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#MyDyslexiaStory: Lisa Hodge

Tuesday 19 October 2021

Lisa and her son share a very different dyslexia story. While he received a diagnosis at a young age which gave him the opportunity of support throughout his education, it took Lisa till the age of 32 to receive her diagnosis, with the help of a supportive employer.

I was diagnosed last year at the age of 32. I have struggled all throughout my life with many aspects of reading, writing and retaining information, but no one ever picked it up. I put in place my own mechanisms to cope and was fortunate enough to have my dad review all my work for school and university before it was ever submitted.

I couldn’t read until I was around the age of 9. It was actually my son who drove me to getting a diagnosis. He has struggled in school since he was 4. School have assessed him and he was put on the SpLD spectrum, which only helped a little.

Watching him struggle and remembering my own struggles was startling. I decided last year was the time to get assessed. I’m very fortunate to work for the MOD who paid for and supported my journey to diagnosis last year. If it wasn’t for their support I would not have been diagnosed with dyslexia, so I definitely thank them for this. It’s given me a sense of empowerment I never knew I needed. I also got my disability passport in work which lists my special software to assist me in work.

Receiving a dyslexia diagnosis

Hearing the assessor say those few words ‘you have dyslexia’ was a moment of euphoria. It was like a weight had been lifted. There was a reason for all of my struggles. Getting that report was so damning. That felt like a punch to the stomach really because it does make you feel bad about yourself and abilities, but it had been a brilliant step in moving forward with proper support in place.

Getting this sorted for myself made the decision to pay to get my son diagnosed with dyslexia a very easy thing to do. This has opened so many doors in school for him. Our joint journey has been the best thing and I am so glad I took the first steps last year. It’s never too late for the diagnosis. Obviously the sooner the better, which is why I decided it was the best thing to do for my son.

I am now a big part of a dyslexia support group in work. It’s a safe space for people to come along and talk about their experiences, or find out more about dyslexia.”

Lisa Hodge

The challenges have been a lot. Every aspect of learning was like climbing huge mountains. Education is not set up for anyone who doesn’t learn in the normal way, which is such a massive shame. Education has come on though and the education my son receives is by far better. They are willing to adapt to him to help him learn.

Even when I was young you would be alienated and made to feel stupid. I think what dyslexia gives me is my creative side; my ability to make the best projects with my kids for school. Sometimes it enables me to find a solution to a problem. I’m working on the confidence to give this solution out because that ability makes me question myself, because surely it’s the easy answer. We all have our differences though and this is mine.

Education without a diagnosis

I went through school and university all without a diagnosis and I still achieved. I did not enjoy any part of this time because it was so challenging. I graduated university with a 2:2 and I’m proud of that. I struggle with note taking, so sitting in lectures and taking anything away from a lecture was almost impossible.

There’s no way I could have ever remembered most of what was said. If it wasn’t for my son struggling then I would never have embarked on my journey of diagnosis so I will always be thankful to him for that because a weight that I didn’t realise I was carrying has been lifted.

My advice for someone who has recently been diagnosed with dyslexia.

Do not take your report personally. Yes I know it’s about you, but that is only a bit of you. Because you are made up of so much more than a few lines of things you are not so good at. Use the diagnosis and turn it into a positive. These are the things you struggle with. What support can you get to help you with it? Get out there and find other people to talk to and share experiences with. This has been so helpful for me.

We are not stupid. We want to learn, but we need help with that. Small concessions can help us with that. Instead of sending an email with endless paragraphs break it down into concise bullet points. Especially if you want us to do something!