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…