ALS manager Chris has sent this very sad story concerning the experiences of a child diagnosed with dyslexia some years ago.
“I am now 47. I was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of six. My mother was an ex headmistress so she knew the ropes. For me the problem was not so much the teachers who did not believe in dyslexia because I could cheerfully write them off as unconvertible. My problem was the ones who thought they knew what my problem was and how to fix it. It is bad enough to have to fit into the round holes of formal education and exam assessment etc as a dyslexic but when the people who are meant to help you also make you jump through hoops at the same time it can really pile on the pressure.
I was saved by a tragedy. I had managed to scrape some passes at “A” level the second time round and had barely got though the first year of Polytechnic when a student in a neighboring university very publicly committed suicide leaving a note saying that it was the stress of being dyslexic that had pushed them over the edge. This got the polytechnic to pay attention to dyslexia and allowed me to work with the polytechnic counselling service to start a peer support group for students with specific learning difficulties. This allowed us to ask for what we thought would be helpful. We didn’t always get what we needed by any means, but it was very much a step in the right direction.”
We would like to think that this was all ‘back in the day’ and reflect on how times have changed. However, the main message is that there is no need to suffer in silence – all types of advice, guidance and support are available in the ALS unit.