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“I’m proud of who I am, dyslexia and all” - Shauna Mullaney, International Karate Athlete, talks about succeeding with dyslexia

Monday 23 March 2020

I’m Shauna, I am 22 years old and an international karate athlete with the Irish Karate Team. I am now in my second year of university. I’m dyslexic.

I was eight years old when I found out and at this point it finally clicked as to the real reason why I couldn’t spell the word “roundabout” all my life!

Finding my passion

Sport is where I felt I really came into my own.

When we were younger, my parents put my sister and I into nearly every sport and activity possible, from music and drama to Gaelic Athletic Association and karate. But karate is what I was really drawn too.

I was naturally good at it and for me this was the best thing ever. I started when I was six years old and I am currently still competing and training. Karate gave me confidence that school could never give me. I was dyslexic but when I was doing karate it didn’t matter one bit – I could understand everything.

Future plans

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to coach in a local karate club in Dublin and this is something I would like to do in the future.

I never thought I would be able to do a job like teaching, because you must be able to explain things in a way people can understand and for me this is something that I struggle with. But with teaching karate, I have found my confidence and developed the skills needed to coach.

I have never hidden my dyslexia and if someone asks me, I will tell them.

It did make life difficult in school, when I was asked to read in front of the whole class I would often freeze on the spot.

As you get older, you have social media to contend with. In some of my posts people have trouble understanding what I am saying and sometimes even predictive text doesn’t understand what I am trying to spell!

Saying that, I’m proud of who I am, dyslexia and all. And yes before you ask, I am a fan of the comma and yes, there were many spelling mistakes in the makings of this post!

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed my story.