexia

The poll for April has now closed. Thank you to all of those who took part.

The statement posed was:
There is enough support for adults with dyslexia.

The results were as follows: Read the rest of this entry

Dyslexia and Me: The Dissertation Experience

My dissertation is complete! Phew!

My dissertation is complete! Phew!

Hello again! Thanks for rejoining me in my journey with dyslexia and scotopic sensitivity syndrome. I’ve finally finished my dissertation and have time once again to blog. Hoorah! But boy was it tough!   Read the rest of this entry

Loose Women Dyslexia Debate

Thirty years ago, it was estimated that one in 25 children had some form of dyslexia. Now, the diagnosis is much more common, estimated to affect as many as one in eight children. Professor of education at Durham University, Julian Elliott, says that diagnosing a child with dyslexia is no more scientific than reading a horoscope, and in fact, labelling a child dyslexic could be doing more harm than good. Is dyslexia a label too far?

Loose Women via Facebook from 23 April 2014.

My response to this follows below: Read the rest of this entry

Question of the Month

This month the poll is a statement that is very close to my own heart. So what do you think?

Dyslexia and Me: Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome/Irlen Syndrome Awareness Day?

A ribbon of my own design. The blue signifies dyslexia awareness while black and white are shades that I find especially difficult to look at. The coloured dots are my 'pixel vision'

A ribbon of my own design. The blue signifies dyslexia awareness while black and white are shades that I find especially difficult to look at. The coloured dots are my ‘pixel vision’

There are a number of events throughout the year raising awareness for dyslexia. The recent ‘guerilla’ campaign by Decoding Dyslexia to raise awareness through the tag #ShowMe1in5 through social media seems to have been pretty successful (there are still people sharing the links on Twitter a I write this blog). Also Dyslexia Advocacy Week has just passed where I shared a video per day featuring a variety of dyslexic people talking about their experiences and their progression and success. However, I want my blog to cover not only dyslexia, but also Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome aka Irlen Syndrome. Having searched on Google (as you do) I have been unable to find a specific day or week dedicated to raising awareness on this specific learning difficulty that has links to dyslexia. So for this reason, I have decided to set aside this weeks blog to discuss Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome in hope to raise awareness of what it is!

While 1 in 5 may have dyslexia, it has been suggested that 1 in 7 or as many as 1 in 6 of the population are affected by Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome. So here are some facts and issues linked to Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome to hopefully give you a better understanding of this specific learning difficulty. Read the rest of this entry

Important: Petition | Make Dyslexia diagnosis easier for children to get. |

via Petition | Make Dyslexia diagnosis easier for children to get. |

I think this is a very important petition for people concerned about dyslexia to sign. I struggled with school because my school refused to have me diagnosed with dyslexia because it was ‘too expensive’. I would hate to see this trend continuing and urge you to sign this petition to make it easier to diagnose kids with dyslexia.

Under the current system in the UK there are many families who struggle for years to get their children properly and formally diagnosed with Dyslexia. Local Authorities are reluctant to send a child to an Educational Psychologist due to funding restrictions and tightening school budgets. If a school is meeting a child’s educational needs then they have no reason to request a formal diagnosis. However if a parent goes to their GP and requests a referral to a Educational Psychologist for a formal diagnosis the GP says they cannot as it is not covered by the NHS. The GP also mistakenly thinks a parent can simple requests the school to refer the child for one. Hence parents are left going round in circles. Many parents are frustrated with the current system and are left with their child undiagnosed or facing an independant diagnosis from a Educational Psychologist costing them a few hundred pounds. Even when parents do get this ‘independant’ diagnosis some parents are told that it is still not accepted by some as “they have paid someone to say their child has Dyslexia”.

Unless the government are prepared to change the current system many individuals will be left undiagnosed and not receiving the help they need! Any other learning difficulty diagnosis is funded by the NHS not parents. Dyslexic children have to pay privately to get a diagnosis.

I only understand all these difficulties due to going through this battle with my own child and know of other families in the same situation, therefore I ask you all to sign this petition to raise awareness of this unfair system.

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