This really is a triple layered blog, which demonstrates the power of networks – in this case a dyslexia network.
Ross Duncan writes regularly for Dyslexia Scotland interviewing high profile dyslexics – most recently with Judge Dhir (see below). Ross kindly shares his early experiences of dyslexia that have resulted in a passion to write. His treatment is all too common – his reaction less so.
Guest blog by Ross Duncan: It takes one to know one!
“I vaguely remember reading something about Judge Dhir talking about glass ceilings and how this can act as barrier either for yourself or by others who don’t think you have what it takes to be successful. But Judge Dhir is a good example of someone who as a child was only thought suitable to be a hairdresser, but has crossed many barriers other than being dyslexic to carve a success out of being an established judge.
In my own way, as someone who was subjected to unspeakable ridicule at home and at school, there wasn’t even an exit or open door where I could leave. But forty years on from a statement that was made on parent’s night that I was a ‘dreamer’, my mother would still, up until recently, perpetuate this. But on a home visit, I spoke to an elderly lady, a couple of doors down, where I wistfully said, that I was dyslexic. That elderly lady happened to be the same school teacher who described me as a ‘dreamer’!
But of course, “dyslexia wasn’t heard of at that time”. Everything the teachers says is correct and you didn’t question it. This was the reaction my parents would have most likely have deemed as appropriate at the time.
In my early 40s I discovered that I was indeed dyslexic – I didn’t think I was. My wife in her favour stuck by me and my difficulties and took on extra roles that I couldn’t handle myself. I couldn’t find any support or understanding to help me. It’s OK being a child with dyslexia because there is now a level of support and understanding that wasn’t available when I was growing up. But how do you support someone in their 40s?
My GP prescribed CBT, to my horror my counsellor was herself dyslexic!
So, for nearly ten years I have thrown myself into writing and contributing articles to magazines interviewing famous people with dyslexia to raise awareness and quall the myths about dyslexia. Would you believe it my latest published article is about Judge Dhir!
I may not have been good enough to get to university, but I’m smart enough to know how to talk to people and to engage with people regardless who they are and where they are from. This is something I didn’t a qualification in when I left school, in fact I didn’t get any qualifications when I left school.”
Interview with Judge Dhir by Duncan Ross – first published in Dyslexia Scotland, September 2017.
Ross’ story highlights the damage so often inflicted on dyslexic children which continues well into childhood. All the more reason to celebrate the work of Rod Nicolson’s Positive Dyslexia – Dyslexia Superpower: Building the ultimate dyslexia library.