Did you call me lazy? I love to see you have my brain – A insight into a dyslexic’s brain and the barriers we face every day:

Most people think dyslexia just affects reading and writing and sometimes they underestimate how challenging it can be for us.

We often get branded lazy and slackers which then lowers our confidence. If you ever hear this from someone just point them to this article and see if they could cope with all this going on while living with the normal dramas of day to day life. I bet they would be tired too.

I have listed a few things I struggle with to highlight this. This is not all my barriers, but they are the most popular. I tend to have flare ups as well so I could have a really great day with one of two of these or I get all these barriers in the one day and I just want to curl up under my duvet and sleep.

I will be elaborating on these points in future posts but here is a taster of a dyslexic’s mind and the barriers we face.

  • The head fog – The struggle to get an idea on paper:

Quite often I get a head fog (I get it while writing this blog now). You have so many ideas in your head, but you struggle to get them out onto paper or even say them correctly when talking. This makes your head feel cluttered and often causes stress and frustration as people do not understand what you are trying to say. You also get very tired because of this as you use the extra energy to concentrate more.

  • Telling the time:

I was unable to tell the time until I was 14. I was much better at telling digital time as it is one straight line of 4 numbers. But I cannot tell the time of normal clock face with arrows as the numbers move around so I cannot see what the arrow points too. This affects me a lot in exams as quite often I cannot see how much time I have left. And have you ever noticed what clock is normally in an exam room? It is not a digital one I can tell you and you’re not normally allowed to bring one in.

  • Organisation and time management or the lack of it:

A lot of my friends would argue that I have no issues with this however, I really do. I am fine now as I have coping mechanisms in place to help me but before I was diagnosed, I would stress out about this. This links to head fog as we have so many ideas and cannot express them it makes us quite chaotic people who get distracted easily. Due to this my time management was not good as I would desperately try to focus on one task that it would cause me to run out of time to do others. Which people would then label me lazy.

  • I struggled with ‘simple’ tasks rather than difficult:

If you are dyslexic you may find that you struggle with the ‘simple work’ but when you get given harder work you get better grades (that is if you can get them to give you the harder work in the first place). This is because your brain is wired differently. For example, in maths I would struggle to complete a 1 mark question for reflecting a triangle on to a graph which the teacher would say was easy marks and to never miss out as they only take a minute to complete. Well that would take me 20mins because the squares and lines on my graph paper move around. But Algebra, where you find the value of something that isn’t there and 10 marks – oh I was great at those! I could complete one of those in 2 mins.

  • Spelling:

I don’t really need to say much on this. My spelling is shocking. I spell so bad that not even google can recognise it sometimes. I often spell by how I sound a word. I struggle a bit too when it comes up wrong on spellcheck but I do not know which word is correct because I don’t know how it is spelt in the first place. I will be giving a list of words I can’t spell soon to show you how a dyslexic spells and why.

  • Saying the wrong words:

I do this so much and I’ve just learnt to laugh at myself now. Before I used to get upset and think people were laughing at me. As your brain is so busy you often will say the wrong word when you talk or type. For example, I once noted some foods on my mums shopping list and confused her when I was meant to ask for pears, but I wrote polar bears. This can be quite embarrassing and most of the time you wont even notice you have done it – not even when you read it back to yourself.

  • Lack of punctuation and words missing when you write:

This is major barrier of mine and I get told I’m lazy so much because I haven’t proof read. I have checked this article 12 times and bet some of my book reader friends will wince while reading this. Because it is an effort to write correctly and spell correctly, I often forget to put in punctuation. Because our brains are used to trying to unjumble letters, we automatically place punctuation and words in when we read. The amount of times I was told to proof read was frustrating. This often happens when I text now for example, I miss out the word ‘and’, full stops and commas all the time. My friends will be like “what? your text doesn’t make sense Kate”. But when I read it, it does. (I hope I used those speech marks correctly).

  • Poor short term memory:

You know that phrase if you can’t remember what you were going to say, it can’t be that important. Yeah, that is not correct for a dyslexic at all. We struggle to keep information in our head. The amount of times I used to scare my mum by going “mum! I have that school trip tomorrow; I needed the money 2 weeks ago”. This then links with other issues like not understanding instructions and not completing work on time.

  • Directions:

I am very bad with directions. I can get lost so easily its unreal. I used to get so nervous for my uni exams as I was more concerned on finding the place than the actual exam. I have got lost at work before looking for a coffee machine as our one on our floor broke (Bear in mind I had worked there for 3 years at this point and there was only 3 floors). I got the coffees fine but I couldn’t remember the way back to my department. So much so I had to text my colleague and ask her to come find me which as you can imagine went down as right laugh in the office.

  • Lack of confidence:

All through my life I have been told I’m not confident and have been described by a teacher as ‘a bunny caught in the headlights’. This is totally true I am, and this will reflect in my blog writing. I am a person that apologises all the time however, I have come a long way as I was so much worse when I was younger. The key is too pretend you are confident (as it is just one thing you won’t fully be as a dyslexic). Once you realise actually I have things the non-dyslexics cant do which gives you so much more power it’s a lot easier to show.

These are just a taster of what this blog will discuss. Please also note these are only the effects of my dyslexia. I haven’t even shown you the effects of my irlens on top this and I feel irlens is harder than dyslexia is sometimes. And remember 8 out of 10 dyslexics will have that condition too.

Something to think about.

Dyslexia, Irlens and Me:

This is the first time I have ever done anything like this. I am not a big fan of writing or reading but here we go. This will certainly not be written in best English and your going to be lucky if I even put punctuation in where it should be but at least I am trying to get the message out there:

What is Dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome:

I am not going to bore you with facts and stats as you can google this. A general gist is they are both learning difficulties. Our brains are wired slightly differently which causes information to not process the same way. Dyslexia is not just words wiggling or awful writing it can affect many aspects which I will explain further through this blog.

Irlen Syndrome is another disability which normally links with Dyslexia. This one never ever gets talked about. I always find this one hard to describe. For me it means anything on white can make my dyslexia worse. I can see lights behind words which affects my reading and it also can cause a sea sickness feeling and affect your moods. 8 out of 10 dyslexics will have this and not even know.

Why am I writing about this topic:

While growing up I found dyslexics don’t really like to talk about their dyslexia. We are often embarrassed or ashamed of it. I mean I’ve been wanting to do this for 5 years but I stopped myself because I am embarrassed to share some of my secrets and experiences. BUT WE SHOULDN’T BE.

I found  growing up I was always unsure if what I was struggling or feeling was normal. When I joined uni I got given help and spoke to other dyslexics. When you get a group of dyslexics in a room its like therapy and you realise all your worries and struggles are the same and you can help each other out and learn how to cope in different ways.

This is something you will have forever and there is no reason for it to be like the dirty secret hanging over you. I’m a very honest person (now) and I am a pro-dyslexic I love my dyslexia it makes me who I am. I have decided to do this on a kind of diary basis and I aim to have article a week. Would do one a day if I could but just too much for this dyslexic to cope with.

A little bit about me:

My name is Kate and I am 27 years old and my favourite food is Prawns (yes I said it – not chocolate). I was diagnosed with dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome very late at the age of 17 through my A Levels. However, this has never held me back and I managed to go to uni get my degree and I now work in a full time job (not in my degree but who uses their degree anyway). I work in a claims team for a motor insurance company. This is all phone work and admin and I love it.

Why was I diagnosed so late:

When I was younger I always knew there was something wrong with me. I grew up as a very quiet and shy child. I was always able to make friends well but my academic life wasn’t always that great. I grew up in a very happy home with my big sister (7 year age gap) and my parents who have always been extremely supportive even before being diagnosed.

I first noticed I struggled when I was in primary school. I will be writing a separate piece in more detail about my school life at a later date so I wont touch too much on this. However, my strongest memory where I felt something was wrong was when I was sitting on cabinet of trays with a friend when I was 8 years old and class reports came out which I dreaded. Everyone in the class were talking about how they had level 5 and 6s and I remember having to hide my grades even from friends because I was embarrassed that I had levels 2 and 3s. I tried as hard as they did and put in the same effort which used always be reflected in my reports but just could not hit that mark.

I did raise concerns but as a Kid I don’t think we explain it too well as we don’t know what we are seeing isn’t correct. A common reaction was you could have eye strain, you need to focus more and stop being lazy. Unfortunately for me I was 3 months premature too when I was born and my parents were advised I could be ‘slow’ which I don’t think helped. Please note I do not blame ANYONE for not finding me help early. As a kid we can hide things very well – especially a shy dyslexic one.

I went through my school life struggling quite a bit and learnt my own methods of coping. During my A levels I had an assignment and I chose to do Dyslexia. While researching It I realised I had all the symptoms. I found it extremely hard to find resources on where to go to get tested and remember it taking me weeks of googling and not getting any results. I felt embarrassed to tell anyone as there is the fear of what if I am just stupid?

I eventually put my big girl pants on and took myself off to what I call the special needs department and I just poked my head round the door and said ‘sir, I think I might be dyslexic where can I be tested?’  I remember my eyes welling up and heart pounding because I was really scared to admit that. I was tested that afternoon by a teacher who was also dyslexic himself. I hadn’t told my parents I was doing the test and I hadn’t even really told my friends.

When the test ended I was told I am well and truly dyslexic and he said he could tell just by my manner. As soon as I heard this a weight was lifted from me and I remember crying not out of fear and disappointment but out of relief because I knew I wasn’t thick or lazy like I had been constantly told through my school days. We spoke for two hours about everything and I remember it being like word vomit and he smiled and said everything I was saying was totally normal and for once in my life I didn’t feel silly. However, my diagnosis gets even more complicated when I go to join university which I will explain another time.

What’s Next:

Apologies if this is too long but I want to get the detail in there. Each article will be a separate area of my life and I will be sharing my coping methods and experiences relating to my dyslexia and Irlens. I wished when I was younger I had this.  I am aware from my mums eyes she also would have found this useful to know as I have only started sharing this information over the last few years and if she knew this I properly could have got my help quicker and we probably wouldn’t of had so many awful tantrums to deal with.

I hope you come back and read my next ones and don’t get put off by my huge assed paragraphs – maybe I will make the next ones a little shorter.

Keep safe everyone 🙂

First steps

Hello, this is my very first blog. Being dyslexic means im not an amazing writer but do have experience I would love to share and I would also like to learn from other people. I was diagnosed with dyslexia and Irlen syndrome when I was around 17 when I took myself off and got tested as I got fed up of being told I was ‘lazy’, ‘a dreamer’ and ‘its just eye strain’. I am now gaining confidence everyday and would love to share the dramas I had before being diagnosed, during and the the ones I now face within everyday life and work.

I hope this will help others like me to not feel silly and realise it is totally normal. And to show how proud you should be to be dyslexic. If you have any questions or any advise on what to discuss please comment and help me write something worth reading.

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