Don’t Call Me Stupid

So great to see the difficult and sensitive issue of Dyslexia given air time in the programme by Kara Tointon ‘Don’t Call Me Stupid’.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00vy8c7

Even better for her to illustrate how her dyslexia colours her whole life; affects her ability to do other things as well as to read, and how destructive it is for children to grow up thinking they’re stupid just because they have difficulty in interpreting print.

Because that’s what happens to many of them in school; they are categorised as stupid. Bright, motivated and able children are so often thrown into a ‘no-hoper’ bin by schools, particularly boys, because the whole of the learning system is based around the printed word.

In our image rich, technological age it seems almost archaic that we still do this to so many children – and it still does happen. But it doesn’t have to be like this. I have met many parents who have withdrawn their children from school to home educate because of this scenario. In school their intelligent children are neglected. They become frustrated and bored. And even their character changes as they try and cope with an approach that is totally unsuited to their needs. Yet by home educating these parents can turn their child’s education into a success story.

I’m not suggesting everyone should home educate. What I’m saying is that there are approaches that can support dyslexic children and educate them to the same standard as others. And we have a duty to find ways to support all children whether they find it easy to read or not. Kara was one of the lucky ones. There are still thousands who are written off. And I know grown ups who still find it so painful to confront their struggle to read, write and organise themselves because of the way they were treated in school. It is shockingly Dickensian that our modern society and so-called modern education system still leaves people so destroyed.

(There are now newer posts on this issue throughout my December and January 2011 blogs, with further comments, if you want to read more)

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151 thoughts on “Don’t Call Me Stupid

  1. Pingback: DP: Teacher’s Pet – Don’t Call Me Stupid « theseeker

  2. I need to explain to you our efforts so far.

    My daughter has tried:
    Catering
    Call Centres
    Receptionist work including working for a University whose Optometry Department was researching Dyslexic students, but sacked dyslexic staff.
    After many attempts of courses and unsuccessful temporary jobs she found something she was interested in Aromatherapy. She realised that this practice alone was not enough to make a living. We paid for her to attend a private beauty school at the age of 26, already ten years of anguish had passed. She was given very good help and passed well enough to be qualified.

    the first job should have been ideal, but she was nervous because she felt her skills weren’t as good as the others and left for another job closer to home, before she was sacked. We don’t know if she would have been sacked or if this was lack of self-esteem. However, the second job was a disaster. There was a lack of understanding and she was sacked.

    We then set her up in a room above a hairdressers. Business was very slow but she made more than on the dole. The hairdresser then informed her that he was going to refurbish and she would lose her room. We invested again £20,000 in a small shop. The first year was good but then over the last 7 years it has declined to the extent that a year ago we had to close it. My daughter was so stressed worrying about paying bills, etc., that I was worried for her mental health. We have spent upwards of £30,000 over the last 12 years and now we are retiring and can’t do this anymore.

    When the shop closed she went to the Disability Adviser at the job centre. She promised support. It didn’t happen. I won’t bore you with the details.

    Six months ago my daughter got herself the part-time job at the supermarket thinking she would be able to cope. For whatever reason she made too many mistakes and after practically pleading with them she was sacked.

    As you can see we have tried and tried to find her niche, including self employment.

    We have found a Davis Foundation tutor in our area and next week my daughter will contact her to see what can be done. I truly hope it works as clearly we will have to support her again financially for this tution.

    Knowing the problems my adult daughter has, I really hope that the children out there find their role in life, but believe me if they don’t it is left to family to support them because the attitude of most employers and government agencies is still that they are lazy and thick. I also think there is a perception that all dyslexics have a sixth sence and are fantastic at other things, ie Kara, Richard Branson, etc., which is not true.

    I will let you know if the Davis Foundation technique helps Caroline who is neither lazy or thick. She has had more assessments and jumped through more hoops since she was nine than I’ve had hot dinners.

    I knew there was something wrong from her being around three year old. I have been called an over anxious mother, told that I compared her with my ‘bright’ son, which I didn’t and eventually she was labelled disruptive and bad tempered. I am sorry if our story is not inspiring but it is a clear warning that if your child is dyslexic you have a fight on your hands unless they excell at something else.

  3. I have the book. I am now wondering if there is something more severe happening than dyslexia as so many people seem to overcome dyslexia and keep a job, no matter what she has tried and how honest my daughter is with employers they panic and either put pressure on her to go or sack her. the help and systems in place never seem to work. When your child is an adult who has failed for 20 years and jumped through so many hoops it is not so easy to say read this book and everything will fall into place. Her biggest problem is finding a job with a sympathetic employer who is willing to make adjustments for her shortcomings. She has worked as a volunteer in a Charity Shop for five years, when a paid position came up, she hoped she would get it after working for nothing and helping when it was inconvenient for others. She had a work placement through Remploy with Boots, Remploy checked her progress once in thre months, when a new Manager for the Store came in she was finished. She got herself the job with Booths Supermarket and they strung her along for six months, putting all sorts of pressure on her, which she now realises they was a form on constructive dismissal, when her position became too much to bear she left. The trouble is most employers are not willing to take the chance. She isn’t amazing at anything. Her best attribute was communicating but as she fails even that has gone. Thankyou for your concern and I will read the book again and try and get my daughter to accept is findings, but really it is an employer who is willing to invest and take a chance that she needs and after being sacked for not being able to stack shelves it is going to be difficult for her to pick herself up, dust herself off and start all over again. I know I sound really defeatist but after thirty years of worrying and supporting and all my greatest fears coming to fruition I really want other parents to find a way of this not happening to their child.

    • Hello again Norma, It seems to me that you need to think about finding something your daughter can do and is passionate about and then work for her self doing it. Dyslexics typically excel at art, sculpture and working with images rather than numbers and the written word. Working for an employer destroys self esteem, as your daughter has found out. There are many people who make a living at a craft, and you can easily get information about the right way to do that. As for the book, I would recommend trying the assessment exercise to make sure that your daughter is exhibiting dyslexia symptoms or not, as it may be sometnig else. As for remembering things, I found that teaching my son to make up his own three D images about a concept or idea, makes it stick permanently in his mind and gets rid of the multitude of other images his brain has stored about the concept or idea when trying to make sense of it. See the Davis Foundation website for examples of three d clay models representing things. It’s worth a look at least. After all, the gift a dyslexic has is the ability to see things in multi-dimensions and from all angles, which we mere mortals can not. Good luck. Jerry

  4. I’ve been here before.

    I don’t know the answer but I know there must be somebody out there, either a doctor, a teacher, a politician or a solicitor who has encountered somebody suffering from this mass cruelty to children and vulnerable adults.

    My daughter is 36, apparently dyslexic with Irlen’s syndrome. She has more qualitifcations than than, but has never been able to keep a job. She gets the jobs with her outgoing personality, charm and chat, but when it comes to her sequential memory failures and having to ask more than a few times how to do something, she fails. The latest was working 12 hours at a wellknown supermarket – No sod it I will name them. Booths. Ater the three month probationary period, where she thought she was doing OK. She was told that they would have to extend her probation, she was 95% of the way there but she was making mistakes. Missing sequential dates!! She had already told them of her dyslexia before she started. Instead of them bringing in Access to Work they just left her on her own presumably making the same mistakes. Again she was under stress trying to do a job, ending up not knowing if it was right or wrong. Management not having the sense or ability to deal with the problem. She was told by one member of staff that she was not dyslexic just ‘stupid’. The Management did not deal with this and other comments. My daughter feels they were putting pressure on her to leave so they didn’t have to sack her. They put her on the cashout for a time, which she enjoyed and coped with. Friends of mine who were served by her said how personable she was. Things came to a head when she was looking at the Christmas dinner menu and making her choice. A junior manager said, “Why are you looking at that you won’t be here?” She could not stand the uncertainty any longer and confronted the manager about her future. He said she was inconsistent and she would have to find another job. He said there were no other jobs for her. He was confused because she could read and right. Clearly he thought she was making mistakes and putting herself under pressure on purpose. She had even offered to go in to work for free to practice what she was doing wrong. I feel that as soon as employers think there is a problem they don’t want to support staff they just want rid of them. I feel this is discrimination but my daughter said going tocourt would jut destroy her and she has to accept this life and try and move on. At the job centre they asked what she feel she could do. She told them that as she isn’t even capable of stacking shelves in a supermarket she hasn’t a clue. This may be politically incorrect, but I feel if she had a white stick or one leg there would be more sympathy. I don’t know what to do, I am all out of ideas after thirty years of battle.

      • Hi Norma, If your daughter is dyslexic then she has a GIFT! (like my son)i.e. she thinks in pictures and not in a verbal manner as most do. Try to get hold of The Davis Foundation website (just Google it), and at least buy their book ‘The Gift of Dyslexia’. It’s the best I’ve come across at showing you what is going on, and what the gift lends itself to employment-wise, as it is a special talent (and varies from one to the next). I hope that this helps you, and anyone you then have to explain to. Most of all, I hope your daughter has her burden lifted off and begins to see a new way of life. Good luck. Jerry

      • My son has now got a statement after 4 years of battling. We are going through the system and will take it to the education minister as to many children are just forgotten. Someone has the answers to dyslexia and they need to stand up and fight for the rights of children with dyslexia. I am going to join the dyslexia society and help more people so to get these children the support they need in school. I think everybody that has a child with dyslexia need to all get together and raise the profile of this and professionals need to help as well

  5. Hi this program with Kara was a good eye opener. My son has found school very hard in year 2 of primary school he never wanted to go in someone always had to take him from me his teacher told me he would never spell. He was tested age 7 at the start of year 3 he has sever dyslexia. He was offered little help and i have tried to get help for him for 2 years with no luck. then i told the school i wanted my son statemented because my son’s had no confidence at all. It has taken from January until now to get a statement for him and we had to fight all the way. We had a meeting with the headteacher back in May of this year and at the end of the meeting my husband told her that she was failing our sons education and she turned around to us and said THIS IS A MAINSTREAM SCHOOL NOT A SPECIAL SCHOOL WE DO NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES OR THE FUNDING.

  6. Hello,
    I have dyslexia too. This program reminded me loads of memory from my childhood, especially the naughty pupils part.
    In my days (15-20 years ago) in France, Dyslexia was ignored, teachers considered pupil with dyslexia as very thick pupils… My aunt is a teacher and she was claiming I would never achieve any academic thing (imagine family meals…).

    I was 16 when it was consider I could read like a 7-8 years old kid. To get to this point, I had to have 2 extra hours of tution every other day for 8 years with private teachers. Imagine the bill; this is something which is not affordable but gouvernents nor parents.
    How does the system is going to deal with this?

    Now, I manage to get 2 masters in Engineer and am Chartered Engineer in France and in the UK (where I live). This shows that with the right custom training, people with dyslexia can do things

    One the thing I noticed is that I was not affected with dyslexia in English but after 3 years living overhere, I started to notice some signs. Today, 8years, dyslexia issues are in English the same as in French. Is it was English became casual and therefore, I don’t need to concentrate as much as I used to when I learned?

    One on the remaining worry of my dyslexia for my family is what about the next generation? My grand-father, one of my aunt, 2 cousins have dyslexia; we know it runs in the family. We are now woory that our kids will have it and we are concerned about how the education systems will deal with these matters…

    Regards
    Guillaume

    • Hi Guillaume, thanks for your comment. You outline a very real concern about how the system deals with dyslexia. Hopefully by talking about it and raising awareness, people will develop more understanding and tolerance and things will begin to change!

  7. I found this programme very insightful. I was only detected with these problems when I was in the final year of uni. I had written off my memory problems as just being ditzy and according to my tester, I had apparently gone undedected by forming coping mechanisms such as reading aloud to overcome literacy difficulties.
    Although, it was a major relief to find that I had severe short term memory issues and that is why I found it so difficult to hold on to information and process the many many papers that I was meant to read. I did get help although at this later stage it was difficult to try and impose the new techniques that I was being taught at such a late stage, but thankfully I managed and ended up getting my degree.
    Kara Tainton’s programme was brilliant, I never fully understood dysexia and it was brilliant just to see that others struggle in the exact same way. For example the impact on Kara’s normal life, organisational skills, constantly losing items and having to find them, this was highly relatable and something that I have constantly struggled with myself. I thank the BBC for making this programme.

  8. I have known i had dyslexia when i was tested at primary school, i found writing, reading and spelling to be the most difficult for me and still is in some parts of my life. I was called stupid and dumb through my school years and even my teachers said i wouldn’t do very good on my GCSE’s. but i passed all 10 of my GCSE’s went to college and got a Diploma in Art and Design and have just finished my Degree in Graphic Design. I have to use different colours over a white background to read and write and i go to my family members for help when i need it. I found the program Kara Tointon did very inspiring and it showed that dyslex poeple are not lazy as some people who don’t have it think!!!

    Maxine Langford, 22.

  9. All of my school life I was told I was lazy or stupid.
    After 3 attempts of English I managed to get a C, yet none of the teachers realised I was dyslexic.
    I found I managed my dyslexia when I started my engineering degree.
    I found that using computers really helped, I also had blue glasses.
    I now have a MSc degree and received a 1St class engineering BSc.
    I am also in management for an automotive firm in significant position.
    I am proud to be dyslexic but I am still selective in whom I inform as people still associate dyslexia with lack of intelligence and inability.
    It is nice to see that the BBC and Kara have taken the time to show that Dyslexic people aren’t stupid but unique, and to provide understanding for those that aren’t.
    Thank you.

  10. Pingback: Educating the few… « RossMountneysNotebook

  11. Thanks Norma when I was at college no I never did. Because iv never been tested so didnt think they could do anything

  12. Sarahlouise

    If you don’t have a job ask at the job centre to see the Employment Disability Adviser. They should be able to help you with training and you may be lucky if your area can get you an assessment. Since the cuts not all areas are able to do this. The Employment Disability Adviser should also be able to refer you to an agency like Remploy who may be able to help you with training and employment. I know I am saying should and may a lot but unfortunately that is how it is. Also did you contact the Disability Office at the College? Most colleges have a disability department and should take dyslexia as seriously as any other disability.

    Good luck, I know its tough, perhaps your teacher friends could be a help.

  13. Iv just watch Tara program and wow meny of the thing she talked about. I can relate to me.

    Im 20 and throughout my school life iv been in sen and trying to the max to achieve good grades and to keep up with everyone. But felt like I was getting no where. Iv not been tasted for anything but yet iv been in sen throughout my life. I can not spell and I cannot read that good. (spelling only good as spell check) and last year 2 of my friends who are teacher said they think I may have dyslexia I should get test. But I feel really stubbed and and ashamed yet I know it not my fault.

    And it yes college do take the mike as I was wonting to do photography but didn’t get the grade but nether did the lad but in a way I got higher grade then him and he only got on because he has dyslexia and they get more money. How wrong is that. They would even give me a week/ 2 week trial. I was gutted and I don’t won’t to apply again just incase I get another no.

    But from watching this program on kara there are a few thing I have in common. And I relies I should get tested, but at the same time I’m thinking no not to do it. As it will make me feel twice a think. But I need to do it don’t I.

    Is there any sort of free test I could do. As I have no job.

    Thanks
    Sarahlouise

    • Hi Sarahlouise,

      Thanks for your comment on my blog – I’m real sorry to hear the same old sad tale of you being let down. You’ll see from these stories that there are many in the same boat as you. I do empathise!
      I understand your worries about being made out to look stupid, but do try and remember that just because you are dyslexic it doesn’t mean that you are unintelligent, try and focus hard on things that you do achieve and prove your intelligence through those. I know it’s very hard to get formal help without paying for it, and I’m surprised that the college weren’t more supportive in offering you a place. Have you tried seeking help through the Connexions service? If you’re really, really keen to do a course or training they may be able to help. I know others have found them supportive. And I know other students who have managed to secure places in FE colleges without grades!
      Wishing you the very best of luck, Ross

    • Hi Sarahlouise,

      You need this! Go to http://www.dyslexia.com and look for the free test link down the right hand side. From the results of this, you will get a pretty good idea if you have the GIFT of dyslexia.

      Look at the rest of the site and see all the good stuff.

      From this foundation, I found the information that opened my eyes about my son’s dyslexia and I am achieving great results with their techniques and enough to change his life.

      Try to get their books THE GIFT OF DYSLEXIA and THE GIFT OF LEARNING and you will have your life-changing moment too. (Look on Amazon)

      By the way, I am NOT affiliated or connected in any way with this foundation’s business. I just want to help you and anyone who struggles with the negative symptoms (of the gift) for learning.

      Good luck.
      PS: Your huge creative multi-dimensional thinking powers will be fantastic for photography, once you have fixed the negative bits.

      Regards
      Jerry

  14. I have only just seen part of this programme Kara Tointon: Don’t Call Me Stupid
    for the first ime tonight. I have Dyslexia, I am a 57 year old man who was diagnosed with Dyslexia 7 years ago. This was becouse my work as a Probation service officer was being badly affected, I wish my managers could watch this programme, they may then understand more

  15. I’m 27 and I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was 17 and I put myself in for the test. My parents always thought there was something “wrong” both primary and secondary school all said I was a little delayed as I was born in august and was the youngest in the year. I had no help throughout school and only got help on my second year of college as I asked for the test.
    Everything that was mentioned on the programme was bob on for me, I think my work colleagues should watch it as I don’t think they know what dyslexia actually is.

  16. I work with children with dyslexia in a High School. We identify dyslexic pupils, rebuild battered self-esteem, teach individual multi-sensory programmes of reading, spelling and number. We provide strategies for revision and readers, writers, prompts, lap-tops and additional time for assessments and exams. Training for all adults working in school helps to create a dyslexia friendly environment.
    All of this is now in jeopardy, as a result of the latest Government funding cuts. As someone mentioned it is such false economy. Supported young people are better motivated, achieve and learn, develop positive learning confidence. Frustrated young people so often become disruptive and fail to achieve anywhere near their potential. Young lives are being wasted right under our noses. but no-one is listening. When thet eventually realise, our Education system will have failed another generation of young people with dyslexia.

    • Karen Would it help if the people on this site lobbied their MPs on this issue? Each Government we have can’ see the connection between not achieving at school and not becoming a valued member of society. I wish my daugher had had the opportunity of the environment you describe.

  17. hi i found you pogram very intresting i have dyslexia to and some things you found hard i found the same. Thank you for doing it

  18. The programe was fantastic and helped me so much but I didn’t catch the whole programe and now it has finished on iplayer. Is there any way of getting a copy of the programe or finding out when it will be on again.

  19. It amazed me watching Kara’s program that she did not get told exactly what is going on with her head; why she displays the symptoms of dyslexia; that what causes dyslexia is a GIFT; and most importantly why she was told that there is no cure! Having dealt with my son’s dyslexia and found a cure for the negative symptoms that affect his learning, he can now orientate himself whenever he needs to for study and learning, and for coordination; he has lost all his compulsive behaviours developed at school (avoiding those painful learning difficulties); and has mastered all the symbols and words that were disorientating him; but most of all, he uses his amazing creative gift seeing multi-dimesionally in so many different ways, i.e the positive aspects of dyslexia. As did Einstein, Du Vinci etc, who all had the same gift of dyslexia. Where did I get this understanding and the techniques to use? A book and a foundation created by a dyslexic who spent years working it all out, and who has now helped thousands of students/adults deal with the negative aspects and to enjoy the positive gift that they have in dyslexia. Probably can’t place the details on this blog, so would be glad to pass on by email if requested and if allowed by the BBC. PS: If all teachers and parents read at least this book and used the simple techniques therein, the world would be different for all dyslexics, and all children from day one at school. Poor Kara with her green tinted glasses was no where near being where she could be with her difficulties AND in using her amazing gift that she obviously has to its full potential.

      • Hi Paul

        The book is called the GIFT OF DYSLEXIA by Ronald D
        Davis, and can be found for purchase on amazon. Also, there is a follow up book called THE GIFT OF LEARNING which is also worth getting. You can find the Davis dyslexia foundation’s website by searching on Google, which has loads of great content and tools.

        Hope this elightens you as much as it did me.
        Good luck
        Jerry

  20. Kara’s programme was moving and brave. We have an 11 year old son who has been through a horrific time in the latter stages of Primary school. We had to withdraw him for a time of homeschooling because of bullying and a shut down in communication with staff. Teachers are not adequately prepared, and most SENCOs aren’t, either. Bright, quiet children fall through the gaps, get pushed back or put with ‘problem’ children of low ability or disruptive behaviour. Kara was right on when she appealed to the government to do something about the quiet, able children whom the system fails.
    We had a n assessment done privately, but what then? Special schools are too expensive and there is a heck of a fight to get funding. Wake up and smell the coffee… invest in these bright kids and they will achieve and contribute back into society.

  21. yo yo

    1st of let me say sorry for the spelling 😦 will try my best

    as a 28year old man i have found gruing up with dyslexia very hard to the pont i now don’t really like going out side. i have found a lot of help online and in compuer hardwere. it was very intrsting to watch this program and to see what people are saying. it is nice to see that there is help out there for kid of to day like a dyslexia school it is sad that not everyone can have this help,

    well thats all i can really get out of my head so i will leve it there

  22. My son just happened to watch Tara’s program and told me about it. He couldn’t stop talking about it because it has helped him understand why he had so much trouble at school and since in many of the ways that Kara described. He is now 40 and when he was at school dyslexia was not recognized and we were not able to get him the right sort of help that he so desperately needed even though we tried. He passed practical things but never written exams. I have just listened to your broadcast on the computer and found it extremely helpful too. Thank you so very very much for high lighting this condition in such a sensitive way.

  23. Hi

    i have dyslexia and did not find this out untill my early 20s. At school in the 70s it was not recognised i was a nice girl just a little slow,i learnt to deal with it, at secondery school again i was a slow learner maybe not so bright (far from the truth) i was put in the remedial class for english, so started “the being different” from main stream i worked hard and in the end through shear determination did quite well in my O leveles. I became a mum at 21 and was determind if my son had the same problems i would do all i could to help him through. he started school and all was well but with time i noticed traits of myself in him so went to see his teacher nothing was done a little time past and again i went and said im sure he is dyslexic i see so many things i do in him i asked for im to be assesed but was told it was no use. if he was dyslexic it was mild and “every one will show a little of it” and if i wanted to have him tested i would have to pay myself.I was a single mum and just didnt have the money time passed i did what i could then by year 6 his last year at primary school they relised i had been right and started him on a book call i think foot steps it helped but was too little too late. He went into secondery school being able to read at the age of a 7 year old and his spelling even worse, but thanks to the teachers there he was put on the lss register within 3 months and from then on he has never looked back he worked well with the support of school and me at home im so proud of the things he has accomlised he is now 21 and has a great job and is still furthering his education through his job. I also have a daughter who again has dyslexia but this was noticed and action taken by year 1 of primary school they have been great such a big differance, she still has a long way to go as she has ADHD too which was also spotted at school, they have worked hard with her and continue to do so. so there are schools out there who are on the ball its just finding them. so dont give up hope just push cause there is help out there.

  24. Tara’s story is a very happy and inspirational one. Dyslexia is a serious difficulty. Thankfully nowadays the problem is not to be somebody with dyslexia but not to know about it.

    During the programme I felt very upset when heared false claims such as: ‘The dyslexic brain when reading functions in similar ways to the brain of a French speaker when reading in English’ (!).

    I would love to hear of a single piece of research that would support this claim. Gosh! How appaling!

    When an individual speaks more than one language the brain activates many areas of the brain. Reading in French, Spanish , German, English, Bengali or anyother as a second language has nothing to do with the difficulty of dyslexia.

    Second language reading feels similar to the way the brain of a musician works when performing Music. Obviously, nothing to do with dyslexia.

    • I think they were using this as an illustration of how much harder a dyslexic brain has to work to extract the same information, rather than literally meaning the actual brain function is the same. I think it was an atempt to describe the problems of dyslexia in terms of reference that would be meaningful to the audience- many people struggle with foreign languages so they can appreciate how hard it must be for a dyslexic

  25. I cried when I watched this programme. My son who is now 31 struggled through school. I kept saying there was something wrong but no one would listen. He was diagnosed a year ago. He is now struggling to find a job as he is out of work.

    I feel as I have let him down. I knew about dsylexia and reading but I did not know about the organisational problems, it all falls into place now.

    My ex husband was continously on my son’s back for being untidy and lazy.

    I wish I had learned all this 25 years ago and may be I could have helped my son. He has a lovely personality like Kara but how he struggled through school and is still struggling.

    When he went to the Job Centre, I said to him let the Job Centre know you are dyslexic. His reply was would they want to know. I still think he hasnt informed them because I think he is ashamed of it. How I wish I could turn time back.

    • Jean, your son should tell the Job Centre and ask to see the Disability Employment Adviser. If he has an assessment he can be referred to an agency who deal with placing Diasabled people, not quick and not that successful, but at least his problems will be recognised. If he hasn’t been assessed he should try and get the Job centre to do this. This is also difficult. There is an Employment Psychological Services which should do this but our experience is that my daughter’s appointment was cancelled the day before she should have gone because of ‘cuts’. If he gets a job and finds aspects difficult he can contact Access to Work and they should send somebody to assess him at work and make recommendations re reasonable adjustments. I understand Access to Work will only help if you are in employment, so that’s a problem. I may have this a bit wrong but I understand that recently new laws have come in to place which means employers are not allowed to ask about any disability and the candidate is not obliged to tell a prospective employer. I am willing to be corrected on this. I feel this is a bit of a backward step as my daughter has tried telling and not telling and the not telling method results in employers and work colleagues resenting the fact that they didn’t know there was a problem. We have been told by Dyslexia Action that if the dyslexic person is referrerd through Access to Work they will sometimes fund an assessment and 20 hours tuition, but of course the rub is that the person has to have a job in order to get the tuition. Being referred to a Disability Employment Agency by the job centre may upset your son because of course these agencies deal with people who have some very severe disabilities, but there is no other way if he wants help from the job centre. As I say I am willing to be corrected on anything I have written but it is based on my daughter’s experience so far. I hope this helps I do know how you feel.

  26. If you would like to help your 35 year old daughter with her dyslexia and not pay the prices, there is a book call hickey multisensory language course and you can order it from waterstones and it uses different techneques to overcome the problem and the other is the alpha to omega. The are simple as it is best to start with. Also bbc skill wise is brilliant for grammer information, writing reports and spelling techneque

    • Thank you, it is not that I don’t want to pay but that my daughter thinks she should be independent at her age and no sponge off me. I will certainly take your advice and try this.

    • I have just looked at comments about Hickey Multisensory Language Course suggested by Nicola Smith. I have to say that this is a problem I struggle to get to grips with. As has already been said on this forum, many people with dyslexia are not just troubled with reading and writing, in fact my daughter’s main problems are not reading and writing they are short term memory, organisational skills and retaining instructions, left and right orientation and other similar things. That is why she needs to be assessed now to see where her problems impact on her working/daily life, especially as she now has Irlen’s Syndrome a condition she didn’t know about when she was assessed as dyslexic when she was 21, and incidentally just left with the diagnosis and sacked by her employer. Therefore I think it would be very dangerous to go running round like headless chickens trying to encompass every idea there is about help for dyslexia. As has been repeated many times the condition affects all sufferers in different ways. What people need to know is how to access the system, which should exist for helping those with dyslexia just the same as if they were partially sighted. I hope you understand Nicola that my comments are not to do with my reluctance to pay only my confusion as to who to pay and for what.

  27. My ‘child’ is 35 and believe me we I have tried to support and we have tried to get support without success. My daughter has tried harder than anyone I know to succeed in somthing and has been battered more than anyone I know and without her determination she would now be in a very poor mental state. Will someone out there tell us what to do because we are obviously failing.

    • Hello Norma, I know exactly how you feel. My son is 31 and like you I tried everything when he was at school but no one would recognise there was a problem. My son also had my ex-husband telling him he was lazy and untidy.

  28. My daughter has glasses, she was tested for Irlen’s syndrome, try this web site http://www.irlenuk.com/centres.htm but like everything else it doesn’t come cheap.

    The people who have managed to get qualifications and university/college educations are I am sure very hard working or intelligent as well as being very lucky. I am sure there are many people like my daughter who have tried and tried to find their niche. Even with the right qualifications we have found that this is sometimes not enough and support is needed to gain employment and to keep it and we are still struggling in this area after many years.

    Comments here appear to say that it is not dyslexia which is causing the problems but outside influences and past experience. The problem with this theory is that if the dyslexic person cannot understand her problems enough to convey these to the outside world, in particular the experts who are supposed to help, how is the dyslexic person able to overcome the damage of the past years?

    • dyslexia is a problem which begins at the point of foetal development. it is not a fault of the parents or the child and it is not the intelligent people who goes to university. i have been dyslexic all my life which stem from both genetics and what happen at birth. i know what those people who are dyslexic feel as i am severly dyslexic my self and i am on my way to completing my first masters. if the child wants a career she can get it with determination and that you the parent and child ensure that you get the support they need. people do know what you are going through. my IQ is below the population average so i am not intelligent

  29. Im fifty three and found out I was dislexic in my mid forties.I changed my life and went off to acting colledge at central..I told them I was dislesic and it was the worst decision I ever made,I asked for extra help and the staff never turned up for our sessions..there was no practical help although dislexia is rife in the school!my self esteem took a battering and I became terrified to perform in musical theater.Im pleased I did this to find out I simply was not cut out for acting…a director took my completed cv and showed it to the class and laughed just like school days,very cruel.
    please do not see a label as an answer it just is not..as people judge the label as they do the condition.
    I was told I would never go to university because I had no memory,not by my school but on interview by a very nice university principal who thought it was correct I knew what the school were saying about me!
    I started to learn after finishing school with no qualifications..I became a chartered accountant and went into business but always however succesful never believed in my ability.
    I hate being judged today and would never open myself to that type of abuse again….I got a diploma in guitar at the institute more recently but find it so hard to earn the notes tunes etc etc but they were much kinder.
    Ive written a song about my experiences called” my hands don,t write the same as yours”if youd like it ill send it to you just ask me on my email r[Personal details removed by Moderator]as it sums up my feelings and I hope others growing up through dislexia.
    I am so moved by kara going public about this…thank you so much…living with dislexia is very tiring on many levels ..but funny and unique as well…sometimes I just know the answer but no idea how to explain it! Im very lucky to be dislexic but lonely as well at times….

    • On reading your comments I remembered something my son said to me recently, he is 31 and has only just told me a few months ago. He said ‘Mum, when people tell me how to do things it doesnt stay in my head’. He couldn’t understand why he could not understand why he could not remember.

  30. Wow that program was stunning…How can we get a message to Tara?

    I am 55 and was diagno””ed at the abe of 8. Then started to learn to cope!

    Not helped really. THis program has filled a 46 year gap,,,and now starting to understand what it is REALLY about,,,,THANK YOU TARA!!!!

    So now off to a Center to learn the real way to solve my problems!!!!

    (I cried too! )

  31. Hi im 18 and ive been suffering from similiar problems as Kara. I saw the programme and immediatly cried! Its like someone just said all these things ive suspected my whole life! I have no trouble reading seemingly because ive known this issue sinse I can remember and built my world around it- its only as I came to college people noticed and told me ‘this isnt right’.
    What im intreaged about is the glasses, does anyone know how youd get them or where? Ive heard of them before but now seeing them for real I really want to push this forward and get some answers- esspecially as ill be doing a course at Uni soon and need all the help I can get!

    Please please- if anyone knows please reply x

  32. Please does anyone know the colours that help with reading? Green, I know from the documentary, are there others I could try? It’s for myself. I am 55, dyslexic and a slow reader.

    • the colours tend to differ from person to person. for instance i find that grey helps a lot, but others may prefer a brighter colour. its all a process of alimination. its frustrating when youre trying to find your colour and then the shade, but its so rewarding when you do, becuase it makes everything so much more relaxed.

    • it may not be the colours that help, it maybe your focus. with some people none of the colours work.

      if you want to know you are best off seeking an optometrist

    • Dyslexia can involve complex problems with eye coordination and colour filters can help some dyslexics though the colour varies between people.
      There are specialist optometrists who can help with colour acetate sheet and/or tinted spectacles but you may have to search to find one. We searched out Professor Bruce Evans from City University London and director of research at the Institute of Optometry, London who has written a book ‘Dyslexia and Vision’ Whurr Publishers London ISBN 978-1-86156-242-5 which has loads of information, if a bit technical.

      We also found on Amazon.co.uk a ’10 pack of coloured overlays’ – these are 10 different coloured acetate sheets sold by Dyslexia Consultants. You place each colour in turn over the page and see if any particular colour helps. We found pink helped my son 2 years ago but may get this pack so he can try alternatives as hes not so sure pink still helps. Checking further on amazon it seems there is also a more expensive version and test kit also available

  33. Fascinating programme. I am 57 and have masked dyslexia all my life with tricks I invent on a daily basis. I has a bad time at school as do so many, and I was told at the age of ten that my goal in life was to ‘Strive to acheive the status of Village Idiot’. Like many I made myself the subject of jokes and turned to comfort eating for refuge. Well I made it so far, and from behind my many masks I write and deliver a Pub Quiz every week. Thank you for the reassurance yet again that I am normal not Stupid.

  34. Part of the Born Survivors Season on BBC Three. Kara Tointon: Don’t Call Me Stupid.

    Hi, difficult to watch some of this programme. but very good. I went through a lot of the same issues.

    I am 56 and was often called stupid while going through school or lazy, I drove lorries for 28 years as there was not too much paperwork or writing associated with this career.

    Many years on I am now employed as a Civil Engineer building roads, and at the age of 50 has my first Dyslexia assessment.

    No stopping me now.

  35. I can understand what your going through, I’m 31 now but went through similar.

    Got an IQ of 186 but been called thick and stupid a lot growing up. Allways had trouble spelling and writing, essay work would take me a lot longer than people around me. At school all I got was that I was a capable student but needed a bomb under me or that I needed more homework as I was lazy. Even got a weeks detentions as even though I’d finished the entire years maths workbooks in 4 months I couldn’t do a 1 page essay in a night. Allways seemed to be on the defensive, the teachers would send notes to my mom, I’d be trying my hardest and still be punished at home and at school even though I was ahead of the rest of the group.

    Got tested at uni but the results were inconclusive and so didn’t get to use a computer or the extra time the dyslexics had. Still didn’t get any support and almost failed university as the structure is based on essays and remembering facts, rather than understanding the info (understandings more important in the real world). Failed one module as the examiner couln’t read the essay and missread another question.

    Know you’ll do well at the GCSE’s, course work plays a good part now. I found that the best way to revise is to start 4-5 weeks before the exam and that things stick better in my head and have a day before the exam relaxing and doing light reading.

    There is hope though, things do get better outside school/ uni. Managed to get a lab job and worked my way up to a research scientist. I’ts the same as most dyslexics I’ve met non were stupid, and a number ended up as very sucessfull scientists and or engineers.

  36. I would like to thank Kara and the BBC for such an indepth, considerate documentary. I am a dyslexic and have watched this doc a number of time and can totally identify with Kara. Since forst viewing this back in November my confidence has been boosted knowing i am not the only one to have to cope with the confusion caused by dyslexia on a daily basis. Until seeing this doc I didnt realise how much it was effecting my life and organisation. Thank you BBC and Kara i can not put into words how helpful i have found this documentary. I too am an actor and have always used Kara’s technique to learn my lines but have put other management techniques into practice. I would realy like to see more on the BBC about dyslexia and as i am only 19 would like to try and help other dyslexics cope by talking about our simularities and ways of coping.

  37. Hi I’ve just watched Kara’s programme. What an inspiration. My family is just starting on this journey as we are waiting for my nearly 7 year old daughter’s assessment date to come through.

    At school she has a teacher who’s own child is Dyslexic and thanks to her, she noticed that my daughter was struggling and had some potential traits the may indicate the condition.

    I would like to say well done to the BBC for showing this and to Kara for sharing this insight into her own personal life. It has made things seem a little less daunting and proves that Dyslexia doesn’t have to rule your life.

  38. This is such a familiar story, Ellen, thank you for sharing it. It is such a difficult issue as I know many schools are ill equiped with time or resources to be of help. Some are just not interested if they think the student is clever! Which is frustrating as you deserve as much support as anyone! I know other families where the parents have got involved, helped with breaking down revision and made sure you have the right text books at home so you don’t have to rely on often illegible notes, barraged the school and demanded support and actually gained their children more time in exams. The frustrating things is once past the school stage there seems generally to be a lot more support! Did you see the tutor who commented here who was involved with the programme? Perhaps she might be able to come up with a few tips if you emailed her. Meanwhile, best of luck to you. Keep going!

    • I understand where you’re coming from!!
      If you have an ed psych report, you should be able t aoppeal for extra time. I recieved 25% extra in my exams for A’levels which allowed me to slow down, plan plan plan and then be able to relax into the exam as I does take us longer to initialy read, interpret and think about the response to each question.

      Just go threw the syllbus, past paper questions- you should do in class.
      Mind-mapping worked wonders for me, and the card’s you can get to write on – I know i’m a visual learner.

  39. I am 39yrs old, i wathched don’t call me stupid only 2 weeks ago online on BBC iplayer. I found it very moving and cried nearly the entire programme. I was diagnosed with dyslexia approx 12weeks ago. I got tested because I decided to go to university after being fed up of getting overlooked for promotion. whilst doing my A level final year exams in June 2010, I noticed that found it very difficult to revise, and reading and understanding the question papers in the exam setting was very difficult (my vision was terrible) i could not make out if my glasses or my eyes were the problem. Anyway I passed all five exams, and I am now enrolled on an Open University course. I am finding it difficult at the moment but I have no intensions to give up. All my life i have, felt like i’m stupid, my working memory is very poor but in the las few yrs I began to make up techniques which help with this, but unfortunately my way does not help with everything, it is normal for me to put an item down and not remeber where i have placed it. I have been told by my children that I have no clue of time, because I will refer to an event like it happend days ago when it may have been months ago, or visa versa and i miss appointments or show up on the wrong day. Making telephone calls can be a challenge and frustrating due to mixing numbers or leaving them out all together so my last resort was to get someone else to make the call for me. It also affects my audio processing as on many occaiasions when I am at home on a telephone call, i would have to place the call on loudspeaker so that my husband can explain things to me. I am relieved to know I have dyslexia and since my diognosis i realise my mother has it severly. However, I get very emotional. I was very pleased to see Kara being very open with her experience with dyslexia and would like to see the BBC do follow ups of normal dyslexics who may not have the funding for help, i for one would be more than willing to show how this has affected my life. It would be nice to have a place were people with dyslexia can meet an discuss how to overcome everyday situations.

    • A very moving story Dee, thank you for contributing! And don’t give up – you are not the only one for whom their dyslexia is an extremely emotive issue. As you say there needs to be so much more coverage so that people no longer feel that they are ‘stupid’. There’s also a site here that may be of interest to yourself and others who’ve commented. http://www.beingdyslexic.co.uk/

    • Hi Dee,

      I sympathise! Exams are the worse thing. I find it so hard to get out what I have inside and then there is always the stupid commnet from the teacher/lecturer ” If you have revised properly, you wont fail” It makes me wanna scream!!!
      I mix numbers up to, go to appointments on the wrong day, get lost whilst driving etc, this year I booked my flight home from Ibiza a week later than everyone else and it cost me dearly to get an earlier flight despite having it written down in front of me!
      I also have a bad sense of time and quite casually walk in late and people glare! I would be glad to hear of your strategies for coping and your idea of a meeting place to swap ideas would be great!

      Best wishes with your studies

      Darlaine

      • I think all of us Dyslexics have similar stories; my older boy phoned from London (we lived in Wales) to say he would be late home, he had got on the wrong train! My younger boy just lost his job because he got his days muddled. Me, I can never find the car when I go shopping and twice in my life I have gone to sign something and forgotten what my name is! (I have my MA and I’m really not that dumb). Heaven knows what I will be like when I’m really old!
        Things that help me, write everything down, expect things to go wrong and allow ‘extra’ time so you will not be late, get loved ones to check everything (lists you make, letters you write, arrangements you make, where you parked the car). They wont mind.
        And when everything goes wrong LAUGH, you did your best, people love you just as you are and you can’t be good at everything 🙂
        As for exams, I have some strategies, but they are quite common ones I think. You might want your teacher/lecturer to contact me and I would be happy to share (as a teacher myself, with an MA in teaching Dyslexics) what it is really like!

      • Thanks for this comment – very helpful – do you want to put it today’s blog so visitors don’t miss it? I looked at your blog but not sure what it’s all about yet 🙂

  40. Hi
    I’d like to know the name of the technique and where I can get help for the process of learning lines that Kara Tointon went through as I have the same short term memory problem as herself and spend hours learning lines which others can take half an hour to do so.
    Thanks
    Jason

  41. I am so impressed by the high achieving dyslexic people on this site. My experience is dyslexia does hold you back in conventional qualifications, especially if you went to school when teachers were arguing as to whether dyslexia actually existed. When a student fails at 16 it is likely that they will continue to fail unless given strong support and guidance, which is not always welcome after a lifetime of being treated like a second class pupil. My daughter has been trying to get an assessment and tuition through the Disability Employment Services since September. Everyone passes the book and she has literally gone round in a circle after being bombarded with jargon she really doesn’t understand. The latest is that a case is being put forward for tuition but not an assessment. How can tuition be given without ascertaining the needs of a person and how can the needs of a person be ascertained without an assessment. Also an assessment is of little use without further support and it is almost impossible for adults to find out what they are entitled to and how they can access their entitlement. It appears to me that the Government bodies are themselves in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act when they send people round in circles and make them jump through hoops. My daughter knows that she is not getting the help she needs or indeed deserves but is too afraid of being assertive in case she gets on the wrong side of these beauraucrats. It is clear to me from the cries for help on this site that somebody who knows should write a clear and concise document which gives dyslexic adults instructions on who is responsible for their support and how to get it. We went to Dyslexia Action but because the DEA had sent my daughter to another agency they were unable to give help until she was referred by Access to Work. Access to Work have said they cannot give help until she has a job because the help is tailored to the specific needs of the job. She has had interviews with two national companies, told them of her dyslexia and the support she could get from the support agency should she get a job, no adjustments were made in the interview process and she was unsuccessful. If I ever find out the route through this maize I will let everyone know. We have been given so much conflicting advice in the last six months that there isn’t room to detail it. Also is there somebody who is computer literate enough to set up an online support group or are we using this site now?

  42. hey,
    my name is Alice I’m 16 and about to do my GCSE’s.
    I didn’t no much about dyslexia, which I have been diagnosed with, until watching the bbc program (Kara Tointon: Don’t Call Me Stupid) has raised one really big question how is my dislexia letting me read? this may sound like a strange question but I love reading, I find it very hard and reading things that i have been told to read is difficult yet i still love reading, up untill i was 11 words moved on the page and i wouldnt read at all, I didnt tell anyone that the words moved as I thought everyone would have this problem and not just me. So am I a different case (loving to read) or is that normal? I cant spell for my life and my teacher can be very serportive but I feel though they still just think I’m thick does everyone else have this problem?

  43. [Kara Tointon: Don’t Call Me Stupid] Although I am one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to live life with the condition, I watched the programme with a great deal of interest as I personally didn’t know a lot about dyslexia. It certainly opened my eyes and Kara was very brave to face it head on and do something about it. Even the other people featured in the programme were an inspiration. The different teaching methods and ideas were brilliant, and wow what a difference those coloured glasses made.

  44. I would just like to thank the BBC and those in that appeared in the show for the time and effort they placed into the program about Dyslexia. As a dyslexic person I have often found it hard to underdstand why I have always struggled with taking in and retaining the knowledge and understanding required within certain subjects.
    My dyslexia was not discovered until I was about 14, by that stage I felt I was so far behind others students that I never felt that i would catch up. Another factor that made things hard was that my older brother was an ‘A’ grade student and that I was always compared to him. After years of doubting myself because of the way teachers placed me in the ‘too hard basket’ or said I simple didnt want to learn, moreover, feeling frustrated as this was not the case at all.
    As a mother of a dyslexic child also, and watching the process that he has been through after getting him diagnosed at a very early age. I am proud to say that his experienced has been a much happier one than my own. However, on realising there is help out there moved me to further my own education and not allow my experience to hold me back any longer.
    Currently I am doing a teacher training degree and hope to specailise in speech and language and helping other students like myself in the future.The one area that I am very interested in is learning strategies in ways to retain information for exam purposes. I already use multisensory strategies but have never been taught how to apply them in ways to help with exams. I would be very interested in finding out more strategies that would help in this area as part of my teacher training is that I need to pass the QTS exams in order to qualify as a teacher.
    Well done though again BBC for bringthis topic to light and showing others what a stuggle is it for many of us to go through on a daily basis. Thank you

  45. Also just seen the programme on BBC3 – very touching and poignant (especially after Kara has just won Strictly last night with superb dancing all series!) As a mum of a daughter with dyslexia (Emily above) I wish that we had both had much more support in dealing with dyslexia. So true that it’s NOT just about spelling but pervades every aspect of life! (You should see my daughter’s bedroom!) I hope that all teachers make use of this programme in raising their awareness of how to teach and understand children and young people who have dyslexia. Also wondered why all those diagnosed with it are not automatically entitled and directed to the tests and expertise shown in the programme – I will make it my priority to pursue this.

  46. I have just watched ‘Don’t call me stupid’ with my 12 year old daughter who through a troubled Junior School was diagnoised with Dyslexia and working memory difficulties in her Secondary school, what an inspiration for us both. Kirsty is an organised girl but struggles in other areas of her life and watching this programme has given her and myself some different stratergies that we can work on together. Out of interest I took a dyslexic test myself and it shows a positive indication that I have dyslexia (that can start to answer some of my problems) out of interest is Dyslexia heriditory? What is apparent to me is that when Kirsty says she has Dyslexia she is greeted with a ‘ohh’ look and then when she explians about her Working memory they look at her in complete disbelief as if she is lying to them or trying to find an easy option out does anyone else feel/think this? I would like to end this by saying thank you.

  47. I am currently doing a PGCE teacher training for primary school, and to be fair, the course has given us a lot of information on how to teach in a way that is appropriate for dyslexic children. We have been taught about using visual, auditory and kinaesthetic ways to teach, and multi sensory approaches to reading.
    However, I am currently concerned about the lack of awareness that teachers have about the differences left handed children have in learning.
    They show very similar symptoms to dyslexia and by supplying individual whiteboards for children to use in class, left handers are further alienated within their learning environment- is it a good resource if your hand rubs off your writing as you write!!??
    Dyslexics and left handed children should not be separated as special needs, but the teaching style should be altered altogether to enable ALL children to learn!!
    What do you think?
    Catherine

  48. hi i just wached your tv show and i have deslexier and lots of things you said that your found hard i find hard. Me and my mum found the show very intresting.

  49. i am a dyslexic person as well and have tackled with problems with my english and mathamatics and can relate to this programme. all the way through my life i was bullied not just by children but also by teachers stating that i was thick. now i can say look at me now. i was diagnosed at 21 and strived to acheive my PHD. i am recently at university to study to become a dyslexic tutor and assessor. i want to do this to help people with dyslexic and say that you do not need to work in a basic job you can do anything you want. you need commitment and enthusiasm to do the career you want. i have 2 Bsc (hons) and my PGCE in enducation and now on my second PG cert in specific learning difficulties and leading up to my masters and then PHD. keep going guys you can do it.

  50. I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was 21 (when I was in the last year of my English Literature degree. It explained a lot of my troubles- losing things, my terrible time management, and the reason I took twice as long to read a book than my classmates. I have read a lot of research on dyslexia and I was very interested with the link between left handedness and dyslexia. Kara Tointon is left handed also (I watched the documentary very closely!!) and often the traits of being left handed mirror those of dyslexia. I found it much better for me personally to blame much of my traits on the left handedness rather than the dyslexia for people seem to think I am stupid when I tell them it is my dyslexia!
    Left handed people also take longer to process info because we store our communication on BOTH sides of our brain rather than just the left side (as right handers do).
    This is why long term memory is usually much better also.
    Very interested to hear of any other dyslexics out there!!
    Are you left handed also?
    Catherine 🙂

    • Hello Catherine,

      Just read your letter, there is so much to say in this subject, but can’t get it out all at once would just like to say I am dyslexic and left handed I always joke about thing saying it’s because I am left handed so I get confused it was until I did a degree in my thirtys and found out in my second year I am dyslexic and all my life I just acted the fool ?! It took me nearly five years in the end to do my degree as I was working as well and started of part time then full time then really struggled went part time drove the professor mad who was over seeing my dissertation but got there in the end with a 2.2 with alot of help ?! But I did it, then came the interview or exams for jobs that’s were it all went wrong so I am still a stupid hair dresser, this is were the low self esteem comes in anyway would love to know more and even teach in thus area would be great.

  51. Hey
    My Name is katie, i’m 21 and currently studying advertising in university, i was diagnosed when i was 17.
    I have never passed an exam in my life, basically my school thought i didn’t listen or try, hence why i failed. I had to go back to college re-do my GCSE’s and ALevels, this was where they noticed.

    while I was in college i met a few teachers who, believed dyslexia was only an excuse, i wasn’t encouraged by some to apply to the university course advertising, as they said it wouldn’t be possible for me to be accepted!
    This didn’t put me off so I applied anyway, and got accepted, I loved the feeling of HA! I did it.

    Today university is still a struggle, I’ve been given 2 exams and failed both, (which I need to re-do) although I’m getting the highest marks in my class.
    I’m still facing people who are not supportive, one lecture told me she didn’t think I was making progress and didn’t seen to wanted to be here, followed by, “they don’t make a special degree for people like you” this made me extremely upset, as I’ve worked harder than everyone in this course. All the negative people have made me scared to have a voice, when I get put into group work I don’t speak, in fear of people thinking I’m stupid.

    I’m in my second year of university and finally realised that no matter where I am, I’m always going to find people like that (small minded).
    Dyslexia has made me very depressed, feeling everyday how thick I am, I’ve wanted to give up so many times, but I’m getting stronger, I’m realising I can do what everyone else can do, it just takes time.

    Hopefully I can succeed in uni, achieving a masters, if (when) that day comes I’ll realise im not stupid!!

  52. I am now revising for exams. If they follow their usual pattern, i will be given a substandard room (people can be heard outside in the corridor talking, shouting as their will be little signage to say there is an exam in progress) I am expected to remember (with my short term memory) nearly all that I have learned this semester over 4 areas and write a time pressured in depth essay x 2 each time x 3 which will look like vomit as it all gets stuck in the bottleneck because i cannot get out of my head what is in there. It is soooo frustrating!!!! Worse still, my year results are favoured on a 40/60 favour of the exam. It sometimes feels like one is constantly dragging a boulder up hill……… but the buggers are NOT gonna beat me now!

  53. At first, let me introduce myself. My name’s Ivan and I am a Russian guy of 19.
    at school I had a lot of problems. I always dragged behind, I felt really dumb. After the 9th grade I decided to make a focus on something to be good at and it turned out to be the English language. I did my best, went to additional English courses, always tried to listen or read in English on my own, though I had to spend hours on what others could spend minutes. And after passing my final exams I did good English which allowed me to enter teachers’ training university to become a teacher of English and French. It was funny that I didn’t like Russian because I’ve always misspelt words but in English I could use a dictionary so it wasn’t a problem. However when I started my classes at the uni I realised that there was something wrong with me. At our English phonetics classes, I felt like thickest as it gets.I had a really hard time reading texts out load, having read a phrase more than 10 times I still could stumble over it, and my speech was(is) curt and jerky because I can’t keep in my mind the whole sentence. Besides it takes forever to learn the texts by heart. They say I have a huge vocabulary in English but when it comes to using it I feel totally lost it could be hard to pull the thing out. The worst thing that I really envy people who can read easily and fast. I wish I could do that as well. It looks unfair that it takes me at least 40 hours to read a Harry Porter book whereas someone reads it for , let’s say, 6 hours.
    When I read it seems like my eyes see the text but my brain doesn’t get a sensible picture. it’s just silhouettes. And it seems that the brain is really slow.
    And in addition to that, I am totally disorganized. My room is a complete mess and I am always late. The funny thing is no one told me a have dyslexia, I found it out on my own. And I must say it was a relief . It proved I am not dumb and it accounts for many things. The only question is still to be answered is Where do I go from here. I hardly can imagine my future. It still feels sometimes I am good for nothing.

    P.S. what’s the use of a good long-term memory if you had a very bad short termed one and struggle to retrieve the right words ?

    • Ivan there are many many things which could help with the difficulties you face, especially using your good long term memory as much as possible. Good retrieval depends on good storage and there are ways to ensure that. Also the language needs to be kept active, joined to other words and used and reviewed as much as possible.

      Things can get better with tailored techniques.

      I wish you luck with your studies

    • your long term memory is useful. the way to use your short term memory is to do the reading in small chunks of 20 min and repeat every hour and then 2 days, then 5 days later, than 1 week later and so on. this will put the information in to your long term memory

  54. I found this fascinating, not just because I am dyslexic and can relate to the difficulties that she has but, as a Dyslexia Specialist, I see these difficulties every day. This was an excellent programme of such a high standard.

    It makes me very wary of the increasing cuts in education. In FE, funding cuts are getting ever closer to reducing specialised support to help dyslexic adults to read and write. There is very little funding available to help people to read better, but even less funding available to help train teachers/ tutors how to TEACH reading and spelling skills (phonics without schwa).

    There are no statistics stating how many people in this country have difficulty reading because of poor teaching or Dyslexia: it would be difficult to obtain such results. However, the amount of students that I support in FE and HE every year, with poor reading skills, is shocking. Something needs to be done about this problem. It can’t be ignored. Thank heavens for the BBC and for fabulous people like Kara and Michael, from Nottingham, who can stand up and say that they have these problems. They are an inspiration.

    • Thanks for your comment Julia. Fascinating to hear from your side of the story. The cuts are worrying indeed. If teachers don’t know how to teach reading and there’s no help for children who struggle to read, things will only get worse! A sad and shocking scenario!

  55. hi i am 16 i have just found out that i have Dyslexia a mounth a go and all the time at school i was bulled called names and the teachers said i was not paying atanchen in class most of the time i would have spent my play time writing lines and i just now want to find out more about it

  56. I am 17 years old and an A level student. I am finding A levels more challenging than most pupils. My organization is appalling, which dose not help course work deadlines. I can not read out loud which is embarrassing in my theater studies lessons when other pupils correct me. Making conversation is hard when I can’t find the word I would like to say, this makes me feel stupid. Extra time helps in exams but I don’t feel like i have the time to plan my answer, which then leads to me forgetting what i would have written. But preparation for exams doesn’t help with short term memory, which is my biggest concern. I would love to have help with different strategies of how i can remember things, I don’t have to remember lines like Kara but I need to remember information. I have recently visited the lady who deals with the dyslexic pupils in my school but i don’t think she would be able to supply me with the right methods as she only gives the dyslexic tests. I would like to find the right methods for me, just like Kara has, but i want to know who can help me?

    • Hi Sophie, thanks for posting this. I do feel for you – it is very difficult to get help and it might be a case of researching yourself until you find what works for you. Schools are often useless at support because everything they do is based around funding! They’ll be testing you because if you tested severely dyslexic they would get extra funding – whether this would be of direct help is another matter! Very best of luck, and keep believing in yourself, Ross

    • Hi Sophie. I am the tutor working with kara on the show. I run dyslexia-unlocked providing support and training. My sessions are nothing like as costly as those mentioned above. Tutors like me can be found online and will design an individual programme for you.

  57. hi again,
    I just wanted to comment. I had my daughter tested on Wednesday. We are awaiting a written report. The bare bones of it is though, is she has moderate or slightly worse dyslexia. She has a terrible short term memory, excellent long term memory, and very poor working memory. She also has an IQ which is very high. Does anyone know if the education authority/local government have to give multi sensory help to dyslexic five year olds? She is now classed as ‘gifted’, which may help? I have phoned the county council a few times but they are not returning my calls. I am very fearful the school when we have a meeting are going to say that they don’t do much multi sensory teaching as children are not diagnosed until they are at least 7. Therefore they have no dyslexic children, (how silly is that!).
    I am considering trying to change schools, and do the best for her but I can find no help anywhere, if anyone has been through this or could advise us I would really really appreciate it. The lady who tested my daughter made more sense to me in a 20 minute conversation that anyone else I have spoken to. She did say however that she will learn very little without multi sensory teaching, and the reason she is distractable is because she is very bright (apparently dyslexics are generally far brighter than the rest of us!)
    It is so helpful to us reading other peoples experiences on here, this programme has obviously helped a lot of people,
    regards
    Sharon

    • Hi Sharon, thanks for this. It seems to be that most schools are far too pushed to pay attention to the learning needs of dyslexic children, especially the very young ones and those who are not severly affected, which is criminal I know. The stupid thing is in higher education they get much more support – which is of course far too late! Do hope you get some progress. You might find it worth ringing the helpline on here
      http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/about-dyslexia.html or posting on the forums on Parentline here http://www.parentlineplus.org.uk/ where you’d get more response. Best wishes.

    • Hi Sharon,

      My own experience of this (my son was featured in the programme) is that you have to really fight and persist with the LEA to find the appropriate education for your child. Mainstream schools are not geared up to give specialist help and without a statement, children that need help can have their needs overlooked, and often, compounded by teachers inexperienced in handling the emotional needs of the child. My own son experienced, ridicule, bulling, abuse, neglect and trauma at the hands of teachers who could not handle his task avoidance techniques – further damaging his self-esteem. Even after researching and finding schools locally that we thought would help our son, one of which was a ‘special school for dyslexics,’ our son suffered as they were not experienced in handling the all important emotional needs of our son. We evntually found Shapwick (400 miles from where we live) and had to fight to get the LEA to send him there. We paid for reports and invited specialists to the meeting that supported our case. We wrote to our local MP and he supported our views. The one thing we found crazy and frustrating was that the LEA said they were not allowed to recommend schools to parents (or give opinions on ‘bad’ schools) as this could be interpreted as favouritism and set precedents!

      Your daughter sounds like a lovely, bright child. You must try to find a school experienced in helping children like her and then put your case forward to the LEA and keep fighting. Every child is different and has different needs, experiences and support systems and mainstream schools are the wrong environments for children who require different teaching and learning methods and, more importantly, emotional support. My son was told at the age of 12 that he was ‘university standard’ in subjects such as History and Geography because of his excellent long-etrm memory but the schools failed to recognise his emotional needs and stigmatised him. Every LEA should have a Gifted and Tallented Coordinator who should be able to offer you some advice.
      I do hope you find the right school for your daughter.

      Kind regards Richard

      • Hi Richard,
        thank you so much for your comments. I have spoken to the LEA, and when my report finally comes through apparently she can be moved into ‘school action plus’. She can have up to 10 hours per week extra help. The lady was very helpful (I was actually not expecting much help). We have also been put in touch with a tutor who has lots of experience in children like my daughter. I am very focused and will not be forced off track any more by anyone.
        Thanks again

  58. Wow
    I just caught the last half of this program. I am 37 years old and after relating to so many of the things mentioned in the program i realised i am dyslexic.
    I always thought dyslexia was not being able to spell properly and never associated it with short term memory loss and not being able to concentrate on reading books or long articles, losing things all the time and getting appointments mixed up
    It explains so much about why i was never any good at revising for exams at school and the fact that i have never read a full book even though i have been given some for birthdays/christmas etc and although they look interesting , by the time i read a paragraph I would have to go back and read it a few times for it to sink in. It also explains why in my previous job although i was very good at some tasks and very experienced in my role, new people were coming in and doing certain tasks ( mainly reading and writing or reading paperwork and inputting it into the computer) a lot quicker than myself and i used to get pulled up on this but I could never explain why and used to make up excuses.
    I only wish I had seen this program several years earlier.
    On my next appointment at my doctors next week i am going to bring this up as there are some books i really want to read and see if she can suggest some ways of helping me now I know what the problem is.
    As someone said above this program really highlighted the effects of dyslexia and certainly made me aware of what it really is and how it has affected me over the last 20+ years.
    To be honest I only started watching it as I like kara but it has been the most enlightening program (for myself) I have ever seen
    Paul

  59. I have just watched ‘Don’t call me stupid’ and being “dislexic” (spelt as it should be) and was very moved, mostly out of sadness for people who suffer. I am dyslexic now 60 and a retired lecturer. I left school at 15 never to darken the doors of schooling again I thought. I come from the days when one was beaten, for not trying when by the teachers when in actual fact I was trying twice as hard as most.
    I can still remember the day when I said to myself, ‘I will just take the beating and not try why waste an evening, and get beaten the next day when I could be out playing.
    I was however very good at all things practical and exceptional at art, like Tara, in these things I excelled. I was fortunate to have family support. It was not until my children came round to having to learn to read that I realised there was something wrong/odd eventually we discovered they were dyslexic, and then all my shortfalls came into perspective.
    The biggest handicap for dyslexic people like me is low self-esteem this exasperates the problems, once this is overcome one can start to deal with the problem of the Dyslexic, for me becoming a Christian was the big change, God accepted me as I was, what more approval did one need.
    I could write pages on the subject but let me finish with a quote by Mark Twain, ‘Never let your schooling get in the way of your education’.
    David Mattches

    • Lovely comment David, thank you! Pity that Micheal Gove in the news today about school reforms (see today’s blog) doesn’t take Mark Twain’s comment on board. Thanks for reminding me – it’s always been one of my favourite quotes!

  60. I watched this program last week on BBC3 with great interest as I was confirmed as dyslexic in 2006, I am now 51.

    My problems started in primary school in the late 1960’s and it was a standing joke that I was a dismal failure but still managed to get three GCE ‘O’ levels, one at 15 and three CSE’s. The big issue with me is reading, writing and spelling, my seven year old son can read and spell better then me! Most teachers just said I need to read more!

    Despite my dyslexia I joined the Royal Navy and severed for 15 years and completed a four year electronic engineering course to gain promotion.

    After leaving the Royal Navy I have had a few jobs in project management and for the last 12 years have been in IT for the NHS. Since leaving the Royal Navy I feel I have struggled and feel that the stress of learning (and exams to keep up to date) and the lack of understanding by my employers, NHS, has lead to my heart attack in August this year.

    Like Kara I am also left-handed.

    Other key points of dyslexia that I have become aware of are;
    • Over 50% of left-hand men are dyslexic
    • More left-handed men are in prison then right-handed

    Dyslexia can cause so much frustration, lack of self confidence and boredom during vital school years that some children ‘drop out of school’ and the education system has failed them.

    But there have been some very influential left-handed dyslexic people;
    • Bill Gates
    • Richard Branson

    Having watched the program I feel that there are other people who understand me and how I feel. One of the mechanisms I have found of help and therapy for my health problems has been to join patient support groups (Lymphoma Association, and Cardiac Support) and I feel that if there was a Dyslexia Support Group or association this would be of great help to all dyslexics.

  61. I really enjoyed the programme. I was told at school by my tutor that I could be mildly Dyslexic but that was as far as it went and I have tried to lead my life as best I can. I am a trained nurse and have always shyed away from the thought of doing a degree in any of my areas of interest as the thought of exams and knowing how I struggle with my short term memory puts me off.

    Then there is my family. My husband is severly Dyslexic and I have to help him with reading and spelling. He was assessed at school and told he was University material by the only teacher who took an interest in him and did not call him stupid, but he became disruptive at school as he needed to be challenged more. He is a very organised person however but he has been so frustrated by his life at times. At work he has been overlooked for managerial positions, which he knows he could do so easily but if you can’t put it down in word form! I admire him so much that even at 43 he is trying to set up his own business.

    Then there are our two children. We recognised their Dyslexia from an early age but the school they were at took a very half hearted view and we constantly struggled to get them the help they needed. We moved house in the end and found a school that were great and did all they could with their limited funding. It always seems to be about the money why does it have to cost so much to get the education they should be entitled to?

    My son is severely dyslexic, my husband and I work hard but don’t have the money to be able to afford extra lessons or send them to special schools. My son is 11 and really wants to be a policeman. We encourage him as much as we can but just hope that he does not start to lose his focus as his school work gets harder. Accademia seems to rule these days.

    My daughter is 14 and her dyslexia is milder she succeeds at school by being very sporty and the most amazing artist. On a positive note my family are all incredibly sociable, funny and lovely people even if they are the most messiest and untidy! I enjoyed the way Kara found being tidy so difficult it really is!

  62. hi,
    I am having my daughter dyslexia tested this Week and she is 5 1/2. The school (I believe) think we are testing her too young and not allowing her time to ‘catch up’. However the dyslexia place we are having her tested at believe this is the perfect age. We thought the programme was amazing, I was particularly interested in the short and long term memory aspect of dyslexia. My daughter (although young) can never remember where she puts things, what she is supposed to be doing etc. She can however recall memory’s from being under two years old. Seeing those brave and honest young people on the programme made me realise despite what other people think we are doing the right thing for her. She is already nearly a year behind at school and she is only in year one! I now vow to carry on trying to get her whatever help she needs. She is very bright in every other way apart from reading writing and maths. She loves history and learning through talking things through,
    Best wishes

    • Its so sad isn’t it that this happens with schools. Bad enough that the child is not confident as all the others seem to be leaping ahead, they then fall behind because they don’t get the help, which is usually down to funding. Its much worse to make the child carry on in this way for the sake of the test. I know at least 4 children who were at school with my son (I used to do reading with them ironically) who had to wait for a diagnosis until they were nearly running round the walls. They were 9 when the school finally sucumbed. Years later a friend who is a teacher told me this is usally because of the cost of the extra help needed. Scandalous really and such a false economy.

  63. I watched this brilliant programme and it should be part of teacher training lest they have some idea of how utterly frustrating this condition can be. I was diagnosed last year when I started uni with a dyslexic/discalculic disorder. As a 48 year old, the years of feeling stupid, having to change jobs regularly when I was found out all made so much more sense. I tried three times to access uni to no avail because I have a discalculic problem and standardised tests for entry are fairly ridgid. One person even said I wouldn’t be able to do the course despite already gaining 120 points from OU. I am now in my second year of a psychology course with a uni that gave me a chance. I find it hard work, but am determined to suceed. I still find teaching staff that are unaware of just how frustrating this condition can be as they have no personal experience. I get help with my Dyslexia, but so far am not allowed help with Discalculia which for me is worse as I have to get my head around the stats side of my course.
    Like others here I am writing to encourage people to fight on. Best wishes

  64. I enjoyed watching your documentary on Dyslexia. I was 44yrs old when I found out after I had taken numerous promotion exams. At school I was considered by my parents and teachers to be naughty when all I was doing was causing a distraction because I was behind in the lessons and could not read. I think I was 13yrs old when I eventually received extra tuition which was short lived. I left school with very little qualifications, low self esteem but I had determinations. I commenced work in a shop because I felt this was the only course of work I could achieve.

    However, for the past 13 yrs old I have been a police officer and just completed a degree acquiring a 2:1 for my efforts. I still need help and have received enormous help from my employees once the problem had been identified. I am eternally grateful for the help and support I have up to press and about to embark on a Msc with the Open University (OU).

    The reason I am writing about my experience to allow all of those people like me to never lose hope and to be determined enough to carry on and succeed. I have pick-up some more tips from the documentary and will pursue them via the Disability Student Allowance (DSA) and Access to Work.

    • A very uplifting story Angie! Thanks for posting it. Although I guess you know it wasn’t my documentary – I watched it then blogged about it here. I do hope the makers of the programme are getting some feedback too! Best wishes!

  65. I am a dyslexic myself after my parents always thought I was dyspraxic, I didnt reach milestones and people just thought I was a late developer. I was diagnosed at university at the age of 21. I didnt think I was that dyslexic until I watched this programme with Kara as my diagnosis said that I have learning difficulties of a dyslexic nature. I was always good at reading and writing. I love to read and do not find it a challenge, but orally I am better than when I write . I was good at languages at school and I am a language teacher so it infuriates me when dyslexcis are disapplied from languages because to most people they cant do them. One of my friends is dyslexic and has a masters in bio medical science. Dyslexia is a unique condition and no two poeples dyslexia is the same which makes it hard to see. Nobody in my daily life would think I was , but I have to be on the ball all the time. My grammer can be appalling and I can spell out loud but have to think when writing.When I am tired everything goes out of the window , I can put something down and spend half an hour looking for it. My short term memory can be awful , I often wake up in the middle of the night and remember things. It also can affect me physically when I am tired my cooridnation is bad and forget putting my shoes on the right feet. You have to take dyslexia by the horns and not let it rule your life. Its not about support the school system doesnt fail everyone a big part is your family and yourself. When your dyslexic it does come with benefits it can make you more creative but I am rubbish at art. What people need to remeber is that no two dyslexics are the same . By the way it is gentic two boys and another girl are also dyslexic. The others are more severe and my other cousin is like me you couldnt tell he is an engineer for IBM. But watching Kara walk round a room made me realise my dyslexia is worse than I thought. I taught myself my survival skills and dyslexia does not have to hold you back it only can if you let it. Dyslexics are just wired in another way.

    • Excellent points Tracie! Everyone is always completely individual and needs an individual approach to their learning. In fact everyone does, whether dyslexic or not. Wouldn’t it be grand if schools would just stop teaching for a conveyor belt and start treating their pupils as such!

  66. Message to Anne. It is not too late. My daughter would know exactly how you feel, she to has been sacked from job after job, mainly because people have no patience. She was even sacked from a University department which was testing students for dyslexia lenses. We helped to set her up in a business but now that has failed and she is unemployed. You should be able to apply through Access to Work for help with your dyslexia but as I previously said the Government has frozen the funding for now!!! There should be some news in the near future. I appreciate the comments by others about the cost of Kara’s support and while this is a real issue, trying to find the support, even if you are willing to pay, is a nightmare. Does anybody know of any online help. The BDA and Dyslexia Action doesn’t tell me anything that I don’t already know and some of what they suggest does not work or apply to adults. School for dyslexics is a nightmare, work is a big black hole. Dyslexia is a very wide umbrella and the ones who manage to get good jobs must have other gifts which compensate but this is not always the case and low self-esteem often prevents the gifts surfacing.

  67. I can’t express how pleased I was/ I am with this program, I know exactly what she is talking about, the issues with short term memory, disorganised, forgetful etc etc.
    The problems faced at school actually applies to the work place, my experiences have been a nightmare which I feel has led to me being unemployed. I feel relived to know that there is help outthere but feel it’s too late for me.
    Since finding out I was dyslexic my life has been turned upside down, I felt I was better off not knowing

    great program, very informative, empathetic, accurate & well presented. Loved it

    • Great to see these comments here. Thank you. It’s obvious there’s so much still to be done to truly support dyslexic children. Not to mention the adults who were totally failed by the schooling system!

    • I have known I was Dyslexic since I about 8 (I’m now 28) after my mum spotted a book by Susan Hampshire (a dyslexic actress) and one of the letters in the title was the wrong way around. My mum was intreaged by this and so I we managed to find the help we needed. In answer to your post IT’S NEVER TOO LATE. At least you now know the reasons why your brain works differently from your peers and you can hold you head high knowing that you aren’t ‘stupid’ as so many of us are labelled. Beacuse of my diagnosis my mum discovered she too was dyslexic and that it wasn’t through lack of ability she couldn’t pass the 11 plus exam. It was a great program as I still learnt more about dyslexia however the one thing I wasn’t happy with was the naarator frequently pointing out that dyslexia means you can’t read very well. I had an assessment at 11 which showed I had the reading abilty of an 18 year old but the maths ability of a 7 year old. These misconceptions of how dyslexia affects people hinders diagnosis.

  68. I found the program very good. Kara was so brave and amazing to show herself with a view to help others and to improve herself. Dyslexias tend to do well and push themselves at other tasks and subjects as a way to compensate. I could really relate to Kara’s art something she creates “no right or wrong” just like or dislike, not looking for praise but not “wrong”.
    I am not as brave as Kara, keeping it my big secret using all the gizmos gadgets and cheats.The only way I know the alphabet is through text messaging on my phone. Not being diagnosed at an early age only coming to terms in the last year.It really affects your confidence and holds you back. I have worked very hard to keep up, and achieving MS office Courses without help in recent years which Iam very proud of.

  69. I have just watched this program with great interest as at the age of 44 I was confirmed as Dyslexic last September. It had never entered my mind until a chance conversation at work 18 months ago. Like so many dyslexic children I had an awful time at school being told I was lazy etc etc. I now have a decent job and am in the last year of an Open University Degree. I originally started the degree with the aim of becoming a mainstream teacher but as was mentioned in the program I feel strongly that awareness needs to be raised as well as coping skills taught and hope to forge a career in this area as I hate to think of even just one child going through what I did. Following on from another comment above however I wish the cost of all the lovely assessments,new glasses etc that Kara was able to have access to as shown in the film had been addressed. As Dyslexia is often genetic imagine how some parents would struggle supporting one child, let alone two or three.

  70. I identified with Kara’s portrait and I made some notes.
    Is there a link between developmental dyslexia and later age dementia?
    Why is it that you have lost it?
    Short term memory and long term memory are so different. Why can we not get into short term memory to help people remember.
    TIME is vital. We all need time. time to process information
    What helps us process information through time? eg colours, eg overlays.
    Then you need some space to integrate with this information which is there.

  71. My daughter is 35. She is dyslexic. She has recently discovered she has Irlens syndrome. It has affected her whole life and ours. She has not been the success so many celeb dyslexics are and while I feel this programme was very valuable I worry that it will make others think, ‘why can’t she do better, look at Kara Tointon, Richard Branson and others’. The link from the progamme website suggests Dyslexia Action. The reality: lessons £70.00 hour, assessment around £400. Help through Access to Work only after 6 months unemployment or a full time job on minium wage. My daughter has been jumping through hoops for 30 years and I don’t know how she manages to carry on. I knew my daughter needed help when she was very young. I was ingnored and eventually told I was an over anxious mother that was before my ‘pleasure to have in the class’ daughter rebelled and became a disruptive student. Clearly it was all our fault and nothing to do with the school. The government have just withdrawn funding for adult assessments through the Job Centre.

    • Very valuable points Norma, thanks for taking the time to post! As you point out, proper support is often well beyond the means of many and most of the schools can’t afford it either. But the more awareness that’s out there the better.

    • Norma, as a dyslexic myself the “celebs with dyslexia” has always frustrated me. It has never felt people were trying to make me feel better but telling me about these people as if I should be that sucessfull or as if I should be able to overcome dyslexia with no other help than this.

      Unfortunatly I fear that many have problems with work not because of the dyslexia but because of the way they were treated at school. For example I have a very short attention span because I never developed good concentration due to my frustration at school.

      On top of that the £400 test every time you want to take an exam makes it even worse, as they always want a report less than 3 years old. That puts me off exams more than the problems with spelling and reading.

      • Thanks for your notes Norma and Paul. Only a few of us can ever be ‘celeb’, dyslexic or not but at least it shows that dyslexia doesnt mean that you absolutely cant be a success. My son was diagnosed at 7 3/4 years old son and visibly changed including his posture when he saw a row of pictures of famous people throughout history who were dyslexic. He felt he wasnt the only one and that even though he was dyslexic there was the posibility that he could attain great things. Unfortunately in spite of the assessment report and attempts to enlist help at school 2 1/2 years later he is experiencing many of the problems so frequently described on this page with lack of understanding at school resulting in low self esteem, school refusal, severe school related anxiety and now anger problems.

        I think you are absolutely right that the dyslexia is only part of the problem but importantly the way dyslexics are treated at school which leads onto the other problems.

    • why cant there be more schools for dyslexia sufferers and any special needs? Its hard for people to understand the problem when they dont have it and Kara was brave to show how it affected her. I was bullied for being slow and I UNDERSTAND MYSELF WHAT ITS LIKE TO BE DIFFERENT.

  72. I watched this and was so glad I did. My husband of 7 years only realised he had dyslexia 10 years ago, he is 58! Everything has become more understandable now for him, as he realises he isn’t stupid. I was particularly interested to see how it affects organisational skills, a particular difficulty he has. He hasn’t watched it yet, but when he does, I will hold his hand, as I know seeing Tara’s struggle, honesty and deep emotional reactions will affect him profoundly.
    There must be so many out there who have suffered and still are as adults, still not understanding ‘why can’t I …..?’
    Here’s hoping to more education and research and support for our gifted dyslexic friends and family.
    Tara, you are a true star to do this programme.

    • Yes, very emotional as always. I was diagnosed 3rd year at University and told that i’d ‘got over’ dyslexia when in school as i learned how words looked so I was just stupid, put in the drop out class and made to feel that way when not able to read out loud in class like others and made fun of. It’s good that its better understood although the focus is still too much on children and not on adults who didnt have the support when they were children and working with the affects that has made like lack of confidence and knowing you are intelligent but not able to put it across, seeing others overtake you when you put in so much more time and effort and not able to talk to people due to poor working memory which gets worse with stress – making a dyslexic shut down.

      • David, I know exactly where you are coming from and completly agree. Through out school I was told I was a bad speller and Id have to live with it. I recieved know help and it took until the 2nd year of University to be noticed and helped. Although it does annoy me how dyslexia is seen as a disability, but as Kara Tointon rightly quotes, it just requires a different approach to learning and certainly is not a hanicap.

    • Hi Barbara,
      I am just about to turn 57. I was raised in UK (currently living in US). I am Dyslexic and was lucky enough to earn my MA in Special Educational Needs (SLD/Dyslexia) in 1999. My research was on the scares of the adult Dyslexic undiagnosed in childhood.
      I moved to Florida as I have five children who are gifted (as tested her in US) but also Dyslexic (only my two boys have been tested as the girls managed better). The current system here is at least OK ……………..
      What I would like you to tell your husband is, all of my life I thought I was stupid even though I am talented in some areas and was recognized as Dyslexic.
      I am a teacher here, and I work with struggling readers, and I have found that I am a better teacher due to my own difficulties.
      It is never too late to learn, understand, to be successful and to realize that there is a positive side to everything.
      I am about to test out a new computer program here called Fast ForWord education will catch up ……………

    • I found Kara’s programme fascinating. I have never been diagnosed but my wife,a teacher, has told me for years that I am mildly dyslexic. Anyway one think that annoys me is the way everyone wants to teach you by reading about it. I have some involvement with apprentices and many are great with learning by doing (kinesthetic memory) so why on earth is the first thing that happens to apprentices is they are sent to college to learn? More and more practical courses are being shut down when for many this is the best way to learn as Kara demonstrated; she learnt her lines much easier by combining them with movement. I love the theory of multiple intellingencies so why does school, college, university and live only use one of them? Have you ever watched a dancer learn her movements? They all dance with their hands even if siiting on the tube!

  73. Hi

    You have identified the problem well. Teacher training does not prepare teachers adequately to identify and manage pupils who struggle with reading and writing and, more importantly, the emotional stress the child suffers from not understanding their own condition. My son, who was in last night’s programme, experienced abuse, torment and ridicule at the hands of teachers who could not manage their own emotional literacy – not to mention children confused and frustrated at not being able to understand their lessons. My message to all parents who identify with last night’s programme is to contact their local Dyslexia organisation and request a test.

    • Thank you Richard for this valuable contribution. I am truly sickened to hear of the way teachers treated your son, but even more so that this response to dyslexic children remains a common scenario in so many schools. I know there are many dedicated teachers out there and the Teaching Awards are uplifting. But the sad fact is that it is the abusive and ignorant ones who can have such a devastating impact on a child’s life. Best wishes!

    • What do you do when the test is positive? How do you get more help? Particularly for adults who have failed and failed over the years.

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