I was diagnosed with Scotopic Sensitivity and dyslexia at age 10 and didn’t really understand it. I remember once being told the easy way to understand it was sometimes my brain works faster than my hands or mouth so sometimes, I wouldn’t be able to verbalise what I wanted to say as my words get muddled. I would also often skip words or letters when writing or taking notes.
I struggled throughout my education with note taking because of my difficulties with spelling and visual scanning (looking from the board to paper). In many cases, I often found myself not being able to keep up and getting lost, but then I would get caught daydreaming so often I was thought to be not putting in enough effort, when in fact I did it because I had no clue what I was supposed to be doing. Wanting to fit in amongst my peers I would often look to them to find out what I was supposed doing, however I found that when I was allowed to follow along with the session in a book, I could add colour and my own doodles to I could create notes that later I would understand and could spend more time on focusing on the teacher. I was finally able to participate in classes, reducing my anxiety and developing a skill that helped me to learn better.
Unfortunately, this came a little late for me meaning I failed all but one of my GCSE’s I left my secondary education with only a Grade B in Drama to hand. I took the decision to retake my GCSE’s along with studying Health and Social Care, wanting to believe I could be better..I Also started voluntary work in various care settings to build on my experiences. I worked to secure pass grades in my GCSE’s along with Distinction grades in Health Social Care level 2 & 3.
My work Career is where matters became more difficult for me as I didn’t want to tell my colleagues/Employers of my difficulties as I didn’t want them to judge me because there are so many misconceptions still with being dyslexic. I had seen it before Whenever I’ve mentioned it to an employer, I’ve seen their face fall. As soon as you say the word, they think they’ve been lumbered with someone who can’t read, or spell. In truth, I’m perfectly capable of both if I have the right support. Over the years I have found ways of coping but that support is still essential because of the way my brain works, I would find it increasingly difficult to type or input data whilst other conversations are going on around me as I began to type what I am hearing and not what am thinking.
Despite past failed employment Care4all is where it all changed for me. I started August 2017 and straight away felt the support network around me and finally, I could be honest about my difficulties. It’s a really good situation to be in not having to hide I was open about where my problems were and Care4all laid out the support. Shortly after my employment started, I secured the position of Team mentor, up until recently where I secured the position of Scheme Coordinator. I now have a company laptop setup with a bunch of assisted technology software from Dragon Professional to Read 7 Write Gold in order to best support me in my employment. Care4all is now a big part of my life, for once I enjoy my job and feel supported. What other employer would offer to print everything on blue paper if it made day to day tasks easier? Working in supported living for me is ideal. I get to support people to change their lives the way Care4all has changed mine.
Don’t get me wrong I still have my struggles on a day to day with tasks that may be simple to others, but the support network makes all the difference. I now face life head on and put my heart and soul into everything I do, for once I have control of what I can achieve and have stopped focusing on what I might not or will struggle to achieve..everything is in my reach with a little work. I think the support and reflection was the game changer for me …accepting yes I will always struggle to read and understand paper formed documents ..yes at times I will stumble with my words …and yes i will get anxious about things that will seem like nothing to others..but this is me.
Care4all has built me to have the self-belief I needed and I now realise what I have in the shape of 14+ years of working in care, a Degree, level 3 HSC soon to be level 5 with a bit more work! , A bunch of other training but most importantly I have a good team around me and as the saying goes any manager is only as good as the team that follows.
I currently coordinate 3 supported living services supporting 5 people and look after in the excess of 20 staff, but life’s good and I love it!!