Wednesday, 17 October 2018

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

So October is Dyslexia Awareness Month. I've had dyslexia all my life, but it took a long time for it to be picked up and diagnosed. I have a very vivid memory of being 4/5years old and struggling with my reading homework which including the word 'what' and I was insistent that the word was pronounced 'w-hat' and my Dad was desperately trying to get me to say 'what'. 

Dyslexia is a form of 'Specific Learning Difficulty' (very different to a 'Learning Disability')

Having dyslexia doesn't mean I'm not intelligent - my brain just works a bit differently and gets a bit more scattered than other people's and I think more in pictures rather than words.

Dyslexia runs in our family - both myself, my brother and my Dad have it.

I always struggled with reading and spelling. I hated being called out to read aloud in class as people would laugh at my reading aloud ability or dis-ability in my case. What I found most frustrating was I was so bright, when it came to writing our work out my head would be buzzing with ideas of what I wanted to say but putting pen to paper was slow and very difficult and I was always pulled up for not finishing my work or for my spelling errors. Despite my intelligence I was in the bottom set for work so some of the other students that where on my table preferred to pick on me rather than do their work so I didn't;t really enjoy school that much.

Finally when my dyslexia was picked up, assessed and diagnosed is was almost like a sigh of relief. I quite beating myself up and my IQ was higher than average but for things like reading and writing speak I scored so low it wasn't on the chart but other things I scored very highly on so I was able to work with my strengths. I also got introduced to assistive technology which has been a lifeline and I got a support worker in class as well as 1:1 teaching sessions to help me with the things I found difficult. I also got special arrangements for examinations.

Some of the assistive technology I use is Dragon which a voice controlled, so I can control my computer with my voice and i can talk and it will type for me. Read and Write Gold which has lots of different features like reading out text, having a more advanced spell checker, a word dictionary, screen overlay, high lighter organiser and many more. I also use Inspiration in which you can mind map out things such as essays, blog posts etc.

Looking back I think I would have done better at education if my dyslexia hod of been picked up sooner but I pleased with myself for how far I did get without the support and knowledge of my dyslexia.

So, what is Dyslexia?
  • Dyslexia is one of a family of Specific Learning Difficulties.
  • Many people who have dyslexia have strong visual, creative and problem solving skills.
  • Dyslexia is not linked to intelligence but can make learning difficult.
  • Dyslexia is a life-long condition which has a substantial effect on an individual’s day to day activities and is classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010.
  • Dyslexia varies from person to person and no two people will have the same set of strengths and weaknesses.
  • It often co-occurs with related conditions, such as dyspraxia, dyscalculia and attention deficit disorder.
  • Dyslexic individuals often have difficulty processing and remembering information.
- The Dyslexia Association
 Alongside the dyslexia I also have Scotopic Sensitivity, or Irlens. Some people have this alongside their dyslexia, other can have it without having dyslexia. This was picked up a long time before my dyslexia.

Wearing tinted lenses - originally it was green, then blue and now purple they help to 'unscramble' the words on a page and makes it easier to focus on the text. I also have a colour filer on my laptop, iPad and phone which does the same thing.

"Irlen Syndrome (also referred to at times as Meares-Irlen Syndrome, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, and Visual Stress) is a perceptual processing disorder. It is not an optical problem. It is a problem with the brain’s ability to process visual information."
- Irlen 


  1. How old were you when you got the diagnosis out of interest? Did you/your family have to fight to get the support worker? I have irlen and dyspraxia, so I have the visual aspects of dyslexia without the processing ones. I wasn't diagnosed with 'dyspraxic' tendencies until university and I only got extra time in exams with no additional support. I do wonder if I'd have achieved higher in school had I have had support. Irlen was mentioned in uni but I had to look in to and get thr glasses myself when I was about 25 as I could finally afford them with dla! They have been invaluable with my severe light sensitivity. I still get some visual distortions on the page and am adjusting to a new set I'm not 100% sure are correcf. We've had to concentrate on the light sensitivity over reading. I need to get my reading glasses to have the tint too as currently I use the distance ones for everything, so maybe that would be the final key. We added a few extra layers including yellow which I can read well with but by itself makes me feel like I'm going to vomit!!!

    Do you think there could be better support/accessibility for adults with dyslexia outside of an education setting?

    1. I was 9 when the Scotopic Sensitivity/Irlen Syndrome was picked up and I was 15 when the Dyslexia was diagnosed but I think there was more knowledge of it then plus because of my ill health I had a 1:1 learning support worker so I think that helped but I think the dyslexia should have been diagnosed when I was in Reception as I was really behind with my reading and never managed to finish my work in class, failed at every spelling test etc. Like you I think if the dyslexia had been picked up earlier I would have doe better in school and got more support. Tinted lenses also help me with my light sensitivity. And in answer to your question I do think there could be more support for adults with dyslexia outside of dyslexia, like for example help with filling out DWP forms and support in the workplace.

      I'm glad you like my post and rambling blog. Feel feel to follow and sign up for new post alerts.