Am I dyslexic?
13th May 2016
The world generally considers dyslexia as ‘a difficulty with reading, writing and spelling’. There are numerous definitions of Dyslexia in use today but the most simplistic is that it is a difficulty with ‘language’.
In 2009, Sir Jim Rose wrote the following description in a report titled “Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties”.
“Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling.
Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.
Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities.
It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points.
Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia.
A good indication of the severity and persistence of dyslexic difficulties can be gained by examining how the individual responds or has responded to well-founded intervention.’
It’s important to note the references to elements such as memory and processing speed.
In my practice, I often meet adults who have learned the mechanics of reading without too much difficulty. Indeed some of them can read and spell very well and so they have never considered themselves as being dyslexics.
Yet they still have problems with reading which they don’t even realise are problems.
They might for example, find that the words on the page are not stable and they need to use their fingers or a ruler to help keep their place, or they claim to usually have to read a piece of text two or three times before they can remember the content, expressing surprise when they discover that this is not normal for everyone.
In many cases, people choose careers that don’t reflect their areas of weakness. They seek jobs which use their creativity and interpersonal skills; often doing so without any realisation that their choice might be a way of avoiding activities they find difficult. Yet later in life, careers change as people get promoted or seek new opportunities, suddenly dyslexics might be thrust into a new set of responsibilities that bring their difficulties to the fore.
I recently assessed an estate agent – an excellent salesman who often sold more properties than his peers. He did so well because he knew his strengths, was excellent at understanding people and knew how to find the right house for the buyer.
However, when his company was taken over, the new company felt that administrative support should no longer be provided and that each salesperson should do their own admin.
My client was now responsible for drawing up contracts and (because of his undiagnosed dyslexia) just couldn’t get them right. He worked late; spending many hours trying to write letters or draw up contracts but, despite his best efforts, his work was full of errors. His new managers criticised the poor quality of his written work and undermined his self-confidence.
His sales figures dropped as instead of showing buyers potential new homes, he was trying to write letters and contracts. He had gone from being a round peg in a round hole to a round peg in a square hole.
He hadn’t changed, but the environment around him had.
He already knew how to succeed but his success had been undermined by a new management team who lacked understanding or sympathy.
Dyslexia manifests in many different ways at different stages in a person’s life as new challenges and new ways of working expose weaknesses.
Young people transitioning from school to university are taken aback when they discover that their strategies for learning and getting good grades are no longer appropriate for the independent learning environment in which they are placed. Difficulties with organisation and planning appear not only in essay writing but also in the logistics of daily living as getting the washing done, bringing the right papers to the right lecture or even finding ones way around campus become challenging.
The fast pace of work, and the expectation that they must make their own notes in lectures rather than being given everything they need, not to mention the change to living independently can be a big shock to the system. It is in such situations that many dyslexics or dyspraxics first begin to suspect that they may not be “neuro-typical”.
So, how can you find out if you are dyslexic?
Do you find some things harder than your peers?
Do you feel that some daily activities appear harder than they should?
Do you want to find out more about your learning profile?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then consider having a full diagnostic assessment. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01992 589 159, and let’s discuss how we might help you further.