Dyslexia, Irlens and Me:
This is the first time I have ever done anything like this. I am not a big fan of writing or reading but here we go. This will certainly not be written in best English and your going to be lucky if I even put punctuation in where it should be but at least I am trying to get the message out there:
What is Dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome:
I am not going to bore you with facts and stats as you can google this. A general gist is they are both learning difficulties. Our brains are wired slightly differently which causes information to not process the same way. Dyslexia is not just words wiggling or awful writing it can affect many aspects which I will explain further through this blog.
Irlen Syndrome is another disability which normally links with Dyslexia. This one never ever gets talked about. I always find this one hard to describe. For me it means anything on white can make my dyslexia worse. I can see lights behind words which affects my reading and it also can cause a sea sickness feeling and affect your moods. 8 out of 10 dyslexics will have this and not even know.
Why am I writing about this topic:
While growing up I found dyslexics don’t really like to talk about their dyslexia. We are often embarrassed or ashamed of it. I mean I’ve been wanting to do this for 5 years but I stopped myself because I am embarrassed to share some of my secrets and experiences. BUT WE SHOULDN’T BE.
I found growing up I was always unsure if what I was struggling or feeling was normal. When I joined uni I got given help and spoke to other dyslexics. When you get a group of dyslexics in a room its like therapy and you realise all your worries and struggles are the same and you can help each other out and learn how to cope in different ways.
This is something you will have forever and there is no reason for it to be like the dirty secret hanging over you. I’m a very honest person (now) and I am a pro-dyslexic I love my dyslexia it makes me who I am. I have decided to do this on a kind of diary basis and I aim to have article a week. Would do one a day if I could but just too much for this dyslexic to cope with.
A little bit about me:
My name is Kate and I am 27 years old and my favourite food is Prawns (yes I said it – not chocolate). I was diagnosed with dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome very late at the age of 17 through my A Levels. However, this has never held me back and I managed to go to uni get my degree and I now work in a full time job (not in my degree but who uses their degree anyway). I work in a claims team for a motor insurance company. This is all phone work and admin and I love it.
Why was I diagnosed so late:
When I was younger I always knew there was something wrong with me. I grew up as a very quiet and shy child. I was always able to make friends well but my academic life wasn’t always that great. I grew up in a very happy home with my big sister (7 year age gap) and my parents who have always been extremely supportive even before being diagnosed.
I first noticed I struggled when I was in primary school. I will be writing a separate piece in more detail about my school life at a later date so I wont touch too much on this. However, my strongest memory where I felt something was wrong was when I was sitting on cabinet of trays with a friend when I was 8 years old and class reports came out which I dreaded. Everyone in the class were talking about how they had level 5 and 6s and I remember having to hide my grades even from friends because I was embarrassed that I had levels 2 and 3s. I tried as hard as they did and put in the same effort which used always be reflected in my reports but just could not hit that mark.
I did raise concerns but as a Kid I don’t think we explain it too well as we don’t know what we are seeing isn’t correct. A common reaction was you could have eye strain, you need to focus more and stop being lazy. Unfortunately for me I was 3 months premature too when I was born and my parents were advised I could be ‘slow’ which I don’t think helped. Please note I do not blame ANYONE for not finding me help early. As a kid we can hide things very well – especially a shy dyslexic one.
I went through my school life struggling quite a bit and learnt my own methods of coping. During my A levels I had an assignment and I chose to do Dyslexia. While researching It I realised I had all the symptoms. I found it extremely hard to find resources on where to go to get tested and remember it taking me weeks of googling and not getting any results. I felt embarrassed to tell anyone as there is the fear of what if I am just stupid?
I eventually put my big girl pants on and took myself off to what I call the special needs department and I just poked my head round the door and said ‘sir, I think I might be dyslexic where can I be tested?’ I remember my eyes welling up and heart pounding because I was really scared to admit that. I was tested that afternoon by a teacher who was also dyslexic himself. I hadn’t told my parents I was doing the test and I hadn’t even really told my friends.
When the test ended I was told I am well and truly dyslexic and he said he could tell just by my manner. As soon as I heard this a weight was lifted from me and I remember crying not out of fear and disappointment but out of relief because I knew I wasn’t thick or lazy like I had been constantly told through my school days. We spoke for two hours about everything and I remember it being like word vomit and he smiled and said everything I was saying was totally normal and for once in my life I didn’t feel silly. However, my diagnosis gets even more complicated when I go to join university which I will explain another time.
Apologies if this is too long but I want to get the detail in there. Each article will be a separate area of my life and I will be sharing my coping methods and experiences relating to my dyslexia and Irlens. I wished when I was younger I had this. I am aware from my mums eyes she also would have found this useful to know as I have only started sharing this information over the last few years and if she knew this I properly could have got my help quicker and we probably wouldn’t of had so many awful tantrums to deal with.
I hope you come back and read my next ones and don’t get put off by my huge assed paragraphs – maybe I will make the next ones a little shorter.
Keep safe everyone 🙂