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#MyDyslexiaStory: Richard Wood

Wednesday 1 December 2021

It's fair to say that I really struggled throughout my time at school. I was repeatedly told that I needed to try harder, stop making the same mistakes and was consistently below my peers when it came to grades. Looking back with the knowledge I have now, it was so obvious.

It was at university that I was first made aware that I might have dyslexia. A lecturer reviewed my first assignment and immediately pointed me in the direction of internal resources that helped organise the testing; shortly after this, I was confirmed to have dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.

My diagnosis made me feel:

Finding out that I had dyslexia was a huge relief, not because I had finally found a possible reason that I might have struggled in school but more because they provided me with the information that I needed to develop my learning style. It also gave me an appreciation of the positive things that being dyslexic can bring and the confidence to embrace them. Understanding my strengths and limitations have really helped to progress me in my career, focusing on my positive attributes and using the right aids to assist me where I know I need support.

Building confidence through the right support

At university, I had a whole range of resources available to me, from extra time in exams to physical hardware such as computers and dictaphones. All of these helped to an extent whilst in a learning environment. During my working career, I have understood my dyslexia much more, I'm a big advocate for using computer software such as Grammarly to assist with my reading, writing and sentence formation. This gives me the confidence to get things right the first time.

“I would say that my ongoing career is my personal achievement.

I am in no way a strong academic, not helped by my early school years which did not provide any support or acknowledgement of dyslexia. Understanding my dyslexia at university really helped me target what career choices to make. I looked at my strengths and decided that Human Resources was a good option as I could use my strong interpersonal skills to progress.

I'm currently an HR Manager for a large Engineering Consultancy and will continue to understand and review my skill set to continue my progression. I am also proud of the work I am doing currently to promote dyslexia within my organisation, educating others, building awareness and breaking stigmas.

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

Be open and honest with your limitations but don't be ashamed of them. Work hard to develop these using all of the tools available. Also, play to your strengths, sing about them, promote them and embrace them.

I read something recently which I really think will help change the way people perceive dyslexia. It is always termed as a 'learning difficulty'. For me, that immediately puts it into a negative mindset. I saw the term 'learning difference' which I think much better positions the reality. of what we go through.