Skip to main content

Me and my Dyslexia: Jack Rolfe

Wednesday 22 January 2020

The day that changed my life:

I remember almost like yesterday walking into my BDA assessment in Bracknell, aged 12, where a dog greeted me and my parents at reception. "Why the dog?" I asked. The receptionist answered "because he doesn’t make judgements, is always inviting and will always be there for you."

I remember being challenged to put some puzzle shapes into order and quite literally sitting there baffled as to how they would become one connected image. I was absolutely baffled! The sense of relief and joy when I was told I had dyslexia was the feeling of breaking through a wall and being set free.

Different doesn’t mean wrong:

To do this day, I think people would say some of my decisions or thoughts are ‘wrong’ but ultimately I just see things differently and that is why it is important to value the individual within the team.

It would be boring if we all had the same answers right?

The challenges of studying with dyslexia:

It was a bumpy road with lots of twists and turns but I learnt two things that will stay with me forever: make the most of every opportunity, and if you don't ask you don't get. Managing various subject workloads and trying to see the benefit of completing them was particularly hard in senior school because I would be challenged to complete Spanish homework when I could just about write an English essay.

There was the natural challenge of the time it would take to complete work and the impact this had on my other commitments.

My dyslexia magic tricks:

Dyslexia makes me think differently and probably work harder than a lot of other people because I know things won't come to me straight away. I often think in pictures or scribbles, rather than words, and value the personal touches. Having dyslexia has almost certainly influenced my philosophy to both my work and personal life. In my role within sport, I see myself in a lot of young people; the challenges they are facing are the hurdles I had, and still have to get over.

Starting a business with dyslexia:

Well, I never thought it would happen and it certainly wasn't the plan! I would say I think much deeper (maybe too much sometimes!) and constantly look for ways to be better. I look at my problem-solving abilities, strong reasoning, grounded beliefs, an awareness of others, and the impact my actions and the business are having on them.

Who would I thank most for their support?

I will forever be grateful to my parents for supporting me with my dyslexic assessment and pushing me forward when I felt I was falling backwards. Jo Erasmus at Turnfurlong Junior School pretty much saved my education; her interventions and continual support with memory techniques, and the ability to break large problems down into small manageable loads which I still use to this day.

During university my personal academic tutor, Janet McBride, can only be described as a legend! Her time and belief is almost un-payable. She used to proof read my work for me and make my jumbled words make sense.

Author bio:

Jack is the founder of The Coaching Lab, a learning and development startup business and creator of MatchPlay Cards, the card game for the sports field. The Coaching Lab works with sports coaches across the globe to develop their creativity and self-awareness.