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Lynn Matthews

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 have never been formally diagnosed as dyslexic - common traits are shared with immediate family members.

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

It was the late 70's when I left school being barely able to read and writing anything down - it was a nightmare, but I was confident. I had really strong leadership and communication skills - and a strong sense of responsibility - and a low boredom threshold.

My teachers realised these strengths and nurtured them, possibly because they realised, after I mobilised the children to go on strike, that it was probably better to have me onboard working to achieve a common goal with the teachers.

I joined the army because I really did not know what I wanted to do or how I would do it. The army really focused on developing my strengths, which enabled me to feel more confident about my weaknesses. BUT.... it was not until the mid 90's, when I left the military and worked as a Personnel & Training manager that I had even heard of dyslexia, or began to see the commonalities between how I struggled to process information and how other people did.

I mostly now see my dyslexia as a bonus. I know I can take time to write my thoughts, especially if I need to complete a form - I find the restriction challenging.

The biggest joy for me was when I left the military and travelled as I then found all these different creative outlets that I did not know existed before - it was like I needed new structures to think within and found poetry, photography and drawing - I will never forget the first of each - I remember writing a poem and drawing a picture and being literally amazed that I was creating these things.

I then brought my first PC and a whole world of amazing opened up for me. I'd been working with IT for years, but hand wrote everything - a keyboard and the capacity to write over what was written, as well as say - OK, what do I want to do and then figuring out how to do it....what a thrill!

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

People were very supportive and nurturing of my talents, and patient. I have a lot of people who helped me.

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

In 2019, I was awarded Apprenticeship Work Based Learning "Tutor of the Year".

It's hard to put into words what a massive achievement that was and how far I have come from that school leaver who had talents, but struggled to express themselves fully in formal education.

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

Think long-term, and find your own way to get to where you want to be. Your brain is wired in a way that if you learn to have confidence in what you can do, you will experience life to the full while working to achieve your goals.

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

Without a computer, this story form would never have been completed...And if it was, there would have been crossed out words, restarts and probably coffee stains. Viva technology.