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It’s not my intelligence, just my wiring

Thursday 15 October 2020

My name is Alice and I am 22 years old and diagnosed dyslexic and hyperlexic. I had a late diagnosis and was diagnosed when I was 17 years of age.

A person with hyperlexia is a competent reader in relation to reading accuracy, but usually has a significantly lower level of comprehension. This often comes apparent when people with hyperlexia are asked questions or to explain what they have just read - therefore without scanning the text or reading this may be hard for the reader to answer.

My late diagnosis was down to the fact of me coping and hiding my dyslexia, through the years I found a range of strategies which got me through school. From being super organised and on top of all my school work to working my bum off on every piece of work that I was given. I would often spend more time than anyone concentrating on homework and making sure my work was done. At primary school I always used to hate reading time after lunch, I would often volunteer to do something else such as empty the bins or even go out with a fellow classmate who had a one to one. This allowed us to read out loud and be together, which I found better than pretending to read in my head at a table.

Throughout school, I had a huge lack of educational support, from my first ever parents evening where my reception teacher told my parents that I hadn’t learnt the correct phonics and comparing me to my eldest sister said I would never achieve what she had done. Throughout my time at school, I always could rely on my parent's support and motivation to do homework and complete work the best I could. Throughout school the lack of support continued, the idea that I just needed to practice at my spelling came up every parents evening, but because I worked hard on everything else it was always glazed over as something that I just needed to work on.

But of course, dyslexia comes at a financial cost if you want to be diagnosed legally to get help and support. To get support from university once I was diagnosed at A-level my family had to pay out for various tests to give me an official diagnosis, without this I would not have any support from university. As well as this my family also supported me through my A-levels and university by funding my check-ups and overlay glasses which I could use in lessons and enabled reading to be an ease for the first time in my life.

I have always been passionate about the fact that there is no support for children in schools, the facts are clear, 80% of dyslexia children miss diagnosis. However, to gain support especially at a higher-level family are forced to pay out to get a diagnostic report, even though this is a recognised disability.

As you can tell I myself have been extremely lucky in life, through the huge support of my family succeed in life and get to where I always dreamed of, including passing my A-levels and achieving a first in my degree as well as having the job that I always dreamed of.

However even though one in ten of us have dyslexia, I know that people do not have this support and there is such a huge lack of knowledge of what dyslexia is spelling, reading, directional, understanding, coordination, emotions, time management, memory lapses which is all a part of the Autism spectrum. As well as the knowledge of what dyslexia is and what it can be linked to there is also a huge lack of knowledge of what dyslexic people can bring to society, dyslexic people have a different way of thinking, therefore, may problem solve and create things in a totally different way to others. They view the world in a different way, your wiring is different. This lack of knowledge is again shown in the education system through a lack of training within teachers to identify dyslexia and how to teach in a way to cover all needs and learning styles, as dyslexic people are very clever sometimes, we just need an alternative explanation. But also, how to portray this to society and families as this is where our education should come from to emphasise the learning styles that work for that person.

Dyslexia should never stop you achieving but we need awareness, funding, support and understanding to stop dyslexic people struggling.