After the tragic death of Alan Rickman, 69 of cancer last week, Stephanie Wickens, says that if it weren’t for reading Harry Potter, she would never have overcome dyslexia as a child
The news of Alan Rickman’s death deeply saddened me as I feel that the Harry Potter franchise has played an important role in my life, and hence the inspiration for this piece. Rickman, who died at 69 and played Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, was a person who I admired, and respected, and the character he portrayed triggered a nostalgic response in me about how I overcame one of the most challenging hurdles in my life.
Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that affects 6.3 million people in the UK and causes problems with abilities such as reading and writing. It can have a massive impact on a person’s learning development, and also their self-esteem. The National Literacy Trust: State of the Nation and Impact Report
found that one in six adults still only have the reading skills on an 11-year-old. And in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
, by Bruce F. Pennington, it is stated that one in 10 of the population are estimated to have dyslexia.
As a child, school was a challenging experience on a daily basis. When I was in primary school, teachers noticed that my reading and writing was not as developed as my class mates. I was the slowest in the class when it came to basic maths and english skills. I would be too scared to admit I didn’t understand, so I never asked for help and I would silently panic. On my 10th birthday, I remember the teacher had set a task, but I was confused as to what I was meant to be doing. Chattering filled the room as the other kids happily got on with their work, and I sat doing nothing. I was desperately trying to figure out what to do when my teachers voice boomed across the room and screamed at me to ‘JUST DO THE WORK’. The whole room had fallen silent, and 30 pairs of eyes were on me. It made me feel like I was being punished for not understanding.
After a few special tests, I was diagnosed with dyslexia. I started going to special one on one classes where a lady would go through the alphabet with me and simple word sounding activities. However it did little to improve my learning difficulties.