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Living with Dyslexia through school and university and the difference a diagnosis makes.

Today's guest blog is from Michael Sheldon, 31 from Perth in Scotland.  Michael works as a marketing assistant for the prestigious Perth Concert Hall working within the world of performing arts.
Michael Sheldon and Ban Ki-moon
Michael Sheldon and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
In his blog, Michael talks about his education as an un-diagnosed dyslexic student and the difference his diagnosis made despite getting it three months before the end of his time at university.
Michael writes....
I was fairly average at school but never overly confident in my abilities, and somewhat confused by getting in trouble for my as yet undiscovered dyslexia related difficulties all the time.
Despite not getting the grades at School to go to University, I went to College for a year to do an HNC before going to the University of Dundee to Study Politics and American Studies. I really enjoyed my course and graduated with a 2.1.
University was a lot different from school. I had way more time to digest information, lecturers treated me like an adult and they saw the content of your work as being more important than the spelling and grammar. I also got really good at finding the specific information I required for coursework, to save reading loads and loads and learned to recognise topics and subjects I was good at. The downside of this however were subjects like Psychology which I did in 1st year having to be dropped as I struggled with the maths required for it. Had I been getting the support needed, it may have been different.
Despite relative success at University, I still had poor spelling, grammar, short term memory, poor numerical skills, little confidence in public speaking and was slow at reading to name a few. I could never really figure out why. It was not until a conversation with a dyslexic friend, the penny finally dropped and I went and got an assessment. Low and behold, I was dyslexic! That was when I was 22 with 3 months left of my final year.
Making this discovery in a lot of ways was a huge relief. I now had an explanation as to why the difficulties I had at school had persisted and I now knew it was not because I was “Stupid”. However, it's fair to say a great deal of damage to my confidence and self-esteem had been done. Years of being put down by certain teachers, confusion and self doubt had taken a huge toll. In truth, it has only been in the last year or so that I have really started to deal with this aspect and come to terms with it. By building more knowledge on dyslexia and strategies to help, engaging with other dyslexics, and getting counselling I have slowly managed to cast off the frustration and learn to live with it, as I have not always been able to handle it in the world of work.

So if you can take one piece of advice from my story, build as much knowledge as you can, advocate for yourself and most importantly, don’t give up!

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