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#MyDyslexiaStory: Tracy Fournier Dalbe

Wednesday 8 June 2022

Living with Dyslexia and not Really knowing what it meant. My name is Tracy and I'm a 57 year old woman With Dyslexia! Yes I said it! Dyslexia!

I have known for some time around 10 years that I might be Dyslexic as I've always struggled in life with reading and writing. But I never realized it has affected other areas in my life, all my life. Not having a diagnosis as a child, I was treated differently at school. Back then the term dyslexia never existed. I was hearing she’s just slower than everyone else, and as time went on, it was, well, she’s not very clever, but at least she is pretty, you never know you might marry a footballer.

Even back then hearing those words, didn’t install me with any confidence. Back then people didn’t really know any different. When there was a diagnosis, it was said, it’s an excuse for those who can’t read or write properly, they are probably just lazy.

“It wasn't until my daughter was struggling at school, I could see some resemblance between us”

Over the years I struggled in education. I had little confidence and unfortunately was very shy. This led to quite a bit of bullying which also made it difficult to learn. All I wanted to do was stay home with my mum. Anyway it wasn't until my daughter was struggling at school, I could see some resemblance between us. At the time her primary school didn't have dyslexic training to identify this condition. When she hit year 7 the SENCO at her primary school, had training and was successful in identifying possible Dyslexia in children.

She invited me back to primary school to check to see if she was dyslexic or not. She came out highly likely dyslexic. So I had some evidence now to approach her secondary school for help. They agreed, and had her tested again, the school agreed to the diagnosis and put things in place for support. I have surprisingly been working as a support teacher for the past 16years. I really never thought I would be back in a school working. It has been extremely hard for me to achieve the confidence I needed to try and become a good support teacher, and to feel proud.

Achieving targets

So over the years and teaching myself on the job and with the amazing support from all the school staff, I feel I’m almost there. It took me some time to come clean to myself let alone other people finding out. In staff insets , I would never volunteer to write in a brainstorm activity. In fact I was terrified of being asked anything or write anything in front of others. I felt a fake, but I always seemed to achieve my targets with lots of hard work.

Recently I felt confident enough to tell the staff of what I always felt as an affliction. I'm now using it to my advantage in teaching. I felt a great weight lifted, by sharing something I felt extremely embarrassed by.

It's not just reading and writing struggles

There have been many other things I have struggled with in life and through recent research, I've recognized it controls our logic at times. Just general everyday things become massive chores.

I'm very disorganized and never know where to put things at times, so I leave things lying around, creating untidy rooms. I never thought I had enough time to tidy at home all the time, and work all day. It got on top of me at times. This is a symptom of dyslexia. The saying a tidy house, is a tidy mind. So true. Reasoning when arguing is very hard, I find it difficult explaining myself under pressure. Sometimes I even forget my point of view and just want to walk away, leaving the other as frustrated as I am, resolves nothing. This is something that has taken me up until now, to recognise and digest.

There are many more explanations for the way I have felt over the years, I have recognised. My partner has recognized this in me for many years, trying to help me become more organized. He recognised my problems with dyslexia as being within his family. I would go on the defensive, which in turn causes stress and anxiety, while resolved nothing. I had to find out for myself if my thinking was linked to dyslexia.

Understanding myself

My realization all came from research, and it feels great to finally start to understand myself. I'm sure there is some way to go, before I can completely understand myself but at least now, I have something to reflect on. It is important for children to be diagnosed early and get the help they need to understand themselves. As I found out, it is different for us all. I sincerely thank my partner for the patience in putting me on the road to finally understanding myself, I just wish it had not taken me so long.

I’ve only just come to terms with it myself

The one thing I would like the world to know about dyslexia?

Early diagnosis is crucial for a child to understand why they think differently, they need understanding and time to explain themselves. When you feel nobody is listening to you, you feel like nobody cares.