Dyslexia - Exploring my experiences and why I still love learning [by Akeem Wangeh]

Oct 02, 2020

Akeem is currently Education and Partnerships Associate at WhiteHat.

Most children learn to read by 6 or 7 years of age. At age six, learning to read for me wasn’t without its trials. At school, Biff and Chip books were reigning, as much as I would enjoy reading about their adventures the feeling of exhaustion was never afar, the fact it took me 30 minutes to read what would take my peers maybe around 10 minutes was quite upsetting.
 
Parents evenings weren’t a thrill either. It became a tradition hearing from my teachers how much potential they thought I had, but if I'd only work a little harder, I would be able to make grades expected of me.
 
At this stage, my teacher advised that extra tuition would help, and there was definitely an improvement, but still, the effort was immense on my side. I just couldn’t understand why I had to put in some much work to meet what was required from me - that’s until my tutor asked whether I had ever been tested for Dyslexia.
 
Dyslexia is a learning difference that primarily affects reading and writing skills. However, it does not only affect these skills. Dyslexia is actually about information processing. Dyslexic people may have difficulty processing and remembering information they see and hear, which can affect learning and the acquisition of literacy skills. Dyslexia can also impact on other areas such as organisational skills. It is important to remember that there are positives to thinking differently. Many dyslexic people show strengths in areas such as reasoning and in visual and creative fields. (British Dyslexia Association)
 
My Initial Diagnostic Assessment was reasonably straightforward; it was organised by my school's special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) who booked me in to be assessed by an educational psychologist. 

The assessment procedure began with a quick questionnaire touching on the state of my general health, followed by an observation of how I approach learning, succeeding this a series of tests ensured examining my; 
 

  • Reading and writing abilities (comprehension) 
  • Logical reasoning 
  • Memory 
  • Organisational skills
  • The speed at which I could process visual and auditory information. 

These tests resulted in a report which confirmed that I was Dyslexic!

So, what is it like to have Dyslexia?

Well, I tend to forget things often and repeatedly get things jumbled up. On occasion, I even have difficulties differentiating between left and right. and this certainly didn’t help whilst learning how to drive. Although this sounds like a lot of negatives, there are many upsides to being Dyslexic. 

I am highly strategic, as I know that on most occasions, I won’t learn as fast as others. I have had to plan, and this has always put me in good stead at work. 

Thinking outside the box, when problems arise, I allow myself to think about bringing information and all the resources at hand together, and without being prideful, I often pick up on areas others might miss. 

With all of this being said, I love learning the process of acquiring new knowledge, and applying it to an unknown situation is so thrilling. It is never easy but definitely thrilling! 

 


 

To learn more about Dyslexia, join me, Dr Louise Karowski (Head of Science at Cognassist), and representatives from across the WhiteHat community at our National Dyslexia Week Lunch & Learn on Tuesday 6th October. 

Thanks for reading. If you think there is someone in your network with Dyslexia or who struggles with reading, please share this post so that they may see it. 

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