Skip to main content

Rich shares his dyslexia story and advice to the others

Monday 14 June 2021

Rich shares his dyslexia story, his high and lows, and through experience offers his advice to our dyslexia community.

“Dyslexia is truly a gift. Whilst there are aspects of life I may struggle to grasp or complete, there are other areas I can excel to a level others can only dream of.”

I’ve had numerous dyslexia assessments, each demonstrating a processing deficit amongst other things. My parents picked up on my dyslexia from a very young age when I would write in mirror image. As I started school it was apparent this issue wasn't just a minor learning bump, but a significant learning disability that would need to be supported.

Dyslexia is the only way I know life. It's hard to comprehend a way of thinking any other way. A positive I have taken is learning how dyslexia offers advantages to make my work and life more successful. Understanding my downfalls allows me to place support mechanisms in place to overcome these. Working in fields where I know I can thrive has been a huge impact.

Getting the right support makes all the difference

Throughout school I received a lot of tuition. I never felt it really helped me, and I don't feel the teachers really 'get' dyslexia (at least then). However, now I am undergoing a PhD and have been very open about having dyslexia, and the support from my supervisory team has been fantastic. They understand that feedback may need to be different for me if I don't understand things the first time. They also offer me workshops to try and help. It's been overwhelming how patient and helpful they have been with me, and it's also felt personal, not generic.

Find an environment where you can thrive!

Having struggled with school, I didn’t achieve high grades at GCSE, and really felt demotivated. I went to college and wasted another 2 years failing an art course. I still to this day don't understand why, or what was expected of me, I did lots of art yet they told me they wouldn't submit the work. As an adult reflecting on this, it is a gross failure of the college for not explaining things fully. I digress... I later found myself enjoying the field of health and fitness and wanted to pursue working with athletes within sports science. With apprehensions, I went back to uni to study sports science, and thrived within the environment. I then completed a Masters, and I am now in my final year of a PhD. I have since worked at international level within professional sport, and currently work within professional football. A hope to go on and compete a Post Doc and long-term go into lecturing.

My advice for someone who has recently been diagnosed with dyslexia:

I also felt that I was the same as anyone else, and that the optional assistance offered to me wasn’t needed. I didn't understand why I would need more time in exams, or later in life why I should disclose this in jobs (I felt like this might give me an disadvantage, whereas I wanted to prove my worth against everyone else fairly). However, you need to give yourself the best opportunities to succeed. Take the extra time, you will write slower than others and this is why you need that time. State dyslexia within jobs, it's important that employers are aware as there might be areas of work that will be tough as a dyslexic.

Dyslexia is truly a gift. Whilst there are aspects of life I may struggle to grasp or complete, there are other areas I can excel to a level others can only dream of. When you know how to work your gift, you become unstoppable. If you know a dyslexic person, learn what makes them tick, and you will open up doors to rooms you never even knew existed.