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.








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, 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


Published by Dyslexia Scotland

We encourage and enable people with dyslexia, regardless of their age and abilities, to reach their potential.

2 thoughts on “Finding Success with Dyslexia

  1. I can recommend self-employment. Looking back over my 22 years of working life to date, I think I might have found more success by now if I’d gone straight into self-employment rather than employment. But I was only identified with dyslexia 6 years ago. So I didn’t consider self-employment as a viable option until recently. It’s more a point that I’ve arrived at as a result of employment not working for me, than something I’ve decided to aim for.
    I’ve learned a lot from employment. But it stresses me out because in my experience, it is not dyslexia-inclusive enough to let me fulfill my potential.
    I’ve been amazed to discover recently the support that is provided by the Scottish Government for self-employed people in Scotland, though a government agency called Business Gateway. They have local offices all over Scotland. They run free workshops and offer one-to-one appointments with a business advisor. I thoroughly recommend these services to anyone who is going self-employed. They will even arrange a free consultation for you with a lawyer.
    I used to think entrepreneurship wasn’t for me. But now I realise that it makes sense for me to be self-employed, because of my experience of employment. I can also see now that self-employment doesn’t necessarily involve becoming famous or rich (neither of which I wish to become)! It is simply another way of earning a living.

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