COLUMNIST: Dyslexic? You are not on your own

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I was diagnosed with dyslexia in 2005.

It explained a lot: like why I still couldn’t tell the time, read a book or spell properly.

And yet, here I am, about to graduate with a Master’s Degree from a world top 100 university.

As my grandad remarked: “You have come a long way since you couldn’t do a jigsaw puzzle.”

In this time, I have had a lot of support, but there have also been countless barriers.

Impatient teachers, university academics remarking that I “can’t be dyslexic” as I appeared “too bright”, and comments from politicians that dyslexia is a middle-class myth, have all made life more difficult that it needed to be. So I did what anyone would do, and did a degree, to learn more about specific learning difficulties (SpLD) and how they can be overcome.

At university, I quickly learned that I was not alone in my experience. Instead, I joined the ten per cent of the population estimated to have an SpLD, many of whom have been faced with challenges and frustrations far greater than mine.

The SpLD Society at the University of Sheffield aims to change this, by challenging the current system, its discourse and underpinning principles. The frustration held by children and adults with SpLDs across the country, is worsened by a crucial lack, both of dialogue and understanding, between students, parents, teachers, researcher and policy makers. Our conference, on the evening of February 11, open to all, is designed to open this dialogue, bringing together the biggest names in the SpLD world to exchange ideas, challenge one another but, most importantly, answer your questions. With a panel including Lord David Blunkett, the controversial Professor Julian Elliot, and Margaret Rooke, author of the best-selling ‘Creative Successful, Dyslexic’, the event is not to be missed. Who knows, we may even get a straight answer!

Tickets can be bought and questions posed from: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sheffield-university-spld-soc-conference-201617-tickets-29464700713