DYSLEXIA IS A FINE WINE – By @eudaimonicr

By Rachael Simoes




When I was around the age of 8 my dad told me I had dyslexia. I was in disbelief till my mother confirmed it the next morning. I cried, of relief and not of sadness, in my room as the news sank in. Suddenly, so many experiences started to make sense. 


Although set differentiation in my school was done by numbers with an unspoken air about their respective intelligence levels, I took it very personally being in the second to top set in maths, and second to last set in English. In year 4, when there were only three sets, I was in the bottom set for English. I felt too smart for my own good, yet not smart enough to be good at spelling.


Having spent most of my secondary school years in Spain, I had bigger worries than just spelling. Exams tested not the application of knowledge, but simply the verbatim memorization of textbooks. I was the raging bull and my chance of qualifications and a future was the wavering red flag. I forgot about my dyslexia because I was failing everything anyway, regardless of spelling, grammatical errors, and misreading information.


When I came back I found myself in a school called Lifeline Institute. Despite its name, it’s a school for newcomers to the UK to adjust to GCSEs, not recovering drug addicts. Having a previous UK education, I did well compared to my classmates. My learning disability blended in well with their language barriers and/or lack of previous education. As for A-Levels, I took a BTEC in media that was assessed only by coursework. In other words, I took a blow off course. I also did English Literature, but as an intellectual, I had already read most of the material prior to and was, again, ahead of my class. I scored highest in the coursework with an A*. Unfortunately, it only accounted for 20% of my grade, and my dyslexia started to shine through again when I achieved straight C’s in the exams and overall grade.


As I decided not to go to university, I thought my dyslexia would only take its toll in emails and applications for various practical courses I applied for this year. But dyslexia in adulthood is proving to be a huge bastard. I discovered I have short term memory issues, an inability to convey ideas, and the attention span of a yoghurt. I discovered this the hard way, like in job interviews I was passionate about.


Apart from all the nervous breakdowns while trying to imply feedback during presentations with no memory of what I had been told 2 minutes prior and nightmares of being fired for inattentiveness despite being highly interested, it was nice to find out the dynamics of my dyslexia as an adult. As I continue to grow as an adult, I see dyslexia not as something holding me back, but instead as a conduit to self-understanding. I get help from a small network of friends to proofread my work, and once employers are aware of my disability they’re more than understanding of it.

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