Over the last year I’ve been dipping into a book about dyslexia in the workplace. I expected it just to help me in a work context but I actually find it just as helpful for my personal development. (You can find details of it at the end of this blog post.)
The book is full of stories about dyslexic adults. One is about a lady called Veena who doesn’t realise she’s dyslexic. The upshot of this is she is living with unaddressed dyslexia, which is causing many problems for her. In fact, her situation has become so difficult that she has started thinking about suicide.
Then one day, a lady Veena knows very slightly talks to her. The lady has just found out she is dyslexic. She tells Veena how dyslexia affects her. And Veena thinks ‘That’s me!’. This is a turning point for Veena because she then gets help for her problems which makes things more manageable for her.
This conversation changed Veena’s life, indeed possibly saved it. But despite the momentousness of the conversation, it happened due to simple things. For example, Veena knew the woman, and they had the chance to chat.
As it happens, Veena’s conversation took place in a church hall. But based on my own experience, I think conversations like this could happen anywhere. And you don’t even need to know the other person.
For example, I was once reading a book on a bus. I was using a coloured overlay. Someone sat down next to me and noticed. She asked me about it. I actually just wanted to read my book in peace! But she was so interested and enthusiastic that I ended up telling her about visual stress and dyslexia.
Another time I bumped into an ex-colleague. At that point, I was reading an autobiography of a dyslexic writer, which I was really enjoying. I found myself telling my ex-colleague about the writer’s dyslexia journey. This let me see that you don’t need to talk about your own dyslexia: another person’s will do!
Telling someone how dyslexia affects you or another person lets them recognise themselves in the other person. And in my experience, you don’t need to give that many examples: a few is usually enough.
Where could you have this kind of conversation? Is there something you could use as an inroad e.g. a book you are reading just now, or something you’ve just discovered that helps you e.g. a video of a bus route?
If you are concerned that someone you know is thinking about suicide there’s a guide that tells you what you can do. You will find it at along with guides on 3 other situations to do with suicide here.
The book is ‘Dyslexia in the Workplace – An Introductory Guide Second Edition’, by Barlett, Moody and Kindersley, published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2010, ISBN 978-0-470-68374-3. Veena’s story is on pages 57 and 58. Dyslexia Scotland’s Resource Centre has a copy of the first edition, published in 2000.
The autobiography is ‘Pour Me – A Life’ by A A Gill. It’s available in print and audio formats.
Here’s a video of the number 91 bus route in London. Hud oan [hold on] – it goes fast!
By an anonymous member of Dyslexia Scotland