Not many people know that I struggled to get through English at school with the help of a tutor. Then I chose mathematics, avoiding essay based subjects at university. I was not actually diagnosed until adulthood, due to high grades in other subjects, masking my disability. As part of Dyslexia Awareness Week I thought I should reflect on how this disability has impacted on my choices in life. As an aspiring author and illustrator of children’s fiction, it can be risky and require an ounce of courage to admit, what some people might mistake as a weakness or failing, but I see as a strength and challenge.
While it may have lengthened the process, making it more challenging to write stories, I learned through studying psychology, that it may also be responsible for fueling my creativity. My diagnosis of dyslexia has helped me gain access to support enabling me to pursue academic qualifications with a strong dose of perseverance.
Initially, I lacked a lot of confidence in my writing ability but have been encouraged by attending a local group called Riverside Writers where at the beginning I used to enjoy listening to the stories of others but was too nervous to share my own work. This group has helped me develop my skills in this area and over the course of three years. With the help and support from my friends, family, fellow aspiring authors, several librarians, an academic tutor and a professional editor, I would not be where I am today. I am delighted with this outcome, being on the brink of publishing my first novel and enjoying the process of writing it more than anything else I have achieved.
I therefore created and identify with Reuben, the dyslexic fairy in my story, who muddles his spells. See the illustration above. I am keen to help dyslexic children in school to realise their full potential. It does not need to hold you back in life.