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Hello world!

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My name is Jo Rees. I am 36 years old. I live on the Isle of Wight. I have worked in Primary Education for 14 years as a classroom practitioner, SENCO and as a Specialist Dyslexic teacher and Inclusion leader.

I lived, blissfully unaware, with undiagnosed dyslexia until I studied for my Post grad and diploma in Dyslexia when I was 28. Through this training I realised I probably was dyslexic and finally plucked up enough courage to get diagnosed when I was 34.

I know what it is like to live with dyslexia! I know how exhausting it is to stay one step ahead of the game in constant fear of falling behind, knowing if you fall behind you’ll never catch up, how you dread being the one who is given the pen to scribe in a group because you can’t spell and with everyone watching you, you know you won’t even be able to spell the simplest of words. I know how dyslexics battle to stay on top of life, with the organisation, remembering appointment’s remembering what you need from the shop whilst thinking ahead for the next few day. I know how dyslexics battle daily to hide how bad you feel about yourself because you can’t understand or do the simplest of things well, despite giving 110%. I know how no one EVER notices that you give 110% and how much this pains and kills you inside.

I know, through my teaching experience and specialist learning the best ways to identify and teach a dyslexic learner so that they can thrive and achieve their potential, so that they become confident learners and know that anything is possible. The children I have taught have known they could be anything they want to be, reading and writing ability does not define them. Reading and writing is only a small bit of what we need and what we have. Just because a pupil has struggled to learn to read and write does not mean that they cannot be exactly what they wish to be, a doctor, or a policeman, or a business women or a newspaper reporter or a bank manager or politician!

I know what it is like to be the parent of a dyslexic child. I have had, continue to have, the battles with my son over reading every night, completing homework, practising spellings and practising multiplication tables. I know what it is like to watch your child hurt because they feel they are rubbish at everything because they can’t read at the same speed as the rest of their class. I know how much it hurts you as a parent to not be able to control how your child feels about themselves, how your child can’t see the things that are wonderful about them, because all your child can see is what they can’t do, because they have to go to school every day and because at school all that is measured is how well they read and write. I know how much you love the school holidays because you know that the hideous relentless battles about school won’t be there for a few weeks. I know how much you dread the younger sibling making progress because the gap is closing in on your older dyslexic child, I know how this panics you and makes you feel divided and uneasy because I am there everyday too.

I have decided to start a blog sharing my personal experiences and knowledge of Dyslexia because I want to raise the profile of dyslexia. I want to raise the profile because; Dyslexia is so much more than difficulties with reading and writing. There are hidden difficulties and side effects that only a dyslexic would know. Dyslexic’s are intelligent and intuitive people but so often they don’t fulfil their potential because they perceive themselves as stupid or out of their depth. I need to change this. I need to show them that being dyslexic and having average intelligence was enough for me, so it can be enough for them to be whatever they want.

I plan to use my blog to inform parents and teachers of the difficulties we face and how we might cover them up and importantly how you can help us.

I also plan to use my blog to reach out to Dyslexic teenagers and students and undiagnosed dyslexics. I want them to know that they are not alone. I want them to know that there is hope and that life feels hard but with the right support and a pinch of self-belief anything is possible

I feel it is time I broke my silence and shared my experiences in an attempt to help others. You can help me by reading and sharing my blog, and pointing people who you know would benefit from reading it in the blogs direction! You can follow me on twitter. You can give me feedback on my posts and you can make suggestions for future posts.

I look forward to getting to know you all and hope that you will tread this path with me…

Jodyslexicrees

15 thoughts on “Hello world!

  1. Hi Jo
    Thank you so much for starting your blog. I will most definately be following you. After 6 years of battling,my daughter age 11 has finally been diagnosed with dyslexia. The category she falls into is “mild”. Love it that she’s rated like a chicken korma!!!
    She is moving up to high school this year and I have to say she is looking forward to it. However I am petrified. Not that she growing up and moving on, but that she will be left to drift because her dyslexia isn’t obvious and she has managed to do well despite her needs. She achieved level 4 in all of her sats apart from grammer and spelling.
    On the outside she comes across as confident, however I have sat with her sobbing and struggling to get through the little homework she received at primary.
    Any help and advice you can give to help me understand more and support her as best as I can would be fab.
    I look forward to your next instalment.
    Kind regards
    Clare

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    1. Hi Clare.

      I will do my best to help you and your daughter! I believe that there are undiagnosed dyslexics everywhere! Trouble with us dyslexics is we are super bright intelligent people that go to a huge effort to hide how tricky we find life! It is because we are intelligent that we notice that we do not understand and feel stupid and silly asking for help! This makes us vulnerable because the only person we hurt is ourselves!! I really hope that the blog takes off! I have written a book too… I just need a publisher!
      I believe that Dyslexia is a misunderstood difficulty… a buzzword schools and teachers use, ‘oh that child is dyslexic’ but what does it actually mean? Having lived it I know it means a hell of a lot more than difficulties with reading and spelling! It is not teachers and schools fault, they don’t have the knowledge or understanding to change it… well not yet they don’t! they will have though! this is my mission to empower and change the lives of dyslexics by sharing knowledge ideas and experiences that I know work because I have used them or experienced them!!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read and to comment

      Jo X

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    2. Hi Clare, I swear I was reading my own story. I too have a 11 y.o daughter (about to turn 12) and she is entering high school next year. She is “mildly dyslexic” too and is apparently going OK in the classroom but literacy is challenging. She can read but it isn’t something she gets excited about. I too fear for her future and the load that will be placed on her with further education. I support her at home as much as I can but we also have serious meltdowns with homework – I’m not sure what would happen if I didn’t help her. My husband says I should let her do it by herself so the school knows what and how much help she needs and deep down I know he is right but she wants to do the homework and has fantastic ideas on how to do it but can’t seem to execute them – that’s where I step in and guide her a bit. Am I doing the wrong thing? Not sure…..I think that is my job as a parent – to guide and help as much as I can. (I quite enjoy helping her too – I’m learning as well!). My husband is dyslexic but we only recognised this since our daughter was diagnosed. He has gone on to be quite successful but went through school thinking he wasn’t very smart. He’s clearly very smart, as is our daughter but if they were to be judged solely on their ability to read and spell then they’d be thrown in the scrap heap! Anyway, just wanted to say hi! I’m in Australia. Cheers, Kylie

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      1. Hi kylie,

        Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I have been overwhelmed with the response that I have had with my blog. It’s exciting to think it’s reached australia!
        I have written a post on the challenge that is homework… Let me know if you can’t find it. Homework is such a tricky one, especially if they want to do it but find it hard… My advice is just relax… Small chunks and a bit at a time. Make your daughter feel like she is in control of it. Purchase a spell checker to help with spelling. They are about £15 … Not sure what that would be in dollars, but a learner can type in a word and it gives you all thee possibilities! Hope that helps. Read the post about homework and get back to me with questions. Just know I get where you are coming from! It’s a tricky old thing getting the balance right! Jo

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  2. Hi Jo
    Hope the book gets published. Really good to hear from another family in same situation. No help at all from school at the moment but hopefully that will change.
    I agree with Claire – the “mild” diagnosis is unhelpful and frustrating. And school should not be just about writing!!!!!!!
    Holly

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    1. Hi holly,

      Thanks for taking the time to message me and to read my blog. I hope that I help you with my thoughts! I have been overwhelmed with the response from my first post so written another one!

      Jo

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  3. Thanks for shaving Jo! Just read your blog and totally agree! I was diagnosed a few years ago but always knew I was a bit different, I think most people class people that have dyslexia as can’t spell read or write but it’s such a wider range of things! I’ve learnt that if I can’t do something I re-plan it in my head so I can do it…if that makes sense. Basically simplifying everything down, but sometimes the easiest of thing can totally throw me and I get totally confused.

    Keep up with the blogs and would 100% like to be involved 🙂

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  4. Hi

    This is a touching story. My daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia in gr8 she needed to go to a special school and must say she is doing so well. In the journey in learning more about dyslexia I come to notice that myself have it. “Thank goodness for spell check”
    Its a constant battle and most frustrating at times.
    But we are all unique in our own way.

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  5. THank you for sharing. You described how I feel as a parent of 3 ( oldest severely dyslexic). I’m terrified each August waiting for the school year. I will follow your BLOG

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  6. Hi Jo, your blog will be a source of support for those who struggle. Here in the U.S. parents are rallying together and pressing for legislation that would help recognize the needs of our dyslexic students as well as provide them with approaches specific to their needs. As a reading specialist I see that those needs are different from one child to the next. My concern is that our dyslexic students are being jumbled together and generalizations are being made. I hope that each dyslexic student is seen as a unique individual and that they are approached with respect and approaches that will meet their specific needs (yes, there is still a visual component out there that isn’t being addressed for those 1 in 4 dyslexics whose needs lie in that area).
    Best wishes go out to you as you move forward to help those who struggle.

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