When l was at school dyslexia wasn’t heard of, so l was considered “slow.” All my reports state l was way behind in reading and writing compared to my peers and should practice more!
The part of school l really loved was my teacher reading out aloud and one of my favourite books was Stig of the Dump by Clive King.
I would really lose myself in my imagination. I was always getting “told off” for my spelling, grammar and what l call my dyslexic sentences, which of course made perfect sense to me.
Unfortunately, things got worse as we then learnt to use fountain pens, and being left-handed l would only smudge the words.
It then got to a point where you couldn’t read my writing, l guess looking back this was my coping method.(Unfortunately, it got so bad as time went by l couldn’t read it either, I now print.)
It was far more interesting looking out of the window and what was outside, there’s a vast world to go and explore!
Work was a lesser struggle, back in the day of typewriters and tippex! l remember having to type invoices and my supervisor gave me an invoice back 5 times!
I couldn’t see what was wrong…but l was told that it was the address, it looked perfectly alright to me..Mr & Mrs Smith did live at Buckingham Place, unfortunately for me and the 5 repeated invoice l had typed Buckingham Palace!
When l was in 40’s l was working at a college and was given an opportunity to do a post 16/adult training course. After handing in my coursework, my tutor asked if l may be dyslexic, l didn’t have a clue but soon found.
And of course low and behold yes l did have dyslexia, it made perfect sense why l had been having problems. But more of a relief to find out that l wasn’t “slow” or stupid for that matter.
I decided that l was going to write a book and this took a period of 5 years. I was delighted when l sent it off to a well-known publishing house, and then to receive a letter to say they were interested and could l send a few more chapters.
Happy days l thought until several weeks had passed and l received a letter to say they had taken on another author. Needless to say, l don’t begrudge Cecelia Ahern’s P.S. l Love You, for beating me to the post. Well, that’s my story and l’m sticking to it!
Several years later l decided to find the hardest course l was interested in, which was Psychology. At my interview l told the course tutor that l was dyslexic and I was offered help in the form of a laptop and an Aid Assistant.
l was too embarrassed of course, being the grand age of 49 and extremely stubborn l wanted to do this by myself! I had to pull an all-nighter on the day of the exams mainly for statistics which l really had no clue as to what l was doing, it was more luck than judgement.
But to say how the feeling was when not only did l pass but got Distinctions, and Merits too was indescribable. 44 years of being “slow” had vanished. I still struggle of course but l have my trusty “tablet ” that helps hugely with spell check and such like.
l have written and published a children’s book “The Sea Rabbits of Greystones” and the 2nd one is due out soon. That took me 3 years to write 53 pages, l always get a gasp of horror for that one!
But l think my major achievement is now touring around Primary/Junior schools to highlight awareness of dyslexia. How do l explain what its like for me, well l use a simple word for the children’s age group and tell the children that when they can spell a word, it pops into their head and they can see the letters altogether to form that word.
With me, l can see letters but they’re in a fog and l can’t put them together. I even “read” part of my book out loud, with the help of one of the teachers, of course, it’s a little embarrassing but l wouldn’t change that for the world.
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