My Dyslexia Story - Che Turner
Monday 3 April 2023
I was diagnosed when I was 42 because I decided to return to university and complete my Bachelor of Science Nursing.
I think when I was about 14 or 15, there was no such thing as dyslexia back then, so I was placed in the naughty kid's corner and that progressed until I was moved to a special education class to sit on a bean bag for 5 hours a day watching movies, that’s cool. Most kids' ideal situation at school.
My parents tried many different techniques and paid for many tutors all to no avail. I dropped out of high school before completing A levels.
It's quite extraordinary how your self-esteem can be affected by the way you're treated by your teachers and family and the general education departments. I will always remember; I think I was 16 when I went to the career's advisor, and he sat me down and said the best thing for you is to consider a job as a garbage man with the local council it's a good career choice (not that there's anything wrong with garbage collection I just felt I could do so much more)
Focus on the positives
Let's start off with the positive because there is so much. I think the biggest advantage is creativity and thinking outside the box. When I left school early, I started an apprenticeship as a chef, and I knew even in the first few weeks that I had a different level of understanding of ingredients and the way things work.
I was creating dishes that were way beyond my skill set. So much so that I graduated from my first job as the head chef at lovely restaurant in Windsor.
This is when I first noticed the dyslexia, when I had to do orders and take notes. I seemed to mask this for so long as no one could read my handwriting, so I could get away with it :)
My creativity and passion for the industry helped me travel the world and work in some amazing places. One of my career highlights was being the personal chef for some of the royal family and I got to meet them daily. I also spent some time at The Fat Duck with Heston. I have owned 3 restaurants now. But that is all in the past, I changed my career years ago and decided to get into nursing and aged care. It has been one of the best decisions of my life, I am now an industry leader.
Overcoming the negatives
Let's talk about the negative sides. There is a time when I remember being in London I was going for an amazing interview, and I had to write a menu by hand. Yeah of course I couldn't do anything, so I made some silly excuse to go to the toilet and I ran out of that building so fast. Thinking to myself why do I exist? I must be stupid! I think it was the lowest part of my life. At the train station, I seriously thought about jumping in front of the train. In hindsight obviously, it was a good idea not to, but it's amazing how something so insignificant to others can make you feel like suicide, just because of simple spelling. There's plenty more to talk about but I think that'll do for now.
“I didn't get diagnosed until I was in my 40 so anything before that was pretty much navigated my own way”
When I started University I got diagnosed, I was given extra time in exams and this is when the world really opened up, I was ok to let everyone know I was dyslexic for job interviews, extraordinary how confident you become when you don't put any pressure right yourself for spelling and just be yourself.
I have quite a lot of stories I can share:) I'm becoming a leader in my field in an industry that is dominated by writing and text and Latin and so much more, this is one of my highlights. My goal is to do a TED Talk on aged care and how we can improve the way we live as humans as we age.
My advice for someone who has recently been diagnosed with dyslexia:
Just own it from every aspect of your life, tell everyone you work with, tell your bosses, tell your colleagues, your friends, you spend so many years worrying about what other people think, and people don't care about your spelling. I would definitely recommend grabbing as much resources as you can such a voice-to-text Grammarly.
I would like the world to know…
I think the world knows about the famous people who have dyslexia Richard Branson Tom Cruise, but I think it's the unsung heroes that manage to get by and create great success in their lives that need to be shared. I would like to thank you for creating this opportunity for individuals like myself to share their story.