I spent my formative days at school utterly confused and isolated, wondering why I didn’t understand the basics of spelling, reading and writing like the other kids did.
Reading lessons especially were torture – I spent the whole time repeating in my head “please don’t pick me, please don’t pick me” and literally drowned out most of the learning to be had from the Teacher, so high was my anxiety level.
The relief of having got through a class without being picked to read out loud was so HUGE I could have cried to relieve the tension – then I had to psyche myself up for the next lesson, and the next….
I hated the thought of being singled out and exposed for not being able to read or comprehend properly.
Putting my hand up in class was a complete no-no – the potential embarrassment factor was just too high.
“Trying Hard” Just Isn’t The Answer…
In my last year I tried so hard to study for my exams, however I didn’t pass them – I didn’t even have time to properly comprehend the papers let alone finish writing about the subjects.
So I flunked all my exams and left school with no qualifications and no self-esteem….
All because no-one picked up my dyslexia.
Luckily I had a love of photography and got a job in a photo lab. To be surrounded by images and colours was a dream come true! I was 24, single and enjoying life.
One fateful day my life changed as tragedy struck my family with a double blow.
Literally overnight I went from being a loving auntie to my three very young nephews and niece to taking over the role of their parents and becoming their new Mum.
Talk about having to grow up quickly – there were some big decisions to be made, and I gave up work to devote all my time to bringing up these wonderful young people.
As they grew up and progressed at school a sudden realisation came to me – I couldn’t help them with their homework – I was letting them down.
That’s when I made the decision “I need an education so I CAN help the kids with their homework”.
At 35 I went back to college, and the Lecturer asked me to do a piece of free-flow writing – well, the structure was back to front and the letters all jumbled up and immediately she said “I think you’re dyslexic” – OMG suddenly I discovered why I’d had such problems at school – 20 years too late they told me I am dyslexic!
At college they helped me build up my literacy levels, and I joined a class of 16 year olds to take English GCSE.
The College were brilliant and the rules allowed me the 25% extra time to read and complete the exams papers – the first time EVER in my life I’d finished a paper!
I re-sat my entire core subject exams – this time passing successfully. The boost to my confidence was great, and the knowledge that I could now help the kids was my real reward.
I then went on and achieved exams in Human Physiology and Health, Nutrition, Anatomy and Physiology.
And I read my first book from cover to cover at the age of 35!
So then I had to decide “What do I do now?”, “What is my passion?”, “What am I good at?”
I wanted to coach teens and young people to help them reach their full potential. To that end, I completed my Youth Impact Coaching Diploma, and I’ve been working with young people as a Coach for the last 17 years.
It was a natural progression to specialise in an area about which I know and understand so much – being dyslexic means I totally identify with the problems and trauma it can cause as well as knowing the positive power and potential talents the dyslexic mind produces. It’s where I can contribute most fully to changing the lives of young people today.
I don’t want any child to go through life not realising they’re dyslexic, or not knowing how to make the most of themselves if they are.
There’s so much that’s positive about being dyslexic – the creativity often expressed in the design or drama fields, sporting abilities, the ability to think quickly “on your feet” twined with natural leadership potential and above average IQ – (just a few examples).
What could be more rewarding and fulfilling than to see your young person growing into a Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Orlando Bloom or Kiera Knightley, or indeed Einstein (all dyslexic – it’s no barrier to success).
Youngsters can dream big but often they don’t BELIEVE it can happen. All they need is access to the power and magic transformational work can bring.
So my first question to them is often “If you KNEW you COULDN’T fail, what would you do?”
I always say, “Dream Big, Huge, Enormous and Shoot for the Moon because if you miss a little at least you will land amongst the Stars” and that’s a great place to be in, don’t you think?
Love to you