Adult assessment

Unaddressed dyslexia disabled me

I was assessed for dyslexia in my early 20s but not identified. This meant my dyslexia went unaddressed.  Living with unaddressed dyslexia wasn’t easy or positive.  I felt inept and blamed myself for my difficulties.  This had a negative impact on me and the people around me.

Being assessed let me understand my dyslexia and address it

16 years later, my unaddressed dyslexia was causing me and others problems in employment. So I went to be assessed again.  This time I was identified.  Straight after my dyslexia assessment, I was given a Workplace Needs Assessment.  The dyslexia specialist who assessed me recommended a set of reasonable adjustments which I asked my employer to make.  My newly discovered self-awareness also let me start self-managing[1] my dyslexia by addressing my difficulties and maximising my strengths.

Why did I delay going for assessment?

I only sought assessment when I could see no other solution to my problems. Here’s why.

  1. I didn’t realise that I might be identified the 2nd time round.
  2. I feared the irreversible step of being identified because I didn’t know what life would be like as an identified dyslexic.
  3. I feared discrimination.
  4. I feared dyslexia, and not being able to overcome it.
  5. I didn’t know how assessment might have helped me, or where to go for assessment.

Self-acceptance

Now that I know I am dyslexic, I can accept myself. This makes me feel more positive and confident. I still find it hard to fulfil my potential. But success is achievable whereas previously, it wasn’t.

Why be assessed if you’re not experiencing problems?

If you’ve not been assessed, and wonder what you’d gain from assessment, here are 10 things I’d say to you.

  1. Dyslexia might not appear to be causing you problems just now. But if I’d been assessed before I felt I had no other option, it would have avoided many undesirable outcomes for me and others.
  2. You might not realise the negative impact your unaddressed dyslexia is having on you and others, because this is what you’re used to.
  3. If you’re dyslexic, it’s better to know, because then you can do something about it.
  4. Each person’s dyslexia is unique to them. Being assessed let me understand how dyslexia affects me. It set me off on a journey of finding out how I think and learn. Now I can make informed choices on how I approach things. For example, I use street view when using a map.
  5. Your dyslexia doesn’t just affect you: it affects the people around you too. So they need you to understand and address your dyslexia too.
  6. 1 in 10 people are dyslexic. So you won’t be alone and support is available.
  7. You might lack faith in your ability to cope with dyslexia. But you have strengths which you’ll be able to use to overcome your difficulties.
  8. It’s never too late to be identified, to understand yourself and accept yourself as you are.
  9. You deserve to understand your dyslexia and fulfil your potential.
  10. I recommend Dyslexia Scotland’s information leaflet ‘Dyslexia – assessment for adults’. It is available in audio format and pdf at http://www.dyslexiascotland.org.uk/our-leaflets

Further information

  1.  Dyslexia Scotland has a helpline for anyone in Scotland. See  http://www.dyslexiascotland.org.uk/helpline
  2. There is currently no government funding in the UK for adult dyslexia assessment.
  3. ‘The Dyslexic Adult in a Non-Dyslexic World’, reviewed at         https://alifelessordinaryds.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/book-review-the-dyslexic-adult-in-a-non-dyslexic-world/

[1] To find out about self-management, see https://alifelessordinaryds.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/hello-from-the-health-and-social-care-alliance

This blog was written by a Dyslexia Scotland member

Finding Success with Dyslexia

dragon mindmap doreen

The mindmap/picture above (please click on the link) is partly inspired by Rob Gilbert’s “It’s all right to have butterflies in your stomach. Just get them to fly in formation”. The Dyslexia Dragon in the middle is dangerous, passionate and unpredictable: but when someone with dyslexia finds success it appears they manage to make society, workplace and their self, dance in time. While using the dragon’s passionate fire to create something sensational.

This composition is proving rather difficult because I am a dyslexic individual who does not yet count herself among the high-flying successful individuals. However, self-help literature advises visualisation of success in order to plan one’s goals.

I was inspired to create the opening image by attending the adult network meeting in Stirling on Saturday 18th February 2017. The meeting was focused on individual dyslexia stories.

Super

Unique

Crazy

Creative

Energy

Sows

Success

Part of the reason I don’t yet count myself amount the ranks of successful people is that I am having real difficulty finding an employment role in which my talents can shine. I am extremely creative but my fine motor skills do not allow me to excel in fine art or music. I enjoy science and studied for and achieved a BSc Hons in Biology With Geology, but for a variety of reasons this has not led to the start of a fulfilling career.

I am trying to use my periods of non-paid employment wisely: I have discovered that the internet is full of excellent free learning resources, a lot of which I have been using to try to discover a suitable career path. I have, however, also found an excellent citizen science website, www.zooniverse.org. The website/project was initially set up to identify celestial objects but now includes many diverse research projects. The scientists had far too much data to analyse and asked for volunteers. They said they needed human eyes attached to human brains to identify patterns (too complex for computers to make sense of). I have found that it provides an excellent opportunity to use my dyslexic talents of pattern recognition to help with real science. I like learning and volunteering with Zooniverse as there are no classrooms and no face-to-face interactions (that one would need to engage in when volunteering in a charity shop and other voluntary roles).

I also use Zooniverse to keep myself job and interview ready. When I don’t need to make decisions, I tend to avoid decision-making which can be a problem when I go back into the work place. Also, I often struggle to talk about my hobbies in interviews – when I try to talk about my crafts they sound a bit homespun and not overly intellectual. However, I think my work on Zooniverse will provide an excellent non-controversial, cerebral and socially conscious activity to talk about. I could not claim to like reading, as my lie would be obvious as soon as they asked me what the last book I read was. While talking about studying various subjects would make me sound like an eternal student which is not always seen as an advantage by employers. Also, I probably wouldn’t manage to organise my thoughts enough to give a quick overview of a subject to an interviewer.

I hope this blog helps someone to see the world or their life differently. When the world often gets me so down that I can no longer see the wood for the trees; I am really grateful for the situations that remind me of things I already know (but presents the knowledge in a new way, so it really hits home).

Doreen Kelly, Dyslexia Scotland volunteer and member