As someone who is neurodiverse and easily gets distracted (especially when there is some much-needed admin to be done), I found a video on Facebook with the words "I struggled in school".
For regular readers of this blog, you will know that I am particularly passionate about unlocking dyslexic potential and doing everything that we can to remove the barriers to education for any student, especially those with dyslexia. So as you can imagine I clicked the video and I was blown away.
Don't worry I have the video below so that you will get to see it too, but please read my thoughts first as I so want to share them with you.
You see, when I was growing up I was very much a conformist and did everything that I was told at school. I trusted my teachers to teach me and when I experienced barriers to my own success at school I simply blamed myself for not being good enough. It never occurred to me that I was experiencing a problem with absorbing information at a lower rate than my peers and that it wasn't normal for reading to be so tiring. I was impressed that my friends were able to read so much because I knew that I simply wasn't able and when I had to really knuckle down, I often had to read passages of text a number of times before the information got absorbed into my brain.
I thought that this was the same for everyone else and that they were simply better at dealing with it.
Thankfully, due to my conformist nature, I simply pushed on and did the best that I could.
BUT I NEVER QUESTIONED IT!
So I would have to listen to comments from teachers saying that I was bright but needed to work harder or that I could do better but I was exhausted, I was already putting in loads of effort which no one ever saw.
This story was the same for my HE studies and onwards into my degree failing and retaking exams as I went along. At the time I didn't really know what I wanted to be or do and despite knowing I had skills in non-academic areas it never occurred to me to see if I could do something with them as a career because I was conforming to expectations at the time as to what a career should look like.
Thankfully this changed for me later in life and I am fortunate in that I have experienced a wonderful career with many experiences that now serve me well as a neurodiversity coach working with young people and adults who are also dyslexic.
So, back to the video. This
video is of
, an American author who is dyslexic who talks about how he came to become an author despite having teachers telling him that one day he would drop out of college. It was only because of one teacher who encouraged him to prove the other teachers wrong did he overcome his barriers to education and become a celebrated author.
I have picked up on this video because I believe that dyslexic students do need academic support to unlock their potential, but equally, they need to have the right mindset to be able to push themselves through the challenges. So often as adults we say the wrong things to younger people and it sticks and it affects their lives but if we seek to be encouraging, if we seek to empower and not fix, then we can help our dyslexic kids to become the best versions of themselves that they could be.
Enjoy the video!