Within the dyslexia world there is still the debate regarding the severity of someone’s dyslexia. Of course, based on specialists and Educational Psychologist reports we can see peoples reading and spelling ages and their percentiles which gives a good indication of how severe a person's dyslexia is.
As a dyslexic adult, I classify myself as a severely dyslexic adult, to put this into concept, I’m 33 years old with a reading age of a nine-year old and spelling age an eight-year old, I'd also like to let you know that I’m a high functioning dyslexic which probably means that I understand my difficulties and thrive on my strengths.
We should remember that dyslexics are great at problem-solving, thinking outside the box and many have entrepreneurial skills.
So, what's it really like to be severely dyslexic?
Let’s think about reading.
The English language has 26 letters in and 44 sounds. When you're reading this blog, look around you there’s words everywhere! Think when you walk into a supermarket there’s words, letters and symbols all around you. Reading has to be taught but if your brain can’t learn what you do? Over learning is one of the key skills that specialist teachers do with you when you have been taught using multisensory techniques they include sound, movement, visual and touch and can really make a difference to a dyslexic's life.
The me as a severely dyslexic person means I don’t automatically read, I don’t see a word straight away, so I have to think and act to tell myself to read. Whilst I was dictating this blog on my desk were some photo envelopes that were delivered to me some weeks ago and they’ve got words written on, they’ve been on my desk for 4-5 weeks. It is only now that I’m reading the words that are written on thank you, track, Merci and there are a few more as well. By putting this into context the problem I have with reading is that I don’t have any automatic reading ability even though my reading age is very low I can read but once I've read something I then have the problem of remembering what I'd just read, it puts an enormous amount of strain on your mind and body.
A lot of dyslexics are under stress all time, the emotional well-being of being dyslexic can be very difficult, we must give ourselves time and have to really understand the difficulties. The advances in technology really support severe dyslexics and with many products in the marketplace that can read out loud and read to us is fantastic. Accessibility is becoming more and more apparent and I hope in my lifetime that we will get to a point where I won’t need to ask for something to be read to me it will be read for me either via technology or as an automatic concept. Just have a look next time you go to use a cash machine look for the headphone jack.
Even though my dyslexia is stressful and sometimes painful and very emotional but then I you look at the positive sides of what I’ve achieved in the past, I've worked for a National Charity, set up two companies and am working for large international companies as well as giving back to the dyslexia community. We can all succeed we can all have success even with dyslexia.