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John Crawshaw

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 was undetected as a child back in the 1970s. I was marginalised and labelled as being different. That confused my brain even more as I felt I was bright and inquisitive.

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

Dyslexia destroyed me. Low self-esteem, no confidence and a fear of words and books. But it also gave me an incredible resourcefulness and determination to succeed. I know whatever I take my hand to I will make it work, because I have learned not to be beaten. I still suffer from low self-esteem though.

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

Virtually nothing. I have taught myself and overcome my fears.

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

I could never see the joy in reading and why anyone would enjoy it. My inherent fear of words, books and reading made me hide from books. After 50 years of struggle, I felt compelled to write a book and set aside my fears. Now the book is an inspiration to all and a message that not only is anything possible, we dyslexics through our own struggles have a unique gift. The gift of determination, resourcefulness and above all a compassion to help our fellow strugglers.

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

We are all different and there is no normal. Live your own life and be grateful for what I consider to be a fabulous gift. You are amazing in your own very special way. Celebrate yourself.

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

We are not stupid, we just have a different way of processing things. We might not be the first hand in the air in class or win any reading races, but dyslexics have influenced our world greatly.