Coffee break interview: What’s it like to be diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult?

Georgina is a Resourcer in our South West & Wales office. She has kindly shared her experience of what it’s like to be diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult. We hope that sharing her story might help if you or someone else you know is currently struggling with the condition.

Coffee break interview:

Georgina has kindly taken the time to share her experience of being diagnosed with dyslexia.

1. How did you find out you were dyslexic?

Throughout my time at school I had always struggled with particular aspects of education, often with spelling and reading speed. When I started secondary school I had a 1:1 SpLD tutor who would spend an hour every week assessing my ability and later provided a pre 16 diagnoses of suspected dyslexia. I was only officially diagnosed with dyslexia at university. This is because of the high costs of going though the assessment on my own (£600).

2. How had it affected your life before you knew about it?

Before I was diagnosed with dyslexia I knew that I struggled with my spelling, and in primary school this was often attributed to me being lazy, because I often couldn’t complete my homework. Although I always completed all of the work in class and usually had perfect verbal understanding, I struggled with a written understanding which impacted on exams from an early age.

If you think you know somebody who might have dyslexia, please ensure you are as patient as possible, everybody learns at different speeds and have different strengths.

3. How did you find the process of being diagnosed?

Although I was happy to be getting the diagnosis I needed, the process is very long and at times, stressful. I firstly went for an hour long meeting about why I thought I had dyslexia, where I had to describe my whole educational experience and specifically what I struggle with. This was followed by a short written assessment where my writing speed, spelling and handwriting were assessed. This honestly felt like I was taking a test and that the “correct” result would be to fail!

I was then referred to an SpLD specialist, who assessed me over three continuous hours. We covered everything from reading ability, writing, problem solving and information retention. It was a relief to finally have the diagnoses and to have the procedure of getting the diagnoses over. A few weeks after the assessment I received my official diagnoses and a breakdown of the information given, in a very lengthy document.

4. How does having dyslexia affect your day to day life?

With the information in the assessment report, I am able to adapt my daily life and ensure I don’t fall behind or struggle. I now understand that with dyslexia, I am able to do anything I set my mind to, I might just take a little longer to retain the information provided. However, I find that with a plan in place this is not an issue as I just ensure that I stay organised and keep everything written down.

5. What advice would you give others who think they, or someone they know might have dyslexia?

I would say to anybody who thinks they may have dyslexia or any other SpLD which is affecting their day to day life to go to a specialist for a pre diagnoses, this will then help you understand the particular SpLD you may have and they can that suggest that you be referred to an assessment centre. If you are still in education, it is worth speaking to you tutor to seek advice as the school, collage or university might be able to pay for the whole assessment.

If you think you know somebody who might have dyslexia, please ensure you are as patient as possible, everybody learns at different speeds and have different strengths.

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