Like 1 in 10 people, I suffer from dyslexia. However, I have never let my dyslexia hold me back.
My Dyslexia Story
I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 18 and started university. I’ve always been awful at spelling and my reading age was below average, but somehow I always managed to be in the top classes for English in high school. When I was 15 and in my last year of high school doing my GCSE my Grandad told me he was dyslexic. He suggested that I should get tested. So my high school gave me a test and it came back with moderate signs of dyslexia. However they decided since the waiting list to see an educational psychologist was 6 months and I was due to do my GCSE in a couple of months they’d give me extra time. My sixth form did the same.
After my A-levels were way better than I had ever expected, when I came to university I decided actually I probably wasn’t dyslexic since it had never actually been picked up by teachers. I did my first couple of pieces of coursework and failed one and got a 48 on the other. I was gutted because I’d really tried hard. This was when I decided to contact student services. They were great and got me an appointment with an Educational Psychologist. Within a couple of weeks I was diagnosed and had been given loads of help by the university with extra time in exams and a cover sheet to go with my coursework to explain my diagnosis.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning difficultly which may affect a persons ability to spell, write and read. There are many different symptoms of dyslexia. I tend to suffer with poor spelling ( I am having to spell check dyslexia every time I type it), have a limited vocabulary and find it hard to understand long passages of instruction or text.
More Symptoms can be found here
How the university can help you
Any advice you would like about dyslexia or any learning disability is available at student services. Like they did for me, they can arrange for you to have an assessment.
If you already have a diagnosis then they can provide academic support, make arrangements for exams and provide you with a cover sheet for your coursework. If you feel you could benefit from their help, pop down to the Silberrad student centre and go to student support on the first floor for any advice.
Not letting my learning difficulty hold me back
It is great the amount of support you can be offered from university, but what happens in the real world while applying for jobs?
Firstly, I think it helped me getting a job in a shop. The type of tasks you do while working in a shop aren’t demanding, but it helped me with skills such as problem solving which is something that is affected by my dyslexia. It also helped with my confidence.
During university I have completed a frontrunner position and I am online brand ambassador. I mean I never in a million years thought my writing was good enough to write blogs! During my interview for frontrunner I had to do a timed assessment, something that really panics me. A symptom of dyslexia is that you generally work slower and need more time to understand instruction. But somehow I managed to complete the assessment and got the job!
I am now in the process of applying for graduate positions. The first one I didn’t mention I was dyslexic. I had to do a online timed assessment and panicked and didn’t finish it before the time ran out. I got an email back to say I had been rejected. Since then I have made sure I have put about my dyslexia on my applications. The latest job has arranged for me to have extra time so I have less pressure on my online assessment.
People will say “You can’t be dyslexic and do a degree” or “You won’t have dyslexia if you weren’t diagnosed in primary school”…well these just aren’t true. Morale of the blog is I don’t want people to let their learning difficulties hold them back. You can get a degree, just like I am and many other people at this university who suffer from learning difficulties!