Something you may or may not know about me is I am dyslexic. I was diagnosed as dyslexic in easily primary school. Over the years I have been asked many questions about being dyslexic and my experience. So today I am going to discuss it with you all.
The assessments and early schooling
I was diagnosed in primary school I think I was around 8 at the time. I grew up in the highland is a rural school. I am in my 30's now so this was a long time ago and I remember it to this day. It was a real fight for me to be diagnosed in our rural school. It was not easy especially as my headmaster was not a very nice man and after my dyslexia diagnosis, I was told I would never amount to anything. His words still echo with me to this day.
Testing for dyslexia was in its infancy in Scotland at the time and it was a very hard process. I had to sit so many different types of tests. From written tests to computer tests to even psychological testing. It was an uphill battle. I remember not really understanding why I was different and why I wasn't like the other children. I was so young too. I think I was 7 or 8. n I wondered why I took longer to read and my writing was terrible. I constantly mixed up my B and D's. I struggled badly at school in my early years. I just couldn't keep up.
After the testing confirmed I was dyslexic I was given a teaching assistant and this is when my schooling changed. It was also confirmed like most dyslexics I have a high IQ. I wish I could remember the name of the teaching assistant. This woman changed my life in the best way possible. She was kind and she thought me more about my condition and ways to work around being dyslexic and here is where I discovered my coping mechanisms. Yes, that is what dyslexics like me use to get by every day.
Don't get me wrong my life changed in so many ways. I was taken out of some classes and schooled on my own or with one other child. I was bullied really badly for being dyslexic or being special as they would tease me.
It didn't help that I loved to dance and sing and was actually quite good at it and this just added fuel to the bullied fire. I won awards for both singing and dancing. It is common for dyslexics to be creative. Whether it is thorough singing dancing or things like art. Our brains tend to lean on the creative side of life.
High school for me was different. I lived in the Highland so this consisted of moving to the big school. Which is two villages away. The main high school in my area had a massive catchment area. It covered all of Sutherland. In my high school, they had a learning support department for people like me. The amount of support depends on your own needs. I had support teachers in a lot of my classes with me. I actually loved English and I was the first person to do spoken English at a higher level in Scotland. I remember being told I was a very different dyslexic as most shy away from any kind of work that involves reading and writing and I excelled at English and history.
I was a lot more supported in high school but I was still different. I took my exams on my own I had a reader and scribe for my exams. I felt isolated and lonely. I was lucky to have a friend called Yvonne who was in my year who like me was dyslexic. This was a comfort but we are all different.
I have gone on to do many things with my life. I have not once let my dyslexia stop me. I have been an actress. I have worked in offices I have acted professionally, I have even been a police officer. I would not let my dyslexic stop me. I have never and will never be ashamed of being dyslexic.
Being dyslexic is not a defining thing for me. I had to have a reassessment for joining the police and it was actually found that I have managed to have so many new coping mechanisms the examiner put it down to my acting days. I trained myself how to learn complicated scripts and plays. The accessor said he has only seen improvement like mine in one other case and it was also in a fell actor.
When I was diagnosed with dyslexia as I said testing was all in its infancy and I have always wondered if I actually am a bit more complicated than just that one diagnosis. With my overactive brain and a thirst for knowledge, I have always wondered what else I might have.
I have always wondered if I have Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD as it is shorted to. I have a lot of the signs of ADHD and I am considering having a ADHD assessment. To find out for sure if I also have ADHD. The stats are interesting some say 3 in 10 people with dyslexia also have ADHD. But others say if you have ADHD you have a 50/50 chance you are also dyslexic.
What are the signs of ADHD
- Difficulty concentrating for extended periods
- Constantly feeling hyperactive and restless
- Feeling disorganised or struggling to plan, prioritise tasks and manage your time
- An inability to multitask and complete mundane, everyday tasks
- Poor attention to detail
- Lack of patience, leading you to be impulsive
- Finding it difficult, if not impossible, to make decisions
- Experiencing regular bouts of forgetfulness or fogginess
- Struggling to focus
I have quite a few of these traits especially when I was a child and before I have found my coping mechanism. I do wonder if I was to be assessed again like I was as a child now would this now be part of my diagnosis.
I am heavily considering ADHD testing just for my own peace of mind. I am one of those people that would rather know what I am dealing with so I can get help than live in the dark. I am happy I was diagnosed as dyslexic when I was. I am not ashamed of being dyslexic or being different.
I have carved out a career in the world of writing and creating. I have found a career I love which involves things I was told I would never be able to do. I am one of those people that if you tell me I can't do something, I will do it and probably twice. I am never going to hold my head in shame and I will not let anyone tell me who or what I am in this world. We are all different and what some people see as flaws are what makes you, you and what makes me, me. I am who I am regardless of a diagnosis or a piece of paper. Whether I have ADHD or not I am me and no one else can be me.
I hope you have found this interesting and it has given you more insight into what it was like for me growing up and helped you to realsie you are not a diagnosis you are just you and special the way you are.