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Kim To

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 in my second year of university after I badly plagiarised an easy and was sent to the dean of my course to explain myself. I hadn't meant to plagiarise the essay so I suspected there might have been other issues. I decided to go get a dyslexia test after hearing that people on campus were getting diagnosed.

I didn't expect to get diagnosed with dyslexia and at the time I didn't really fully understand what it meant to be diagnosed with dyslexia, other than that I needed more time in my exams.

My friends and school teachers up until that point had not realised I had dyslexia. This probably was because I was hard working student. I got good grades because I put in the hours. This meant my dyslexia was not picked up early on.

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

The challenges have been difficulty with processing large amounts of reading. University was the first time I read extensively. Completing my degree was therefore challenging and I had many nights where I was up very late trying to finish my readings and yet could not recall what I had just read.

Working in the corporate world has also been difficult, especially since communication through emails is common. I find it difficult to sift through mountains of research to look for important information. My weak working memory has caused me problems when I can't remember tasks or contents of meetings.

The positives have been that I am very resilient to set backs and tend to bounce back pretty quickly. I am a hard worker and would never give up on a task just because I find it difficult. I have strong communication skills - I prefer to communicate verbally rather than via emails!

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

At university, I received technology and some coaching to use the technology.

When I entered the world of work, I used Access to Work to get software installed in my laptop and also specific dyslexia coaching. However, I think this support has been inadequate and has really covered just the bare minimum.

Being diagnosed with dyslexia especially later on in life is life changing and simply getting some coaching and technology only scratches the surface of what support I needed. I needed mentorship, role models and peer support. This was not really available at the institutions that I have passed through.

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

Three months ago after underperforming at work for a period of time, I got diagnosed with ADHD.

I never suspected I might have ADHD, but since lock down, I found it incredibly difficult to focus and perform my job working from home. I couldn't really explain why my focus was terrible. I did some research and realised there is a relationship between dyslexia and ADHD.

Since my diagnosis, I have founded Genius Potential, a platform for neurodiverse individuals to connect and find career related advice and opportunities. I envision this to be the go-to place for everything career related for our community. I believe magical things can happen when our community comes together to share insights and opportunities.

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

Take time to digest the diagnosis as it would be hard to process at first. Then find your tribe. The earlier you find people who are similar and understand what it means to have dyslexia, you will realise you are not alone and that your potential is limitless.

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

For workplaces and indeed society to be competitive and diverse, we need dyslexic people!

We think differently and see the big picture. We find creative ways to solve problems. I encourage people in leadership positions to ask yourself how you can make your environment or organisations more inclusive for not just dyslexics, but neurodivergents in general.