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Bronya Meadley

Tell us about your dyslexia diagnosis - when were you diagnosed and when did you/family members / friends / teachers realise that you were having challenges?

My dyslexia wasn't picked up until I was about 25 years old.

I was attending management courses at work and coming away from those courses feeling unworthy of my rank and totally inadequate, I expressed this to a senior officer and he suggested I get tested.

The Fire Brigade paid for my assessment and I was found to have dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia. I was told that I had developed a lot of coping mechanisms over my life to help me deal with the difficulties I was experiencing.

I always knew I was a little different to most people and have always felt like I've had to work twice as hard just to keep up with everyone else.

How has dyslexia impacted you in both positive ways and challenges?

I think the biggest impact dyslexia has had on my life in a positive way is that now I know why I am the way I am. I never understood how much it actually impacts your life, it's not just spelling.

I have challenges every day with it, from my time keeping, to understanding information people are telling me, to how I explain things to other people.

I see in pictures rather than words and struggle to find the right words to explain things. To understand what people are telling me, I often find I need to relate it to something I've experienced.

It generally takes me longer to learn a new skill and am an avid keeper of lists and instructions as dyslexia also affects my memory.

What support have you received for your dyslexia throughout your life?

I haven't received a huge amount of support throughout my life as in school nothing was picked up.

When I was diagnosed at work I've had help in the way of overlays for reading and screen work and extra time during tests. It's only been recently with our neurodiversity officer that I've felt more confident to talk about it and to have the strength to wear the sunflower lanyard for hidden disabilities.

I would say this has had the biggest impact as I've had a couple of occasions when I've noticed officers look at me then almost do a double take and then I see their expression change as if the penny drops and they then understand why I am the way I am and I'm not just being awkward.

I think people who understand the difficulties have a better appreciation of how hard thing can be sometimes, that I can have good days and bad days with it.

What advice would you have for someone who has recently been diagnosed with dyslexia?

Don't be scared of it. Accept it as part of you and understand that it's ok to not be the same as most others. You might never be the brightest person in the room but you will have other qualities that others don't possess that are unique to you.

What one thing would you like the world to know about dyslexia?

Dyslexia affects different people in different ways. It's not just about spelling. You have good day and bad days with it and there's a broad spectrum of the difficulties from spelling, to memory, time keeping and understanding.