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Jacqui Perks

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

I was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child. My mum had to put up a fight to get me tested and ended up paying for it her self. So many times I heard my mum tell the teachers she is not thick.

In the days I was at school, I kept getting held back as they said that I was thick! So keeping up with my friend was hard. I also had a teacher after school that helped me with my reading.

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

I can say it had a positive impact on me; I have just tried not to let it stop me. I learnt to hide it I think, and I become a confident person with communicating with others.

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

The only support I got was at school. I got taken out of class to have help in some of my lessons and this was the only help I had.

In my working life I don't think anyone even knew I was dyslexic. One time I got pulled up on my spelling and punctuation; I walked out of the office upset. That was the only job that knew I was dyslexic at the time and I felt I had it thrown in my face.

Do you have a particular story or achievement you would like to share?

I am age 43 and doing an apprenticeship for the Home Office and the journey I am on is not an easy one; I am still on that journey. I have had to lean a lot of laws and procedures, as well as doing my apprenticeship and having to sit my maths and english, and still waiting to do them.

There are days I just want to cry as it is all to much and just give up on this job, but I have to tell myself 'I can do this, I am not thick'.

Nobody that I work with understands dyslexia; they just think it's cos you cant read or spell and it's a disability. You can be working with younger, clever people, who learn and pick things up quickly while you are hoping and trying to find a way to remember everything you are learning - you have to keep going over and over it.

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

Never stop believing in yourself, and never let anyone tell you that you are thick because you are not.

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

I would like to know why school GCSE and A Levels are not designed for dyslexia - the way they are written makes it much harder for us to understand.