My Dyslexia Diagnosis - Aimhigher West Midlands

My Dyslexia Diagnosis

Aimhigher Plus Assistant, Mickie, tells us how being diagnosed with dyslexia at university made things make sense

I struggled with spelling, grammar, and speech from a young age, I became more embarrassed about it as I got older. I felt like an idiot, and this massively impacted my education. I was put into SEN classes for a while, I would avoid reading aloud at all costs, often getting into trouble for it. There were times when I wouldn’t hand in my homework because I didn’t want anyone to see it, I was labelled naughty and lazy. Looking back, all of this pointed towards dyslexia, but I wouldn’t get diagnosed until I started University.

I had heard of dyslexia before I entered higher education, and even recognised that I had many symptoms associated with the condition, but I’d always thought that if I had it, I would have been diagnosed by now, right? During Fresher’s week we visited the Student Support Centre where we were informed they offered dyslexia assessments. I decided to book one, and immediately after I started to feel that familiar sense of embarrassment. If it wasn’t dyslexia then what was it? Am I just as stupid as I always feared, or is dyslexia the reason I find words like necessarily or guarantee impossible to spell correctly? Turns out it was! It also explained other things that I struggle with, like time management. People always laugh when I say I take at least an hour in the shower, but I really can’t help it! Because of my issues with working memory and time perception, I end up forgetting what I’ve done so I repeat things, you know, just in case!

Once I’d been diagnosed, I flourished academically: I started getting grades that I never imagined I’d be able to achieve, all thanks to the various support I received. I was provided with equipment and 1:1 support to help me overcome the issues associated with dyslexia. I was given extra time in exams, and a sticker I could attach to my assignments to let lecturers know that any spelling or grammatical errors were due to my learning difficulty.

I still struggle because of dyslexia, this article has actually been checked by a few of my colleagues because spelling and grammar will always be an issue for me (yes, even with spell-check and autocorrect!). I still mix up words when talking and tasks may take a little longer for me to complete. So getting diagnosed with dyslexia didn’t change my life, but it did make it make sense. I know I’m not lazy or stupid, my brain just works differently, and that’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

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