Today (1st – 5th October) is World Dyslexia Week and I hear you ask why do you need to dedicate a whole day to bad spelling? I have a confession – I am dyslexic but also proud of that fact – I know that sounds weird!
I left school aged 16 with 5 CSE’s (grades 4 and 5 the worst you could get) and was told that I was not wanted in the sixth form when I applied, so I feel I am justified to add to the discussion.
School life was challenging. The difficulty I experienced with concentration, reading from the board, writing essays – with words that the teacher could decipher – all added up to teachers believing I was not serious about my education. I was pulled out of mainstream lessons and sent to a ‘special class’ – which was threatened to every other student if they did not behave – which did nothing to foster my self-worth.
I’ve read so much about ‘Dyslexic Super Powers’ as many believe that dyslexics are due as compensation. For many years I searched in vain to uncover the super power I felt I was owed until I concluded that that my power must surely be the ability to navigate around the correct spelling and reading world enough to blag my way onwards and not get found out for my lack of educational success! A super power indeed!
However, I now understand that my dyslexia has been a deciding factor in my success. The difficulty of the everyday written word drove me to work harder to decipher it so that I could join the normal people. But it was this drive that has pushed me to learn my trade and then set up my own business. I feel I have embodied an entrepreneurial spirit which has shaped my business and the way I approach life. When I collected The Times and Sunday Times Award for Best Relocation Agent from Paula Radcliff, I wasn’t quite sure that I believed the award was for me – a dyslexic.
Luckily nowadays schools are much more aware of the difficulties and give extra time during exams. Whilst I fully applaud the fact that dyslexia is no longer something that precludes you from academic betterment, I do feel that the award of extra time is interesting as it is like giving a dog a Rubix cube and asking him to solve it but with more time!
In conclusion, I have learnt that I am no different to non-dyslexics – it is only that I look at issues and challenges a different way and find solutions and overcome hurdles by the need to approach them from a different angle. The Guardian wrote an article here about this subject featuring me a few years ago which has interesting case studies.
So if like me you are dyslexic then today is a day to celebrate your differences and the fact that your Super Power is out there – even if you haven’t discovered it yet!