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Ryan Rahim

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 a few years back when I was completing my Legal Practice Course at University. However I always knew I had trouble in reading, writing, remembering simple day-to-day things.

My family say I did not speak properly, or could not make a full sentence until I was seven. Growing up in a third world country, there wasn't a day that I did not receive punishments or was ridiculed by teachers at school. I became used to my classmates calling me names, referring to me being stupid or less intelligent.

For some reason I just loved dreaming in classes - my school teachers used to say "are you catching flies again Ryan!?"

Unfortunately, I still like catching flies, staring at things whilst day dreaming. Now I can see my three year old boy doing the same, and I am fully committed to supporting him if he struggles the way I did.

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

I struggled in school, college and university massively. I couldn't retain what teachers had to say in the classroom. My class notes or homework were always incomplete. My teachers couldn't read my handwriting - I would rather draw pictures or diagrams in my exam answers than write essays. But I was lucky to have home tutors who kindly took time and allowed me to find my ways to read and write.

That support however wasn't always there. At college and university I really struggled as I couldn't afford home tutors. I was fed up of being shamed in front of the whole class. I was determined to do well and prepared to work harder to prove others wrong. I hid my challenges, ignored others and applied my own strategies and resilience to do well in exams at school and college.

My strength is my resilience, determination and willingness to work hard. I realised that I have a gift of visualising things, with the ability to demonstrate my thoughts in many creative ways, and more importantly, showing empathy.

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

During university exams, I was given 25% extra time to answer questions. I also took the benefit of having text speech software to read questions and review my answers, which enabled me to correct typos and grammatical errors.

Instead of hand writing I was allowed to type my answers. I was also allowed to answer some questions by way of drawing diagrams instead of writing long paragraphs.

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

I never thought I would study law and chose to be a Lawyer. I am now in my final year of training, and by the end of next year I am hoping to be a fully qualified solicitor.

I was told once that my English isn't good enough to be a Lawyer. I think I am now at the final stage to prove that wrong.

So my advice to all who are struggling and feel like you are in a never ending battle:

Please don't give up; seek help and continue your hard work - you will succeed.