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What is having dyslexia like? Mel B shares her experiences.

What a wonderful interview with Mel B about her diagnosis of dyslexia at 42 and what that meant to her.

I remember watching X-Factor once when former Spice Girl, Mel B, was a judge and I remember her being a little like how Simon Cowell was when he first started the series i.e blunt, straight to the point, a little bit scary to contestants.  She even got the nickname 'Scary Spice' when she was in the all-girl supergroup that achieved many hits in the UK and abroad.

The reality is that as Melanie Brown grew up through education, she thought that she was 'dumb' (her words) and didn't realise that she had a brain that processed information differently to many of her peers. 
Last year at the age of 42, she found out that all her challenges with reading and processing information was as a result of having dyslexia and not because she was dumb.  In fact, intelligence and dyslexia are not linked.  You could be really stupid or you could be a genius, either way, you may still have dyslexia if you are one of the 10 % of the population estimated to have the condition.

In an interview on ITV's Loose Women, Mel was promoting her new book, Brutally Honest, (which is an audiobook that is available for pre-order on Audible) and the discussion started to focus on Mel B's comment about being diagnosed with dyslexia at 42.  She talked about what it was like to have the condition and how it presents for her and what she is doing to put strategies in place to cope with having dyslexia.

One really important point that was made is that each person who has dyslexia will be different to someone else who has dyslexia.  The way it presents for everyone is different.  The presenters then made the connection with what school children with dyslexia must experience and how all children think differently in an education system that perhaps doesn't allow for different thinkers, especially if a child has dyslexia.

As someone who has a strong interest in using technology to help students with dyslexia study more effectively, I am very aware of how secondary schools, generally, are not taking advantage of the different tools available to support study skills for students with dyslexia and other special educational needs.  Giving a student a different way to work with, process, listen to and engage with educational topics is essential to successful outcomes and sadly this diversity is not encouraged to the full in most mainstream schools.

What made me chuckle about the interview with Mel was how she said that she was naturally drawn to more creative activities now and when she was at school.  It has been said many times that this is very much a strength of someone with dyslexia.

I am very grateful for Mel in being so blunt and open about her experiences with dyslexia.  It resonated hugely with me and I hope that what she said will for you.

Click here to see the interview on the ITV Hub.

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