My Dyslexia and Academic Struggles

I was not identified with dyslexia until I was 18 years old and in the first year of my undergraduate degree. The reason I was assessed then is all down to the fact that two of my A-Level teachers picked up on me being different and encouraged me to take a test to be able to type my exams. The test did not tell me that I was dyslexic, but it did tell me that I needed additional support. My History teacher suggested to me on results day in August 2016, that he believed I was dyslexic, but that he was not qualified to be able to prove it. He then encouraged me to seek an assessment at university and stated that he would support me in any way I needed to gain that identification.

I found my A-level subjects very hard, due to the fact that they required me to learn information and then apply the information to my understanding of the subject. I really struggled with working out specifically what the information was meant to be applied to. I actually only achieved a U in one of my Psychology exams, due to struggling to apply the information, despite revising incredibly hard. In A-Level History when we completed past exam questions, I often struggled to manage more than an E grade, despite possessing the highest understanding of the content in the class. My teacher commented that if the exams were a question of remembering, I would come first every time, but as the exams were about applying the information I struggled.

During the first year of my degree, I found reading the large quantity of academic texts for seminars and lectures incredibly difficult as all of the small, complicated words often ended up mashed up together; and I could not see the questions on my worksheet from my answers. To solve the problem, I began colour coding my answers, so that each question’s answer would stand out. I found the reading so much easier afterwards. I also began to highlight important pieces of text using a highlighter, or a pencil if it was a borrowed copy.

During my second year of my degree, I struggled with learning about historiography, as none of it made any sense to me. When it came to writing the essay on the topic, I was completely lost. I used my extra two weeks I was entitled to, as a dyslexic, but still only managed a third as I had misunderstood the essay question.

In my third year, I became incredibly overwhelmed with my dissertation and left a lot of the writing to last minute, as I found such a mammoth task so hard to tackle. Despite finding my dissertation daunting, I managed to overcome the issue and gained a 2:1 for my piece. In an article I wrote as an assignment during my third year, I gained a 2:2 due to misrepresenting the information. My lecturer commented that my article, content-wise was possibly the best in the class, I had however misunderstood how to present the information, and as a result unfortunately had to be given a lower grade.

Despite all my difficulties and set backs, I graduated in 2019 with a 2:1 in History. Life will give you setbacks especially if you have a learning difficulty, but never let your dyslexia get in the way of your hopes and desires. Absolutely have a go at what you find incredibly hard, I did, and it paid off for me.

Charis Gambon

Dyslexia and Determination

“You need to aim lower. I really don’t think you have what it takes to go to university”. Guess who said that to me? A high school careers adviser.

I have always found words difficult. At primary school, teachers just thought I was a little bit ‘slow’ or lazy. I wouldn’t read out loud in class, trying to pronounce new words was terribly embarrassing, my reading speed was slow, and my spelling was so bad that it couldn’t even be classed as phonetic. Around 4th year at high school, an English teacher first mentioned that they thought I might have dyslexia. They referred me for a ‘test’. What actually happened was someone who worked at the school looked over some essays I had written. They let me know that they had found no stereotypical signs of dyslexia in my work… To this day I don’t have a clue what that means. So that was that, I wasn’t dyslexic, I really was just a bit ‘slow’.

The following year it was time to start thinking about what I wanted to do after school. This is when I spoke to the hugely encouraging careers adviser that basically told me not to bother looking at further education. I decided to do the opposite. I scraped into university by the absolute skin of my teeth. While there I actually started to do pretty well. Everything was now computer-based and I had found all different ways to hide and overcome my difficulties. My confidence started to grow and I really started to enjoy education. Then it came to my final year where I had to write a 7,000 word report. With increased scrutiny on my written work I couldn’t hide my issues. My supervisor said to me after I couldn’t find mistakes that he had pointed multiple times, “unless you are dyslexic or something this just isn’t good enough… no seriously you should get tested”. Two weeks later I was assessed by an educational psychologist who concluded that I was indeed quite clearly dyslexic. Today, I can proudly say that I passed that 7,000 word essay. Over the following 7 years, I went on to achieve a PhD (including a 126,000 word thesis) and publish research in world leading journals.

I don’t want this to seem negative because this is far from a sob story. Dyslexia has forced me to develop confidence in my own abilities and create my own strategies to overcome difficulties. I want this blog to be a gentle reminder to believe in yourself even when others doubt what you can do. I have come to realise that the issues we face because of our dyslexia can be overcome and we can do whatever we want. Education might not be for you, but whatever it is that you want to do, go for it. Despite almost 10 years of higher education I still can’t spell very well, I read really slowly, I avoid reading out loud like the plague, and if I need to pronounce a new word I will fail terribly and be hugely embarrassed. But you want to know what? That is perfectly okay.

Thank you for taking the time to read this short blog.

Dr. Kris McGill

Getting older…

Life is a game of snakes and ladders, and I’d been quite successful climbing up the ladders for the first two thirds of my working life and in my fifties was a suit-wearing manager.   Then, I was made redundant: down a very long snake. However, a couple of years later I picked up a job in a college and began earning again. So far so good, but something I hadn’t been required to do in my suit-wearing days was work with a PC…and this turned out to be required for the college work. It baffled me. I could do the typing and the emailing, but couldn’t deal with the templates, the forms, the charts, even some of the on-screen instructions.   The student disabilities officer spotted the problem, dyslexia she thought; and as I didn’t feel able to pay £250 for a professional assessment, urged me to consult HR – who referred me to the college medical officer.  He looked at my grey hair, and the notes, looked up and said, ‘Ah yes. The Personal Computer. Quite a new invention.  You just have to face it. You’re getting older.’   (Boy, did I need to hear that?!)  ‘Nothing to do with dyslexia. I’m going to spend time learning more about ICT when I retire.’

So, that was that.   Except that shortly after, the disabilities officer contacted me again – ‘You’re doing a new in-house qualification.  You’re registered as a student, so that means you qualify for an assessment!’  That’s how it came about. I WAS a dyslexic thinker.  Mind you, I AM retired now, and the doctor’s words come back. Does aging have any impact on dyslexic thinking?  Has there been any research on this? I’m comforted by Douglas Adams’s rules to describe our reactions to technologies, from his posthumously published book The Salmon of Doubt:

“1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”

This, of course, is why only one’s children could operate the video recorder (if you remember those days), but don’t forget that dyslexia and some other neurodivergencies are so often indicated by a working memory problem, which was the case with my difficulties with the PC.   Moving to an AppleMac helped, but I still have difficulties understanding and completing forms online. Lifetimes and the period of ‘retirement’ are getting longer. For the dyslexic, is this a boon or a burden?

Vin Arthey, Dyslexia Scotland Volunteer Speaker

My Neurodiversity Journey (Part 2)


Thank you for reading Part 1 of my journey on the 26th of Feb and your comments.

Last time I finished off by mentioning distorted belief systems and the effect that has on the mind / body connection. They are both connected. How does our own language effect our mind body connection? Language influences the mind and affects the way we live in the world. Language gives us emotional responses and impulses – our best friend, our worst enemy. Would you agree?

Language, by using labels and names, prevent you from doing what you want. We all have to be careful what we do name and label as it may become real!! In our own minds, using our own internal dialogue; it’s important to remember; “we don’t live in the real world – we live in the world of our own narrative or internal dialogue.” As the great Rudyard Kipling; journalist and writer so eloquently said “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”

So, going back to my own distorted beliefs, they started at a very young age along with my own story I was telling myself. My long-term memory is one of my super strengths; and I can vividly remember at the age of 7 at prep school; the head teacher advising my Mother that I was the last in the year, to tie my shoe laces and school tie.

This was my first real hurt in life; I felt it and it landed right on my gut. I had not met expectations. I was a failure.

Well, that’s when I started my own narrative or internal dialogue or self-talk. Did my masking start then? Probably. From that day on at school, it was a battle which continued throughout school life. I gave many clues throughout my school years that “I was not right”, not fitting in, the butt of many jokes.

At times I would be called snobby, stand offish,, zoned out and many other labels society chose to hand out free, gratis and for nothing. In reality, unknown to all back in the 60’s and 70’s, I was autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic, ADHD, dyscalculic with Meares Irlen syndrome. Although; unknown to me and others around me, I was all of the above.

Many of you may relate to the behaviours experienced, the names and labels picked up from well-intentioned parents, teachers, coaches and peer groups; and the effect it has or had on your own self-esteem, self-image and perception and how it left you feeling. I also confirmed to myself that I was thick and stupid, as I failed not once, but twice, every exam that I sat.

Society must be right then, I often said to myself. I have no passes in my O levels, never sat Highers and could not speak French. When passing my driving test first time, at the age of 17, as a family we concluded it was an error a mistake!! LOL.

I believed my own narrative that I was thick, stupid and retarded, which was the label for being Autistic or child psychosis. I had the proof, as I failed my O Levels twice. I had convinced myself, society’s labels were correct.

So, what then happens when you start off working and do alright? Well, the self-talk starts and the internal dialogue goes into overdrive. I will get found out soon. Will it be today? More masking was required at an unconscious level.

In my late teens, early twenties, I self-adopted another new distorted belief system:
Imposter Syndrome. My internal language changed further as I climbed the career ladder. If only they knew I was thick and stupid – the anxiety increased, the masking of my deficiencies increased. I was more than aware I could not pronounce certain words, and had to adapt even further, as the business language environment required.

To offer a sense of balance, I went on to co-own a multi pound business, visited 12 countries due to business travel and saw parts of the world I would not have necessarily visited. In the press, in recent year’s headlines have included: –

“Tel’s mind Guru’s on job again”.
“Top Scots Shrink” etc
“The shrinks are on me – the brains behind our revival is psychology guru David Yeoman”
.

I will finish off by quoting George Orwell, “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought”. Once you accept the deficits then you can embrace the strengths. I am not thick or stupid or a retard and I am neither a genius or a guru. I am Neuro Autistic with dyslexia and other co-occurring conditions and most thankful that I am.

Until the next article, stay safe, be kind to yourself and gentle to those around you; being careful of what you label.

David Yeoman, Consultant & Volunteer at Dyslexia Scotland.

Dyslexic Career Prospects

Parents can get anxious about what their dyslexic child might be able to do for a living when they grow up, especially if school is a struggle. So, how can you help nurture your child’s career interests without over-raising ambitions or creating self-limiting beliefs?

Adam Grant, professor of management and psychology, said in his recent essay that trying to identify the ideal job is actually counter-productive because you’re highly unlikely to ever find it, and if you do, the reality of it will be underwhelming as it’s not what you’ve built up in your mind.

As a result, Grant says the main question you should avoid asking your child is ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’

There are four main problems with this question.

  1. Their responses will be limited to the few jobs they’ve been exposed to
  2. As their parent, you might inadvertently project your own unrealistic expectations or limiting beliefs and pessimism on to their ideas
  3. We have no idea what jobs of the future are – or aren’t – anyway, so we can’t begin to imagine whether jobs of today will still be around, or what other new occupations today’s children can expect to fulfill as adults
  4. They’re not likely to have just one job, but a suite of jobs, and roles that change throughout their career

Your child’s career prospects are being shaped every day by global issues beyond anyone’s control. Think back just 15 years ago. Did you ever dream that jobs like Social Media Manager, Data Miner, 3D Print Technician or Driverless Car Engineers would exist, let alone be the norm? Fast forward 15 years from now, can you begin to imagine what industries and roles might exist that your child and their differing abilities will excel in? The good news is that the jobs of the future will need dyslexic thinking skills, and the young dyslexic people of today represent the talent solution of the future, providing their natural skills in problem solving and collaboration, and character strengths and values are well nurtured.

Farai Chideya, author of The Episodic Career, predicts that the next generation are unlikely to have the same job for life, as their parents and grandparents expected; so adaptation to change, full understanding of themselves and awareness of the changing job market are key to putting their talents to best use.

So, instead of the dreaded ‘what do you want to do when you grow up?’ question, the best way you can have the career conversation with your dyslexic child is to ask them ‘what type of person do you want to be?’, ‘what problems do you want to solve?’, ‘what difference to you want to  make?’ and ‘what talents will you use to do that?’ They might just surprise you. You’ll be helping them prepare for life, as well as work.

What responses do you get? Let us know.

Check out this John Oliver clip highlighting the downside of children deciding now what job they want to do.

Katie Carmichael, Career Coach

Setting up a Business During a Pandemic

I have been part of the Dyslexia Scotland network for 5 years. I have had a number of contracts and jobs during that time, whilst now trying to build a business with my wife.

I currently work full time, looking at Continuous Improvement for a large engineering company in Glasgow. I look to help shape the business for the future which is rewarding and helps support jobs for years to come. This business I am building, is not to replace my job but to follow another passion of mine.

On top of my job, I have always been interested in property. The idea of buying an old smelly run-down property, bringing it back to life and making it a family home for years to come excites me. In March 2020, my wife Laura and I launched our property business (BLV Properties) to do exactly that. We aim to buy unloved properties and refurbish them into a new family home to rent out. It definitely hasn’t been as simple and straight forward as we thought it would be!

When we first launched BLV Properties, within weeks we were in lockdown and the property market was closed. So, what do you do when the business is to buy properties, but the market closes?

We changed focus from doing viewings of properties and making offers, to building our team and getting educated.

A lot of people think I am crazy. Building a business in a pandemic, taking on added responsibility and the idea of working alongside your wife! For me, this is what I love about starting the property business together. We get to spend the little time we have together building a future for us and our family.

When trying to build any team, you have to understand your strengths and weaknesses and my dyslexia plays its part in this for me. My dyslexia has given me strengths in numbers and visualisation of the processes to build the business. My weakness comes down to having issues of short-term memory, not always holding information and keeping a consistent move forward. For the last 7 years, Laura has been keeping me right. Checking, reminding and continuously repeating dates and times with me and keeping me focused on things that I need to do, as well as checking my spelling and grammar in emails. In the property business this is no different.

Dyslexia for me has set me apart from others, but over the years it has now given me the confidence to start this business. There are challenges that you need to deal with every day with dyslexia but when you have the right team around you, they can help you with your weaknesses and you can bring your strengths.

If you are at school, talk with your friends or family to help with things you struggle with. If you are at work, talk with the people around you who can support your challenges. The responses may surprise you and it is best to be honest and open. I couldn’t have achieved the things I have with out these people around me. Dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of and can be seen as a strength. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. You can always bring something unique when you have dyslexia. That in itself is a strength.

Brian Valentine

My Neurodiversity Journey

I will be 63 next month, according to my date of birth. However, I really feel I am only 6 years old. Why?

What I said to the doctor was “I can no longer cope; I have run out of strategies”Some may say it was a mental breakdown in August 2013.

It was a very kind person, who suggested I may be dyslexic. No way, I replied. I have always thought I had the odd bit of word blindness. Simple examples being, writing few instead of view; how and who, as and has. There are many more examples (correctly spelt I think!) Pronunciation was also challenging with many words and still is today.

Well, the journey of self – discovery commences.

As it turned out, it was “burnout”. I could no longer cope in what is called the Neurotypical world. I belonged in another world and retrospectively a totally different schooling method. Not the linear schooling which the Western Education is based on.

 Another new word I learnt was “masking”.  I had been doing that all my life without knowing just to survive in a very confusing and at times a very hostile world. My definition of Masking is pretending to be something or someone I was not. Just to attempt to fit in.

As we all know this takes up a lot of energy. Another word from our English language I learnt early on was “shutdown”. Another way of describing Shutdown is that the Central Nervous System is overstimulated, overwhelmed, closed and needing a time out from the world, due to sensory overload.

After recharging batteries, back to full on, back into the crazy world of attempting to be normal; whatever that means?!

Let’s start with labels; we must be careful what labels we use to describe ourselves (our own internal conversations) in our language and especially mindful of the language and words others chose to give us.

Examples of words and labels given to me from teachers at a very young age (approx. 5 or 6 years old) include, lazy, thick, doesn’t get it, can’t write properly and the daddy of them all, just stupid!

Get the picture, does this resonate with you?

The effect on one’s own self-esteem, confidence, self-image has lasting affects as we all know. This also makes our sense of self very confusing with lots of frustration.

No real Purpose or Identity, with no idea for the future. Vision, Beliefs were all what my teachers told me. Values, mean what is most important to you, which drives your Capabilities or skill base; which at the end point, delivers your own unique Behaviours in any given Environment whether at school, home, playing or at work.  

Now, where were we?

Yes, language that creates realities that don’t exist.  As you sit down and place your hands on your lap; stand up now and tell me where your lap is? Ah, get it? Language is context bound and not universal.

So, back to my journey of self-discovery and my assessments.

It transpired over a 18 month period, which included hospital checks on my eyes, psychiatrist and special eyes clinics; I finally found out my true Identity and Purpose:- I am Autistic, I am dyslexic,  I am dyspraxic,  I am or have dyscalculia,  ADHD and Meares Irlen visual scotopic stress syndrome.

Note: my choice is to say I am Autistic and I am dyslexic, as this is part of my Identity, as opposed to David has dyslexia or David has a cold. If David did have a cold it would go away. Being Autistic and Dyslexic does not go away. Thankfully, as they are my strengths.

Why do I say strengths, once you accept your deficits; mine include “memory and speed of visual processing” (well below average) “Phonological skills” (Below and well below average) “Handwriting skills & Reading and Handwriting Speed” (Well below average)

However; my underlying ability is embarrassingly high; something that I am still not totally accepting yet.

I am still on my exciting journey of self-discovery and in the next blog I will discuss in depth, language and the abstract terms, such as belief systems, or in my and many others instances, distorted belief systems.

As a Neurodivergent, I like my identity to be easy on the listener as Neuro Autistic & Dyslexic with co-occurring conditions.

How do you describe yourself?

Until the next time, stay safe and be kind to yourself and gentle to those around you.

David Yeoman, Dyslexia Scotland Volunteer

Covid-19: A letter from Australia

 

Mike Gordon is a Dyslexia Scotland volunteer, currently living in Australia.

When Donald Home claimed that Australia was a “Lucky Country” he was actually issuing a back-handed insult, because continued the quote with “A lucky country, run mainly by second rate people who share in its luck”. In other words, Australia’s natural bounty had made Australians fat, lazy and happy.

Today, I’m delighted to say that the current coronavirus has shown just how far Australia, and Australians, have advanced from that gloomy description and I’m very glad of it.

As I write this article, Australia is recording very few new cases. This has not been by accident, or luck, but by swift and decisive actions by government and people alike. We understood the threat, we learned what to do and we knuckled down to do it.

Soon after we learned of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, our Chief Medical Officer began advising that this was a pandemic in the making. Our government quickly closed down the flights from China, just before the Chinese (lunar) New Year. This act alone avoided over one million transits to/from China at a critical moment in the story.

In less than a month, all international flights stopped and domestic flights were severely curtailed. Around that same time, a four-level lockdown strategy was announced, and Australians were asked to familiarize themselves with the restriction before they were ever introduced.

Inevitably, cases did emerge and Levels One and Two were introduced nationwide. These introduced the ideas of ‘social distancing’, avoiding personal contact and staying home unless we had good reason to go out. Ultimately, new cases did spread from overseas and began spreading in the community.

That’s when Level three was introduced state-by-state and we saw pubs and non-essential shops and workplaces closing down. Level four, for the worst locations were introduced where none of us could leave the house, unless for food shopping (once per week) or immediate medical attention (including testing). We were truly locked down. No shopping, no outdoor exercise, no house parties, no family visits.

It was tough for everybody, but it worked. After 11 months of persistence, lockdowns are largely a thing of the past: Shops and pubs are opening, dancing has restarted, public exercise is now allowed and, most importantly for Australians, the beaches are open for the summer.

So, what did we learn? A few simple things…

  1. Act hard and early
  2. Stick to the rules
  3. Breaking the rules puts everybody at risk
  4. Each take care of ourselves and each other
  5. This too shall pass

I know the UK is doing it tough right now but I can assure you all, if you follow the rules, this too shall pass. My thoughts are with all of you. I wish you well and urge you all to take care of yourselves and your loved ones.

MIKE GORDON is a life coach and volunteer with Dyslexia Scotland. Although dyslexic, Mike has earned 3 degrees in science and business and has had two best-selling self-help books published. Mike believes his dyslexia has been a genuine enabler in his life: Isolation opens up imagination and creativity to him; while struggles with words have driven a sense of ‘rightness’ in what he says and does. Words are a blessing.

My Dyslexia Story

I remember when I found out I had dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia; and being told I was special. A label that carried through school, constantly being told that the way my brain works was unique, however, for me, it felt like this carried negative connotations. It made me feel like the odd-one out in academia, being branded ‘the worst case of dyslexia that the school had ever seen’ in front of an entire class.

I remember being told that my exams would not be marked with my spelling and grammar, and for a long time, I let all of this massively knock my self-confidence with my school work. However, the hardest thing I found was the fact that I didn’t fit into the creative mind that many people with dyslexia do. I am not good at art, struggle with creative writing and didn’t enjoy textiles or graphic design, a list of possible areas of study suggested to me whilst I was trying to decide what to do.

I loved history, modern studies and politics, however, I believed that these courses of study could never be open to me with the huge amounts of writing and reading. However, it was one of my Support for Learning teachers who explained that dyslexia is a complicated disability and it’s why so many people with it feel isolated. I was encouraged to not try and follow the ‘typical creative route’ and go with what I am passionate about.

And so I chose history, modern studies and philosophy as my subjects at Advanced Higher and found ways to manage the large amount of reading and writing. From this, I went on to complete my undergraduate degree in criminology from The University of York in July 2020 and am waiting to begin a masters in September 2021.

The thing about dyslexia is you have to find ways to work, which work for you and there is no universally acknowledged technique which works for everyone. I knew with the amount of reading I would have to listen to a lot of books rather than read them. I found out that planning essays only made sense for me if I arranged them into a mind map. And I knew that I would never just listen to a lecture once, I would have to listen multiple times to fully understand it.

I used to be so embarrassed to have dyslexia however I now understand that I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. Dyslexia teaches you how to work hard and how to do it effectively. So much more work needs to be done within schools for students with dyslexia, to teach them that it isn’t something to be ashamed of, but something to be celebrated.

Emily Cormack

Surviving Lockdown at Home

Mike is a Dyslexia Scotland volunteer. He’s currently living in Australia.

“Mike, why are you such an optimist?”, people ask me. “That’s just the way I am.” I usually chirp back (while silently thinking “because the opposite is too hideous to contemplate!)

Nobody likes to be told what to do or where they can go. And nobody ever has begged to stay at home. It’s horrible, frustrating and even depressing and nobody would choose it unless for very good reason.

As I watch the international news, I’m hearing more and more about ‘Lockdown Fatigue”. It’s usually a combination of fear, anxiety and helplessness and it corrodes the soul. Well, it doesn’t need to be that way.

Firstly, we can put things in perspective and banish fear and anxiety. Secondly, there’s lots we can do to make our situation much better. Here are a few tips I’ve developed while working with my coaching clients and in my own lockdown.

  1. Live for today
    • Anxiety lives in the past and is usually based on what we believe we have lost. We only have today and what is gone is gone, it’s not coming back today and there’s no point dwelling upon it
    • Fear lives in the future. Again, that’s not today and it’s pretty much out of our control, for now. So, live in the now and let’s cross those future bridges when they come. We’re all amazingly resilient and we know we’ll cope with whatever tomorrow brings in due course.
    • Helplessness lives in the now, but is based on a false understanding of ourselves. It’s all too easy to forget how truly amazing and capable we really are. So, ‘gonnae no dae that’!
  2. Acceptance: ”Grant the ability to accept what we can’t change; courage to change what we can change, and the wisdom to know the difference.” We can’t control this virus right now but we can take major steps to stay safe and well.
  3. Be an island: Shut the borders and stop the virus getting into your home
  4. Protect ourselves: We know covid spreads person to person, through coughs, sneezes and hard surfaces. So take four easy precautions that are completely in our control.
    • Don’t go out if we don’t need to.
    • Stay 6ft apart from others.
    • Wear a mask. Use hand sanitizer/soap regularly.
    • Keep the house surfaces clean.
  5. Have routine and stick to it.
    • Start by getting up on time and making the bed.
    • Share meals together.
    • Timetable working/study at home,  plan exercise/hobbies, mealtimes, housework, TV/Computer times and work the plan.
    • Cook together, from scratch with fresh ingredients. We now have the time.
    • Have a sensible bedtime and get enough sleep.
    • Stick to the timetable
  6. Learn something new. There are so many online free services out there. YouTube and Google are bursting with ideas and many are completely free. Just dream of something, pick one and do it. We’ve got more time now that we’ve ever had.
  7. Be grateful: We’re alive, we have a roof over our heads and food on the table… and much more. So, let’s write a list at the end of each day and meditate on how lucky we are.

Covid19 and lockdown may not be in our direct control but they don’t need to define us or control us. There is so much we can do for ourselves. We can all survive and thrive through this period and all it takes is our determination to do it. I hope these simple ideas can find a place in your home and can be shared with your nearest and dearest. Please stay safe and we’ll come through this together.

MIKE GORDON is a life coach and volunteer with Dyslexia Scotland. Although dyslexic, Mike has earned 3 degrees in science and business and has had two best-selling self-help books published. Mike believes his dyslexia has been a genuine enabler in his life: Isolation opens up imagination and creativity to him; while struggles with words have driven a sense of ‘rightness’ in what he says and does. Words are a blessing.

Scotland’s stay at home guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/

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