If you follow my blog, you may be aware that I have Spastic Right-Hemiplegia (A type of Cerebral Palsy) which I was diagnosed with from birth. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with anxiety. Last month, I got a new diagnosis of Dyslexia.
Cerebral Palsy is second nature to me. I have had that label since before I could understand the labels we put everyone in. I’ve fully embraced it. It is apart of who I am and always has been.
My anxiety diagnosis was a breakthrough for me. I was having anxiety attacks without realising what they were, and I had them from such a young age. However, they got worse, changing topics and symptoms. So whenever I went to the doctors, they were perplexed, had no idea what it was and didn’t really see it as an issue.
Then one day in 2016, I did some research and realised my symptoms were common with anxiety. So I went to the doctors and rather than tell them my symptoms first, I told them that I think I have anxiety and explained my symptoms. That was the only way I got diagnosed.
So for me, the anxiety diagnosis was a welcome. It told me why I kept dry heaving, when I saw an insect or if I was stressed about my university work.
However, dyslexia is a diagnosis that I am surprised to have.
University Awareness of Dyslexia and Dyspraxia
My dyslexia diagnosis came due to the university building awareness of hidden conditions and encouraging students to use their QuickScan software. I just used the software out of curiosity. Didn’t expect anything to come up. But I also figured that if it did show up and I was diagnosed, then it is something else to send to PIP.
The software asks you a series of questions which determines the plausibility of dyslexia and dyspraxia. It stated I showed signs for both conditions and recommended a full test. I had to pay £50, but that is a lot cheaper if I didn’t go through the university
At the full assessment, I told the psychologist about Cerebral Palsy. She told me that it will be difficult to test me for dyspraxia due to this as they have similar symptoms. So, I think we just did the dyslexia test.
As you would imagine, this featured tests on my reading, spelling and word knowledge. However, it looked at my maths ability, short-term memory, problem-solving and ability to complete puzzles too.
I failed miserably at the memory and sequence recall. Especially the one where I had to recall the numbers but in reverse order! I was good at the block puzzle but my processing of information speed is slow… I’m not sure which test that was.
I have no idea how some of the tests relate to dyslexia but memory is apparently apart of it.
After the assessment, I began looking up symptoms of dyslexia and started noticing that I have some of the symptoms. These include:
- putting capitals in random places,
- mispronunciation of unfamiliar words,
- poor recall of conversations
- not able to remember verbal instructions/directions
- Learns best through hands-on experience
- clarity in written work
Along with the other symptoms commonly associated with dyslexia, such as spelling.
After looking at the symptoms and getting the diagnosis, I wondered how my secondary school missed it. But then they were a terrible school. I was entitled to a laptop but they didn’t let me use it except for exams. So they should have picked it up easier than my college and university. They even tested my reading age in my final year of secondary school, marking me with a reading age of a 10 to 11-year-old. I’m sure they believed it was my Cerebral Palsy that affected my spelling and reading (and grammar).
I was just told to read more (and I love reading). But then I’m also not surprised that they didn’t pick it up—or that they cared. The school wasn’t great and is now closed due to poor performance. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great teachers but they were few.
My college allowed me to write on a laptop 100% of the time, as does my university. With spellchecker and the ability to attend Writers Workshops, my dyslexia was hidden.
What does it mean now?
To be honest, I have absolutely the foggiest what this means now. I never knew I had it before, I’m nearing the end of university. The only thing I can say is that I now have my specialist mentor and a 1-2-1 mentor who helps me with my work. So double the support.
I’m more aware of my mistakes and I understand why I make them now. The capitals in random places during my proof-reads was something I always got frustrated with, especially as I couldn’t explain the capitalisation.
I’m not 100% sure how Dyslexia affects me as a whole yet. I understand the basic lines, I guess and I don’t know how to feel about it. I mean, to me it’s not as big as my Cerebral Palsy or anxiety but at the same time, I want to learn more about it. Know how it behaves, what makes it worse. What little things it might slip pst me.
If anything, I’m just interested. However, if you see a quick-scan test at your university, take it. You never know.
Before you go
Today is my Birthday, so I will (and probably am) be in Oxford. Dad and I go to Oxford every year for the Literary Festival. Usually, we see authors like Malorie Blackman, Phillip Reeve, Simon Mayo and Phillip Reeve but there was no one who took our fancy this year so we are going to a Writers Workshop instead which discusses world building. I’m looking forward to it.
I’ll keep you all informed later this week.