Dyslexia again

I have been keeping this blog for about a year now but nothing’s raised more comments than my post last week about the programme ‘Don’t Call Me Stupid’ presented by Kara Tointon.

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

Dyslexia is an extremely emotive subject. As is becoming clear from the comments, but it seems this is not as much about the dyslexia in itself as about the way children were/are treated in school because of it; poorly treated. Often because they could not learn at the rate of their peers, became switched off and labelled by teachers in a negative way, sometimes as ‘stupid’ as Kara pointed out. How frustrating for children who are as intelligent as anyone else when all they need is just a different learning approach.

I know mature and intelligent adults who are so scarred by their school experiences because of their dyslexia that they have little self esteem. I know many parents who have chosen to home educate their children because of their dyslexia and the way schools made them into ‘failures’. I also know dyslexic children who were home educated so successfully they are now at university. The parents are pretty certain that wouldn’t have been the outcome had they remained in school!

The point is that everyone is completely different, as Tracie Storey pointed out in the comments. And all children need a different approach. And as Anne Brocklesby commented time is often the essential ingredient.

Schools are hard pressed to keep children’s learning on targets. This means that when children do not acquire a certain skill within a given time then problems occur. But by home educating these time constraints can be lifted. Yet children can still acquire skills, and by the time they get further on in their lives no one would know they did it any differently!

Our own daughter was a good example. Reading for her was extremely painful and difficult. It could have become painful and difficult for me too if I’d had to keep to school milestones. But by home educating I was able to back off from her reading. I allowed her to come to it in her own time, keep her relationship with print a pleasurable one, put in place some strategies to help her, allow her to develop her own strategies, allow her to read in her own time, provide other learning experiences that enhanced her education and intelligence in practical and experiential ways and through conversation and interaction. She was thirteen when she read her first book – I could have knelt down and given thanks! And imagine the shame of admitting that in a class! But out of school it was no problem and now she’s seventeen, it doesn’t matter; no one would know she did it any differently. In fact she spells and writes much better than some of her non-dyslexic counterparts at college. She has found her own ways to help her overcome the challenges dyslexia sets her. Reading ‘The Gift Of Dyslexia’ by Ron Davis really gave me confidence in her abilities when I doubted.

She is not as severely dyslexic as some. And what worked for her would not necessarily work for others. But it serves to show that there are other ways than school ways in which we could enable dyslexic children to overcome the difficulties dyslexia sets them. Tracie said she found her own ways to help herself – well done – that’s the key! And that it’s important not to let your dyslexia stop you. Perhaps, as we did with our daughter, it’s more about finding ways to live your life round your dyslexia than it is about expecting a magic answer from some institution. To keep faith in the fact that everyone has abilities and a way forward.

The best thing we can do for dyslexic children is not to treat them as stupid, to keep their self esteem intact, to encourage the other valuable skills that each individual has and to try and eradicate the appalling snobbery of academic institutions towards those who find reading difficult.

There are many, many approaches to learning, not just academic ones although many people would argue that academic ones are the most valuable ones – they’re not!

Home educators are pioneers. They are pioneering personal approaches to learning that are about developing individuals rather than developing league tables. (You can find some of those approaches illustrated in my book ‘Learning Without School’; see my page on the left!) By removing their children not only from school they are also removing them from the label of ‘learning difficulties’. And showing how many of these difficulties become non-existent once you take school out of the equation.

We can learn much from them. Politicians harp on about making learning ‘personalised’. In reality it is as personalised as a conveyor belt. If it was truly personalised we wouldn’t have so many children who have failed to engage with learning, many dyslexics among them.

Thank you to all of you who have taken the trouble to comment.

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53 thoughts on “Dyslexia again

  1. My 12 year old son has recently been diagnosed with both dyslexia and dyspraxia. He managed to do ok at Primary School until KS2 but with a brilliant teacher, she encouraged him with his work. Although, when I questioned his writing abilities, she did say he didn’t have dyslexia. The last two years of Primary School were hell for him, he became withdrawn, lost his confidence and the bubbly happy child he was disappeared. In total I visited the school 3 times, spoke to class teacher, head master and even the SENCO and nope they didn’t think he had dyslexia. I got the impression the school thought my son was lazy and couldn’t be bothered. He hated PE as he felt left out and was often told off for not being able to catch a ball.
    He started Secondary School with low grades, but was looking forward to starting a new school. He lasted a term! With bullying issues, the struggle with school work, a full timetable and the distraction of his class, he couldn’t cope and refused to go to ever go to school again.
    Home Schooling seemed the right path to take and I then discovered that my son was unable to right a sentence, didn’t have a clue how to punctuate and spellings were awful – although at primary school he always scored highly in spelling tests due his photographic memory.
    I decided I did need to find out if there were things wrong and went to my local GP and that resulted in a referral to a child specialist, who eventually diagnosed his learning difficulties. The GP and child specialist have both been very sympathetic and understanding and very helpful to both me and my son.
    I never thought much of the things my son did differently to others, to me he was just being him and I wouldn’t change him. He learnt to swim when he was 8 but loves the water. Shoe laces, belts and knots are a problem but that will eventually come. He is unable to use a knife probably and is always spilling things.
    I would say to anyone who suspects that their child might have a learning problem don’t let someone try and fob you off, if you think there is, then there probably is. I have a friend who encouraged me to keep trying, she was a SENCO for another primary school and could see the tell tale signs of things and I am glad I carried on.
    The diagnosis was a bit hard for my son to take, he thinks he is stupid and that this will hinder his way in life but I know it won’t. Since we have started home school he has been doing distance learning courses in Maths, English and History, where he has assignments marked by tutors. Maths 88%, English 65% and History 70% – not bad for his first assignments. He learns at his own pace and is able to get the one to one help he needs from me and his tutors. In the 9 months he has not attended schoool I can see the son that I used to have shining through. It is nice to hear him laughing at a joke he has made, hearing him say he is off to read a couple of chapters before bed and watch him tap away at his keyboard writing.
    I wanted to share my son’s short journey so far as I know my son was let down very badly by his primary school despite my concerns, and I know he is not the only one.
    I have been told by my local authority that even though he has been diagnosed with specific learning difficulties unless he attends school no help or funding is available, is this not discrimination! As I have chosen to home school him I have taken on the financial responsibility of this, even though I did this to save my child from anymore stress, bullying and salvage an education for him. I think if he was still attending school, he would have an extremely bad attendance record which would eventually lead to truancy, he definitely wouldn’t have learnt very much and the wonderful, imaginative, creative child that he was would have been lost for ever.
    My son’s hopes for the future are to go to college to get his exams, hopefully go to University like his siblings and become a movie critic, author or radio presenter. He loves movies, he loves to write and he most definitely loves to talk!
    I wish all the children and parents who are experiencing any learning problems the best of luck for now and the future, keep smiling, have belief in yourself and don’t change, you are wonderful just the way you are.

  2. I have never been diagnosed with dyslexia but know I am dyslexic! Why? I had my son tested for it when he was 9 (now 16) as he showed the same learning difficulties I had when I was young: he is dyslexic! (and we deal with that on a daily basis with some difficulties but that’s another issue).
    I am French, now 42, and at age 16 was told one parent’s evening by my teacher, with my mother present, that I was ‘stupid and would never do anything in life’ (my spelling was awful, despite my constant attempts and tears of frustration – in those days, I was lazy and a bit dim….not dyslexic!)
    That day, I promised myself that I would ‘show her’, and would one day leave France and learn a language from scratch.
    At 18, I arrived in the UK, speaking very broken English and took myself to task by learning English on my day off from being an Au-Pair. I sat with an English/ French dictionary on my lap watching black and white old films and searching the phonetic sounds of new words in the dictionary and bit by bit, pieced together this new language.I am now a very good English speaker and writer too; people assume I am South African due to my strange accent.
    I have like most comments posted here, suffered from extremely low self esteem all my life, I have trouble reading as it takes me ages to decipher words. But I work very very very hard at everything I do: six years ago, I stopped my day job to take on a degree in Fine Art: 4 years later, I managed to get a first class degree with Honours (meaning I had to write a dissertation which took for ever) working 3 or 4 times harder than the others and managing to do the dissertation and scoring more points that English born students; I tried to get a dyslexic diagnosis at the uni, and was put through the a serries of basic tests. Due to the way I taught myself English, I could spell very well and using pattern making in my head to do the maths memory test, could fox the test quite easily so was told I was marginally dyslexic; I know that I am DEFINATELY dyslexic: the words on a page move like waves when I try to read them and can be very hard to decipher when spoken aloud, it takes me a long time to enter info in my head (and write things in repetitive lines, like Kara, so that I can remember them), I lose stuff and find it difficult to retrieve words when making sentences (can’t put that down to being French after 25 yrs in the UK) etc… But what I have to say is that Dyslexia has enabled me to develop the sensory part of my brain: I see problem in images, and know I have an photographic memory for colours, shapes, sounds: this gives me a very strong aptitude to art and artistic subjects – hence the strength to believe I could achieve well in my studies. It is an everyday battle: with many tears and feeling I sometimes can’t cope with life and finding it hard to make others understand the daily efforts required (which by the way, are extremely tiring). I am married with two wonderful teenagers, and I never put any of my difficulties down to dyslexia as it has now become a friend rather than an enemy: it has shaped who I am today!!!
    Last scholastic year, I managed to work as ‘artist in residence’ in a school (see like attached: http://artistinresidence2berkhamsted.blogspot.com/ just click on the Orange box on the blog) My reward for years of hard work was that the students I coached loved my way of teaching by demonstration rather than rhetoric; I completed my year by a solo show and most of my work sold, and have now been offered a job at the school as a part time technician.
    It’s a daily struggle, which makes us question why we are here, but
    DYSLEXIA IS WHAT MAKES US STRONGER AND MORE DETERMINED THAT ‘NORMAL BRAINS’ – THINK OF ALL THE INVENTIONS AND MASTERPIECES WHICH HAVE BEEN CREATED BY DYSLEXICS!! WE ARE SPECIAL!

    Best wishes to all, your work as dyslexic or parents of dyslexics, is never in vain!

  3. Dyslexia the disability that can’t be seen. You know the one, It’s the one that makes you feel and look stupid even though you know you’re not.
    I spent most of my life thinking that I was stupid thanks to school and the way they teach the kids but there again I don’t blame the teacher because I was at school from 1965 to 1977 and dyslexia wasn’t really known about we where just lazy according to our teachers. I didn’t find out i was dyslexic until i was 30 yrs. I am now 50yrs and I still find that you can’t get the help you need when you go back into education. I had to pay £250.00 to be retested for dyslexia so I could get one hour a week support with a support worker at my local horticultural college. This support was at the end of a long day of study and the support worker would always make an excuse why he had to leave early. he’d end up doing some of the work for me rather than him helping me do the work myself with his support. I ended up stopping the support because it was just waisting my time. The really funny thing about this was that I use to help some of the other student get though their work by explaining what the tutors where trying to teach us but when it came to me putting it down on paper I couldn’t do it myself. An hours work would take me about 6 to 8 hours and this is so frustrating when you know that you know but you can’t prove it to your tutors or the examiner. What I need is to be shown how to get my work done in the shortest time that makes sense to me so when it comes to revising it still make sense to me. After four years I finished college with out the qualification but I went self employed and all my customers love my work and it is respected by others. My best customer is Juliette who was on the same course as me. I also won the RHS award from the college even though I didn’t pass any exams.

    • It’s nice to know i’m not alone,been studying RHS level 2,As im reading its fine come to answer a question and my minds blank,When i explain my answer to my husband i know exactly what ive learnt but just cant put it into words on paper.it takes 3- 4 hours to understand 6 pages in the book, I think i wont finish the course intime to do the final exam.But i am going to give it my best shot .A lot of people still dont understand dyslexia , I try to explain to the tutours but with not a lot of help.But reading your blog has feeled me with encouragement to carry on.

  4. My son is severely dyslexic. He failed his way through school and finished school with two GCSEs…..drama and music. He was virtually illiterate; he had ‘shut down’. As parents, we worked hard at building his self esteem and found ourselves battling with some teachers and their appalling attitudes. Why give a child detentions because he can’t learn his french spellings, when he couldn’t spell in his own language? What kind of message was he getting? His real education started when he left school. He has found his own way. He lives in the USA, as he has married a lovely American girl and has been accepted onto a paramedic programme. He knows it will be hard going, but once he is qualified, he knows he will be brilliant. He has to work so much harder than people without dyslexia, but he is so motivated and full of belief. I have always been proud of him, but I am so full of joy that he is so happy. The best advice I was given by a mother, who had a son with similiar difficulties and experiences, is to love them through it and trust them to find their own niche in life. By the way, reading is a joy to him now.

  5. Hi There,

    Its so nice to hear people have the same problems as me. I have today lost my job because of my dyslexia. Not because they knew I was, but because I could not fufil the job because my english skills are not the same as everyone else in the office that I worked in. I feel my dyslexia rules my life if I’m completly honest. I had a reallly tough time at school. Not because anyone made me feel stupid, perhaps only one of my special needs teachers made me feel that way. But you know when you are differnent and you long to be like the other kids in your class. This is the first time I have really felt my dyslexia in the work place, I am so very dissopointed. I have taken a test and it has indecated that I have very servere dyslexia which to be honest has crushed me. I just wish I knew someone who was like me. I would perhaps feel a lot better, I feel very alone and sad. But I am very very grateful I have a wonderful family and friends, I am 25 years old.

    • Hi Charlotte,
      Thanks so much for your comment, it was very touching. But you should really not feel alone! You only have to read the stories on this post and on the others about dyslexia especially on ‘Don’t Call Me Stupid’ where there’s over a hundred, to know that there are many, many people like you you have been totally let down by an education system that does not properly support your needs as a learner. Have you ever read the book ‘The Gift Of Dyslexia’ by Ron Davies? It puts dyslexia in a whole new light. You will have things that you are really good at that will not be dependent on your reading or English that you could use to take you forward. Keep going, you will find a path that’s right for you eventually. Best wishes!

  6. I can fully understand how children feal at school, I misbehaved as I didnt understand and eventually put into a programe that allowed me to work 1 day a week at a joinery firm if I went to school 4 days and so I become a carpenter with no qualifications. I’m 31 and dyslexic and it took 31 years to find that out, I actually started a university course when i was 30 and it was actually a university lecturer that pointed out the fact I am dyslexic. If I hadn’t taken a change in career due to the ressesion I would still be living under the impression i was not smart enough to be academic. when I found this out my mum actually told me she quizzed teachers about it when I was a child and got the common reply that I was lazy and couldn’t be bothered, being the power that teachers are my mum thought this to be true and didnt chase the matter as you believe what professional people tell you. If there is anyone out there who is unsure on their child’s ability’s do get them tested, the earlier the diagnosis the better. I actually study Aquatic zoology/ Marine biology and although my scores are not the highest it does prove dyslexic people of any age can change and further themselves.

  7. I’ve been dyslexic all my life – please excuse my spelling. At the root of all the pain and shame I feel is the expectations of others and of myself.I feel I can do better but never do. I’ve been held back and passed over soo many times that I feel I have nothing to offer the world. I know this is about hope but the only thing that keeps me going is that being dyslexic has made me tough. The few moments of transcendence I’ve had is when I forced myself not to care about what people think. If I didn’t care what the examiner/tester/teacher/interviewer thought of me I would do better. Try and find a way to be more positive. Short term memory is negatively affected by having a low opinion of yourself. If you think you can’t then you won’t. Dyslexia is more about the scar then the wound.

  8. Yep, you are totally correct the school system does suck and is totally inept in my neck of the woods. I think I’ve pretty much experienced the lot in the time I first suspected my son to be dyslexic (age 7), to me having him privately assessed (age 9), until this day (age 13). I just wish I had began studying ‘how to teach a dyslexic child’ when he was young and I would now be qualified and not still knocking my head against a wall trying to get him help. I also wish I’d home educated but I just thought (1) ‘they’re teachers, don’t be silly they know what they are doing’ (2) ‘gosh, it seems such a big and unusual thing to do’ oh well that’s my rant for the night ….

    • Hi Glenda, thanks for your post. I think we all make the same mistake as you in assuming all teachers know what they’re talking about! Did you see my post Teacher Training Tragedy on Feb 14th? It’s quite shocking to think the situation is only going to get worse! I wonder if you realise there are now thousands of families home educating – it’s more main stream than you think and the numbers increase daily!

  9. what a brilliant programme ‘dont call me stupid’ was..Ive recorded it so that my two children (Amelia 13 and Joseph 11) can watch it. Both are dyslexic and we have been down many of the routes that Kara went down to get help as school experience was totally grim and the head teacher told me herself that she thought Amelia was merely lazy!!!! Dyslexia, and the accompanying difficulties are the reason I decided to home educate, its tough, particularly as a single parent, and extremely expensive, but for my children its definately the way forward. I really feel they will both have a positive experience from watching the programme, as despite everything, they both continually tell me they are stupid. My son in particular will take great comfort in the fact that his short term memory problems are a sympton of the dyslexia and are very common. Thankyou so much…I kind of feel like I want to rant at why the school system is still so inept at dealing with and helping dyslexic pupils, but I dont know who to rant at! plus of course, my children wouldnt want to go to school anyway, but I do feel for all those kids who are stuck in the sausage machine with no, or little help, it sucks..
    Sandra

  10. I volunteer for a website called RespectExchange.com where I gather people experiences into a simple choice format to inspire others.

    A choice is an action someone took to replace a negative emotion with a positive action.

    My passion is to find choices people have taken in living with dyslexia (I am a dyslexic dad of 2 dyslexic sons) I home educate my children … which for me is where all the pioneering stuff is being done

    So it would great if you could share your journey with me … by that I mean the bad place you have been and how you got yourself to a better place.

    Then we can create choices that you will sign off … before it is added … all anonymously … onto RespectExchange.com

    My email address is Jon.thorne@RespectExchange.com

    NB: I there are some great choices in the dyslexic group and home educating groups …

  11. It was a wonderful human humbling positive painful hopeful programme.
    The clarity and shameless way Kara spoke was riveting – and by looking directly at the camera you knew she was speaking just to YOU!

    I keep having conversations with people and tell them they must go online to watch it.

    But it has gone past its BBC sell-by day. There must be a way for it still to be viewed? It will continue to be a very important programme – one that can give hope and changes people’s perceptions and lives.

    Someone reading this blog must know someone who can either tell has how/where it can still be watched – or what the dyslexia community can do to regain viewing access.

  12. Oh, forgot to mention that you can phone your (E.P.) Educational Psychologist as part of ‘School Action Plus’ whenever you have any concerns, I speak to my son’s quite a lot! Unfortunately even though my son’s E.P. has a lot of time for me to ‘RANT’, he says that he is only there to assess the phychology of the child (i.e. I think that means when your child starts kicking off through frustration), my son is soooooooooooooooo easy going there is no way I can get him to kick off.

  13. Hi, after years of suspecting my son was dyslexic (but being told he wasn’t by the school!) I had him privately assessed by Dyslexia Action at the age of 9. I could not afford the high cost of the assessment but I received a bursary via Dyslexia Action which meant that I paid £100 instead of £400? ish (can’t remember the exact amount). It was well worth it for my son and myself to know for sure that he was dyslexic. The assessment was hard as it took 3 hours and for the first time in his life he actually said he would prefer to be at school! The down-side is that now he is 13, I am having a current battle with the school about him being able to write a sentance, he wrote a whole page of work with no full stops and random capital letters put here and there for no reason (his I.Q. was measured on the 88 percentile, although he did hit 94 percentile on part of the assessment). This means even if he uses a computer it cannot begin to decipher his work. Anyway that is by the by, what I found really interesting about the program was the messiness. I laughed and laughed with relief (both my son and his father are dyslexic) and they constantly randomly misplace items and I am always getting accussed of moving stuff??

  14. The difficulties, stress and everyday problems caused to anyone with Dyslexia are so serious that our government ignores the subject at it’s peril.

    Surely amongst all of our 650 members of Parliament there must be some that have experienced these issues themselves and they should ensure that the relevent Ministers are made fully aware of the short commings in many of the educators in our schools and universities being totally ignorant, in recognising or understanding, the problems that dyslexic’s have to cope with, everyday of their lives.

    I regret to say that many of those involved in education seem to find it so much easier to write off children as BEING Stupid as opposed to trying to understand why children have’nt always understood that being taught.

    I have always believed that one of life’s greatest joys was the ability to see,
    and teach every child, develope and grow to their fullest potential.

    We must all put pressure on those who can make a difference to ensure that they are fully aware of the consequences of leaving the status quo as it is, which currently is unacceptable to everyone of us.

    potential and .

  15. I would like to thank Kara and everyone one involved in making this programme for their sensitive, realistic and inspiring portrayal of dyslexia. I am a 25 years old doctor with severe dyslexia. At primary school I was failing miserably and my self confidence was non existant. My Mum inisted that contrary to what the teachers thought I was not stupid and so I was finally assessed. Following alot of special tutition I managed to catch up with my reading and writing. Throughout school the attitudes of many teachers was that you cant be bright and dyslexic. Despite the fact I’m now a professional my dyslexia still affects me in so many ways so it maked me feel so much better be reminded that other adults struggle with dyslexia in their everyday life too. I will be forever grateful for my parents perseverence and belief in me. There is an urgent need for teachers to change their attitudes to dyslexia.

  16. Hi my name is Anne, I found out that I had dyslexia when I was 27 years old, I am now 38, school was horrible for me, the kids and teachers would call me thick stupid lazy and all the rest,the kids would chase me home to try and beat me up, I had to run home all the time trying not to get Cort, I watched Kara’s documentary and it made me cry because you know what she is going throw, it touched home, I am working in a job that I do not like, but need to bring the money in. My life has changed now and I am a lot older, I am on a dyslexia course now trying to do my English, then I want to set up my own dyslexia centre in Coventry, because kids are still going throw this today, the education system is wrong,with its one way learning, if you don’t fit in,you are pushed to the side. My favorite saying is
    IF YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN,YOU ARE PROBABLE WRITE, take care everyone anne

  17. My daughter who is 15 has only just been advised by the school that she is dyslexic. I too battled with primary school and High School only to be told that she wasn’t dyslexic. I feel the “system” has let her down. Now she will receive additional assistance with her exams which are coming up in May. I just hope this is not too little too late. I have yet to watch the programme as I wasnt aware until the beginning of this week that my daughter was dyslexic however tonight I will sit down with her and we can watch it together. It saddens me that she has had to struggle for the last four years of High school and yet only due to the concerns of her physics teacher has this now come to light.

  18. I was very moved and learnt alot from Kara’s programme. I am a Mum of 3, my son 13 and my daughter of 6 are both severely dyslexic. We had to pay for both of them to be assessed and the school although very supportive, are not allowed to diagnose. It is very hard to even get your child seen by the schools education psychologist.
    My son did get a Statement at 11 and is getting quite alot of help. I am just starting the process for my daughter.
    I really think more needs to be done to help these children. 10% of children are dyslexic and they need to be a taught a completely different method to enable them to read. It is very frustrating!

  19. Hi, I have a grandson who we suspect is dyslexic and who is 12. He has just started High School and at the first Parents’ Evening my daughter was told that the form mistress was concerned and thought that he was of low esteem etc., all this when my daughter had from the very first day of term made sure she told them of her concerns. She spent most of his time at Primary School trying to get someone to help. She has been to the GP for help but they say to be diagnosed by the NHS could take 12 months! To be diagnosed privately is costly (about £400) and my daughter and husband cannot afford this and the schools do not seem interested as is so profoundly identified by everyone’s comments. Watching Kara Tointon’s programme was enlightening and being directed to this site helpful which shows that there are people out there who care but this still doesn’t get my grandson and many, many other children out there, the help they need. I am so saddened at the distress caused to dyslexics and no wonder they have low self-esteem. We do all we can to help but we are not experts. Any help or guidance will be appreciated.

  20. Hi Everyone
    I have just watched the programme and I do so hope it will help children to get a better deal than I had. It was the bullies that were so awful it still hurts to think about it. I am now 52 and still do not know the alphabet but have found ways to hide some of the difficulties. As a lorry driver I would love to be able to read the road signs! No I do not read books for pleasure, am very untidy, do not read maps very well and even find verbal instruction sometimes confusing. Also not sure if this is normal but I get mixed up with right and left. Please can anyone tell me where I can get coaching (as an adult) that I could book outside my working hours that is not too expensive. I live half way between Portsmouth and Guildford but would be willing to travel.
    For any one else out there who may be feeling negative, don’t, I would rather have my dyslexia and all the other skills I have that others don’t than not be dyslexic. However it would be nice to have it all.

    • There will be somewhere for you to get help, try contacting the Dyslexia association for a local contact point.

      My daughter is dyslexic and for her first 3 years of school went through a very difficult time, lack of help from the schools pushed me to taking her privately to have her assessed by an educational psychologist and he gave the diagnosis of Dyslexia & Dysgraphia, then we were angry for a short whilst until we started to get some help.

      We had a very good private tutor for an hour a week, about £25 -£30 an hour that gave me guidance and support anytime i wanted, and still does 4 years since she finished tutoring my daughter.

      However, as an adult look up ” Skills for Life is the national strategy for improving adult literacy, numeracy and ICT skills.” Possibly try Edexcel. You will probably find somewhere near you at one of the schools, colleges. We attended parent with child classes at a college campus learning how to work with her strengths to overcome the weaknesses.

      I also went on to take a level 2 & 3 certificate in teaching & understanding Dyslexia, Learning Styles, Study skills etc., whilst doing so there was adult classes in tutoring of Dyslexic, dyscalculic students teaching them self help skills as well as level 1 & 2 English & Maths across the corridor. One student in my class had completed the Self-help classes and was also training and EXCELLING at sign language (a strength of his) and had changed his job from a labourer to working at a residential care home for special needs adults in particular specialising in helping the deaf. Who’d have thought of that change in occupations!

      Good Luck and best wishes.

  21. I Thought the program was great, only watched half of it, as i was at work. it will help me plan out what i need to do for my personal trainer exams i keep failing. Im just hoping my Bloody NVQ tutor was watching the program as she does not really understand what is im going on in my head. Feeling the presure. she teats me like im like everyone else

  22. Having been a PE teacher for many years, I hurt my back which meant a change of career. But I found supply teaching and eventually ended up in a primary classroom, by default almost.
    The more I learnt about dyslexia from having one or two severly dyslexics with no confidence the more I began to relate to their problems which we discussed and gave them confidence. I was fascinated by the things their parents found out and decided I too had very slight dyslexic tendencies.
    I hated story reading and always found a book with large print! I had a wonderful class at one time when the children competed to be the story reader today. wonderful! I could try and tidy my terribly untidy desk and workplace; another dyslexic tendency according to Kara. I also found reading from yellow paper is much easier than white.
    At thwe end of my career I had had many problematic children and had a small class, but with half of them on the special needs register! One should have been in a special school. My head gave me no real support a lot of criticism about my untidyness and undermined my confidence. I left before time, but also before I had a nervous breakdown!
    So watch out dyslexics you need strength of character and you need to know that you do have this condition,so that in the work place you cannot be undermined or bullied.

  23. Just want to say … that I am dyslexic dad of 2 dyslexic children.

    I am sharing my choices at RespectExchange.com

    Its a none commercial and free site … so I hope it is ok to add it here.

    I would like to show how it is possible to move away from the negative stuff …

    Cheers Jon

  24. I am very pleased that this programme was on and thank you for highlighting a very big issue that kids do not receive the help they need in state schools. Unless families have the money to pay for private help with groups such as dyslexia action then the students are mainly left to their own devises with little help from the schools. The govermnent needs to tackle this situation before childrens futures are ruined by the lack of help within schools to help dyslexic student reach their full potential whilst at school. This is our childrens future and their is not enough resources in the schools to tackle this problem. Beating your head off a brick wall seems to help a little but not enough. The facilitise should be in every school to assist these kids. So come on let the government, put more effort into theier future generation starting by tackling educational issues.

  25. I’m so happy that someone has had the confidence to do this program I have being trying to get my head around it for a long time and am currently reading a book on how to deal in a working involvement The book is by Dr Sylvia Moody Am finding it very help full as it also mentions a link to Dyspraxia hopefully the info on the program can help as-many people as possible thanks and good luck

  26. Hey I’m Cat,
    I’m 20 years old and am currently in my 2nd year studying physiotherapy at university. I’m sorry in advance for any spelling mistakes I will make when writing this!

    The ‘Don’t call me stupid’ show, I personally feel highlighted to people who percieve they know what the word dyslexic is how frustrating you become with yourself over what can be simple every day-to-day activities.

    At primary school I was always in the top sets, and it was towards the end of year 6 that I went along for an ed psych report as my mother had picked up that I may be dyslexic from reading threw my school work.
    She was right, and it was only while doing the tests during the assessment that I realised that there were certain things which challenged me. For example swapping the first letters of two words, or recalling numbers backwards… the list went on. Although I did have high scores in other areas!

    Through secondary school I presumed that the teachers understood that I was dyslexic and this was passed on from primary school, but I wasn’t until a parents evening before my SATs exams’ (year 9) that my spelling, setence structure and paragraphing was brought to attention where my mother asked if they knew I was dyslexic!?

    Not going to lie, I recieved no support from secondary school to assist me, and it wasn’t until going to university that this all changed.
    The support I have recieved is fantastic, and i’m not talking about the software which is available eg: reading back to you, scanning, mind-mapping. But the personal assistance via a support tutor has been incrediable. They truly understand where you are coming from!!

    I’ve learn’t strategies to aid my essay’s, how to write notes to my style from lectures, time planning to memory strategies.

    The programme I feel summarises me as an individual, and when I initially watched it I called my mum up, and told her to switch it on as I said ” this is me”.

    All I can say is, yes it’s more difficult to revise, read, plan and i’m known as ‘cat- the organised one’… but that’s me. If i wasn’t dyslexic I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

  27. just reading SOME of the story on dyslexia and i had the same thing happen to me when i was at school. the programe
    e i saw was heart felt and i fully understood what she went through i went to college last year to do a joinery nvq level 2 and really struggled because most pf the things i did not understand and when i asked for help no one would listen,i steill fell that it was ne just bieng THICK anyway im now 33 years old and wondering if there is a nvq cours out there that deals with dislexiea many thanks lee wood.

  28. I watched with intense interest last night, the BBC3 program, featureing KaraTointon. What struck me most of all , was that for the first time ever, the producers of the program had the good sense to allow the story to be told by the people who actualy suffered the affiliction and not by any of the the experts. Kara and the others were given the luxury of expresssing themselves with such openness and honesty, something I would never have dreamed of doing, for fear of shame, in my day. as the story unfolded I became emotonal and wanted to punch the air with excitement. Kara so abeley explained inplain language, the difficulties of her experience with Dyslexia,

    I am now almost 73 years old and idintify with all the symtoms of Dyslexia but cannot catogarise myself as such, because the condition was never recognised and I have never been diagnosed, though I do know that all my life I have experienced all the symptoms that were being expressed by Kara and the others in the program.

    I was born and raised in India where I was sent to expensive Boarding Schools until the age of nine. my difficulty with the written word was never dected. Partition in 1947 saw the end of my education and I came to the UK in 1952 when I was 14 years old. As a child and throught my life, my private dreams were filled with lofty ambitions, none of which could be fulfilled because of the shame of my inability to read and write to no more than an elementary standard and that, only with great difficulty.

    However, I when I retired, I bought myself a Computer and embarked upon a period of self help. With the aid of Microsoft Word and it’s spellcheck, I set about educating myself. I am now quietly proud of the fact that I have sucseeded in write a 104 page account of my somewhat unusual heritage and the early period of my life while growing up in India. It contains some anicodatal stuff of my thoughts and harsh treatment by the teachers at Boarding School.

    I have delibrately not made use of spellcheck in this post.

    I would love to be given an oppotunity to tell my story to the public.

    Ian Smith

  29. hi
    im 24 and am dyslexic i was not diagnose till i had left secondary school and was in my first year of collage within 3 months of me being at the collage they suspect i had dyslexia and was found to be correct. when i was at school i was being constantly told i was thick and stupid and was in the bottom class for my standard grades but i got so fed up with this as i knew if i was left to learn at my own speed i would pick it up so with the help of my parents thats exactly what i did and got 8 standard grades at grade 3 or above and then wnt onto achive 3 highers while at school. I will admit reading is not the easiest thing i done but as i learned to do it in my own time i have learnt to enjoy it and know always have a book with me to read. thank you for such a positive attitude to dyslexic and such a good article

  30. Hello Everyone,
    I watched Kara’s documentary this evening, and found it interesting yet upsetting also. But I believe it was good for me to watch!

    My mother has always thought I was dyslexic from a very young age and did inform my schools many times that I was dyslexic, but they did not believe so they thought I was lazy and stupid!!

    I am 31 now and in 2003 I paid to have a dyslexia assessment which has confirmed that I am dyslexic. Which has lifted a burden from my shoulder but I still suffer from the same difficulties I had before. I have low self esteem, no confidence in my self and I do not take critisum very well.
    I have recently sent my self to University as I want to improve my education and progress further in my career. I have informed my university that I am dyslexic and they informed me that I would have a dyslexic contact and my tutor would be informed. On my first module this has not happened and my tutor advised me after my 1st essay that this was probably not the course for me and that I have very poor English and maths skills. Some thing I am aware of and have been working on, I did confront my tutor and informed her that I am dyslexic, and the university was informed 3 months prior to me starting the course. She informed me that she was not made aware of this. This had set me back 3 weeks on my study as was starting to think what was the point if I have informed the uni and they can not be bothered to provide me with support and just criticize me!
    I did eventually catch up but I have only just passed the first module by the skin of my teeth. I feel very much let down by my university, but I am very much determined to carry on as I want to prove to myself I can do this and also prove them wrong.

    There are people I work with that think dyslexic people should not work in job that involve writing or maths. I take these people to be very narrow minded and they make me angry.

    I am also like Kara that I am untidy, I have a yellow sheet for reading, I panic with maths if someone asks me to work out a sum in my head, and I have problems with my short term memory.

    My mum keeps reminding me that I have done better than most of those from school whom went straight to uni, and I am very clever, an that I have a report that confirms and clearly states this. but even after all of these reminders I don’t feel any different.

    Sorry for my rant on your blog, I felt very moved from watching Kara’s program.

  31. Hi i am Cara, i am 13 years old and like kara, I am dyslexic. i can not read very well and have trouble spelling. i was moved down a class so i am the oldest in my year. i am very untidy and i have a blue sheet to help me read. i get called dumb and stupid, but now i think i am not thick. Thanks bye bye

  32. Hi Norma,
    thanks again for your heartwarming comment! I just wanted to say to you and your daughter that you should both hold your heads up in pride as to what you have acheived! Sadly, there are no ready ‘answers’ but be comforted by the fact that clearly you are not alone! Best wishes. x

  33. What a positive article and clearly you have been successful in your quest to give your daughter a ‘normal’ life. I will read your book, I am sorry I didn’t have the confidence in the 80’s to home educate. At 35,my daughter, is still meeting prejudice and failure and I have to say she was given every chance at extra curricular activities. Although she was able at many physical activities she was always left behind or left out. She has achieved qualifications but in a working environment she meets impatience. Socially, peers and adults alike seem to avoid getting too involved and she is often upset and let down for reasons she cannot understand. Her coping strategy is to ignore the problem until she has to deal with it and often when she decides to deal with it it is too late. You can tell how down I am, how negative I am about the future. I hope that mainstream teachers realise what they may be doing to children who don’t fit their particular classroom mold. Even though this site/blog has been interesting I still don’t have any answers as to how I can help my daughter. She won’t even watch Kara Tointon, she thinks it would be too painful.

    • Hello Norma,

      I have never written on a blog before as being dyslexic myself I hate writing due to the amount of time this takes me but felt that I needed to reply as my own situation is similar to your daughters.
      From a young age I have always felt stupid and had great difficulty learning and holding onto information. I wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexic until a year ago and I am now 34. I wouldn’t say that I have come to terms with being dyslexic yet but bit by bit I am learning more about this and starting to accept it – it has answered many questions in my life, especially around work. What I wanted more than anything when I was diagnosed was to talk to other people in similar situations but struggled to find them.
      Please let your daughter know that if she would like to talk to someone or email then I would be more than happy to chat.

      Natalie

    • Hi Norma,
      I’m 41 and was diagnosed with dyslexia just last October (2010). I was working for my family’s business up until August 2010. I had worked there from being 20. In a way I was shielded from the difficulties of dyslexia, even though I had absolutely no idea at all I was dyslexic. I knew there was something ‘wrong’ with me and frustration frequently got the better of me having been suspended 3 times by my own family over an eight year period, all for losing my temper with a sibling.
      Just prior to Christmas 2010 I got so low I went to my family (at work) and admitted I have a problem, mood swings and anger being the obvious manifestations. My organisation is dreadful, and I asked for help at work with the paperwork so I could concentrate on what I was good at. My justification was, why are they paying me six times minimum wage to do a job very poorly when they could employ someone part time to do it for me in a fraction of the time it took me. This would enable me to get on with what I’m (very) good, with only the minimum of confusing paperwork that had constantly brought me to a frustrating and angry halt.
      My request was sarcasticly turned down with the comment “I’d like a secretary to do my work”
      The company turns over in excess of £5M per annum, so financially it wouldn’t have caused problems.
      The following February (2010) I lost my rag, again, and was suspended, again. They employed a mediator to smooth things over between me and my brother. It was Jan, the mediator, who later raised the possibility of dyslexia. In fact, she was almost certain. Both her children are dyslexic and one of them has very similar traits to mine, prompting the suggestion. I left the family business, after signing a compromise agreement with 37 ‘no suing’ clauses, last August and had an assessment a month later. I’m coming to terms with it more now, but I find certain things difficult to deal with. Learning to see where you struggle is important, you have to admit to yourself that you need help, and then go & get help. There’s no shame in asking for help.
      I watched the Kara Toignton documentary with great interest. So many of her traits I saw in myself and, I have to admit, I cried at the end. It was with happiness though, that there is something that can be done to help us all out.
      Norma, don’t give up hope, try to persuade your daughter there is something that can be done and the Kara documentary really is an eye opener.

      Good Luck,

      Max

      • Can you advise how i find out if i have dyslexia: reviewing my career and studies over the years and its just one long struggle due to my inability to do things others find easy. I can read and write but its not my strong point I Again am trying to study but my english is really poor and am getting a terrible marks. Hence me thinking I have type of it.
        Hope you dont mind my question. Thanks

      • There are dyslexia organisations who can help, and tutors, if you have a search on the Internet. If you look back at the previous posts Nov/Dec and Jan/Feb you’ll find suggestions from others plus the details for the tutor Claire who was on the programme. Getting funding for help is another matter – as people point out! Good luck!

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