My Dyslexia Story: Nysha Givans
Wednesday 13 December 2023
I always knew there was something not right, my school reports stated that I was good at the oral work but struggled with written work. I told my teachers that I struggle getting information from my brain to the paper. I can see what I want to say, but I just cannot get it out.
I was studying towards a Law degree (which I did not complete) and I reached out to Student Services who referred me to a Educational Psychologist and at the grand age of 23 I received my diagnosis of dyslexia and dyspraxia.
My mother is dyslexic however she was educated in Jamaica and at that time dyslexia was not tested for; she was told she was stupid. When in fact that couldn’t be further from the truth. She is intelligent but lacks confidence. My brother is dyslexic but he was labelled as troublemaker and was excluded from 2 secondary schools. He took an anti-education stance, and this really upsets me, because had he had the right support, his life choices may have been different. This alone was a reason why I entered education and tried where possible to support the students that I came into contact with who were on the neurodivergent spectrum.
“My dyslexia effects processing information”
I worked as a Legal Secretary, and I was constantly being picked up for common mistakes such as are and our. I felt demoralized as my colleagues would hear how I was berated by the solicitors I was assigned to.
I always felt that something was off, when studying and I could not understand why I did not understand what was being asked, and I felt as if I did not fit in. As a result, I left the course. I advised my current employer at the time that I had been diagnosed with dyslexia and my manager said "but you can read!" I thought what does that have to do with anything? My dyslexia effects processing information.
I faced a lot of questioning, and the tone was extremely condescending. I found that knowing I was dyslexic allowed me to gain confidence in myself, as I always felt as if I was an imposter and imposter syndrome crept in, which was a personal battle to overcome. Using software has also had a positive impact as I feel confident writing letters or responding to emails.
I began teacher training, and I found my stride, and when I began my degree, I initially received extra time, but that was it. It was not until I had begun studying towards my MA that I received full dyslexic support, I was 40 at the time. I was extremely sceptical in the beginning because I had adapted my learning around my dyslexia. However, I was wrong, I was given an amazing specialist in EdTech. My eyes were open to Dragon, Read & Write and Mind View. This really helped me immensely in relation to assessments and assignments. It opened my mind to what was available, and it has encouraged me to apply for a Professional Doctorate in September 2023.
During my BA degree, I received the David Wise Memorial award for overcoming adversity and this really empowered me so much!
My advice for someone who has recently been diagnosed with dyslexia:
There is no shame in being dyslexic some of the most "successful" people are dyslexic and are achieving. Try and advocate for yourself as this will empower you to move forward in your life.