My name is Elizabeth Kwarteng-Amaning, and this is my story:
Growing up from the age of 9, I couldn’t read or write until the age of 15 years old. Primary school was such a struggle, I was always bullied and the other children would ask why I couldn’t read or write.
At secondary school, I was still struggling with Numeracy and Literacy so I became very disruptive in the class and I was always getting into trouble with the teachers. As a result I ended up in the bottom set of the class and achieved very little GCSE marks.
I left school at 16 and had no intention of ever going back to full time education. However, I started college because all my friends were going and it seemed normal to enroll. I wanted to be accepted within my peers.
After a year on the Hotel Management course at Carshalton College (1987), I couldn’t complete the course because I felt as if something as wrong, however, I didn’t know what it was at the time as I was yet to be diagnosed. I ended up leaving College in 1988.
I worked as a receptionist for Yorkshire TV but was too scared to ask for promotion because I felt I could not read, write or spell adequately. I had no support in the work place and I was ashamed to mention that I had these difficulties to any employer. I kept it all to myself and suffered in silence.
As a result, I would struggle in the work place and leave the job, so hopping from one job to another.
In 2001, I was brave enough to enroll into university, even though I had no idea how I was going to embark on this journey. I knew essay writing and reading lots of books would be a struggle but nothing was going to stop me. I had two children at the time and I wanted to change my life around for them.
It was in my second year at South Bank University, that my Dyslexia was diagnosed. I was studying combined honours Human Resource Management and sociology. (As a dyslexic why did I choose to study within the business area when I could have chosen something more creative?)
|July 7th 2016, Leek, Staffordshire - Click For more information|
I was referred to go for Dyslexia assessment at The Independent Dyslexia Consultants (Formerly known as Adult Skills and Development Centre). It was at this point that I was told I had Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. I was in total shock and still wondered what this condition was, I was ashamed to tell any of my employers as I felt that there was a stigma attached to having these specific learning difficulties. I really struggled at university but I was not going to give up as I was very determined. Dyslexia was not going to stop me to reach my full potential.
I graduated from South Bank University with 2.2 classification with the support of the study skills team and one to one tuition.
I decided to go and study for a post-16 PGCE teaching certificate at Greenwich University Oct 2014, I had my one to one tutor (Tracey Partridge) also Senior Lecturer at Greenwich University Post 16 Education. She really believed in me and encouraged me to reach my full potential. I was teaching subject specialism in TV and Film Media makeup,(something creative) to VTCT Level 3 students. I graduated July 2015 with a Pass from Greenwich University.
I had finally found my passion and was free to teach what I really enjoyed, However I felt I needed to help other Dyslexics that may be struggling within the education and self employment system or within the work place.
At the moment my aim is to teach and support Dyslexics who are struggling within education and also within the work place, so I have decided to go back to Education to study for Post Graduate in Adult Dyslexia teaching and also to support Dyslexic students (2017).
My advice to you?
Never give up on your dreams and never give up on education as there is so much help available from organisations that can help you overcome specific learning difficulties.
Elizabeth is the CEO of Aspire2Inspire Dyslexia, a charitable support group based in Wandsworth. A2I Dyslexia works to raise awareness of dyslexia within the community and encourage entrepreneurship amongst dyslexics. They support adults that want to return to education , apprenticeships or self employment by developing employability skills.
Find out more about this amazing organisation by clicking here.