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#MyDyslexiaStory: Toyin Adjei

Wednesday 11 May 2022

I have a son who went through the school system and was seen as bright but lazy. His primary school was dyslexia-friendly, so this masked his dyslexia. His CAT scores were amongst the highest in his secondary school, so he was put in the top set. I challenged the school and was told I was limiting his ability. Within 18 months he had dropped to set 4 (one above the bottom set). When the school refused to pay for a dyslexia test, I paid for one privately. The test confirmed that my son, then 17, was dyslexic.

I was not diagnosed with Dyslexia until I was 50 years old. My Headteacher at the time had encouraged me to get tested following my son’s diagnosis. She had always made allowances for my dyslexic traits.

My dyslexia

Everyone is unique. My dyslexia relates to spelling, reading, pronunciation, maths, memory and processing. I reread written material up to ten times because I either see words that are not there or miss out words that are present. I hear things that are not said and often miss what is said if I can’t see the speaker’s lips.

Adult diagnosis

As a child I received no support. Once I was diagnosed as an adult, I received help from Access to Work and Genius Within. I received support from my Headteachers. My current Headteacher has made several workplace accommodations for me. Including coming with her Deputy Head, to observe me teaching my own class in my old school, before my interview in the new school.

Once I was finally diagnosed with Dyslexia, I felt free, but was also determined that others did not suffer in silence as I had”.

The only limits that can hold you back from your dreams and aspirations are those you allow. I retrained as a Primary School Teacher with a specialism in Primary and Early Years at the age of 36. A requirement to be a teacher was to have Maths GCSE which I failed. I attended night school whilst working full time and heavily pregnant. I passed maths on this second attempt. I have 5 degrees, two at postgraduate level. I kept going back to university because I felt stupid. Once I was finally diagnosed with Dyslexia, I felt free but was also determined that others did not suffer in silence as I had.

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

There’s assistance available, why limit yourself and suffer in silence when you can get help. Get a Disability Tutor/ Coach - as each person is unique, a disability tutor will advise and assist you with what is available to you. Access to Work will to help you achieve your potential, through assistive technology if needed. When going for a Job Interview, if you declare your disability and you meet the job specifications, you are guaranteed an interview.

Being dyslexic doesn't make you dumb or stupid. Dyslexia means you have a neuro-difference and therefore learn and process things differently.

I have the gift of Dyslexia.

• It’s easy for me to see the bigger picture
• I am passionate about helping others reach their potential
• I think in 3D; by this I mean I think in video
• I think outside the box and offer solutions to challenges
• I create shortcuts to assist myself and others to do their job
• I have empathy for those with special needs and their families
• I share my knowledge and experience with others freely
• I can intuitively identify at an early age if a child has special educational needs or a disability (SEND).