What’s in a name

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Having dyslexia can be frustrating; people don’t always understand it, they make assumptions, make jokes (ok, so most of which I actually find quite funny) and there are things that take longer or more effort to do.

Often, for many of us, it has negative connotations attached to it. This is especially true if you had to struggle for a long time before your difficulties were recognised. However, once you have been diagnosed/ identified everything falls into place, right?

Does being given the ‘label’ dyslexic help?

Often, people talk about the moment they are diagnosed as “everything falling into place” or “like a weight being lifted off their shoulders”.

But what does this really mean?

When I was diagnosed/ identified, it was just that, like everything falling into place, I could finally put a name to my frustrations and stop self diagnosing some of my symptoms/traits like poor short term memory or believing the negative things that had been said or implied over the years.

But, a diagnosis/identification wasn’t enough! I had questions and I wanted to ‘fix’ it….

There is no fix, we all know that, but there are ways of making life easier.

So, I now had to unpick my dyslexia, work out what my strengths and weaknesses were, what was actually part of my dyslexia and what was just my dizziness or clumsiness.

I had to work out what were the coping strategies that were going to work for me. This is a slow process, it takes time, effort, it’s frustrating, there is a lot of trial and error and I think, you are never fully done; every day is a school day!

I wasn’t diagnosed/ identified until I was in my mid 20s and as I was in further education, I got a lot of help to get me through my course and many of my techniques came from that, but it was only through working with Dyslexia Scotland 4 years after I was diagnosed/ identified that I really started to understand my dyslexia. I began to understand what it means and what is available, knowing other people who are dyslexic and how their traits differ from mine all really helped me.

So what’s in a name? Well nothing really, putting a name to it isn’t the end of the story, knowing you’re dyslexic is helpful and like everything falling into place, but it is only in truly understanding your dyslexia that you can start to move on from the frustration, begin to make your dyslexia work for you. Playing to your strengths and not dwelling on your weaknesses.

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