I had one particular teacher who treated me differently, unfortunately I let her inability to understand dyslexia make me feel bad about it and that is my biggest memory of primary school
Even though lots of good things happened as well.
I’m sure you have all had an experience like that too
I have parents that wanted to see me do well and understood I was intelligent, I just struggled to use conventional tools like reading and writing to communicate.
When I was diagnosed as a child it was so my parents could understand and help me learn.
My mother was great she tried lots of different things to help me learn. Not all of them worked but there are 2 things that I do know worked.
What to do for work?
I worked for a number of years then and found my passion – Mana Island
Then I got to a point I couldn’t progress my career without further education
I had a bit of crisis – lived on an island with one other person, wasn’t very healthy…..frustrated by work
How I helped myself.
I decided I needed to change things in my life if I wanted things to change.
The first place I started was with me, I had to change how I thought about me
But what I learnt was something else
"What I noticed what that all diagnoses focus on the negative autism, ADHD
How they are not ‘normal’
But there are a lot of strengths with all of these" – Temple Grandin
I have an awesome brain!
My brain isn’t broken, dumb or doesn’t work. It just works differently
Works differently from what? – everyone’s brain works differently
We are lucky, our ‘thing’ has a name and people understand how our brains work
What I did
I own my dyslexia – it doesn’t own me
I think of it now as my super power
Like all super powers they take a bit to master, but they are powerful
In the workplace
When I go for a new job and they ask me is there anything else they should know about me I say yes, I am dyslexia and these are the benefits to you
But my colleague needs help with computer stuff so we all have things we need help with
I currently work in a job I would struggle to do without dyslexia, it gives me an advantage.
My job involves
Here are a few skills I have picked up along the way
What I now know
Communication in the workplace and with partners.
· Identify verbal communication differences
· Increase awareness of personal triggers affecting verbal communication
· Develop tools to improve communication.
· A part of the definition for dyslexia is that verbal communication is harder
eg Head is very busy processing information, lots of facts and maybe pictures and not able to join them up and get a messy picture in the head and may feel ‘stupid’
· Need the ‘big picture’ or end result
· Connecting information may take longer
· If the ‘big picture’ is not given first it will be hard or impossible to connect the facts
· Verbal overload. eg given three instruction one after the other and processing first one and don’t hear rest. Tell child clean your teeth, put your shoes on, get your lunch box.
· Fear of getting it wrong (hang over from school) may cause the brain to go ‘off line’
· If the speaker uses too many words, processing the information is too hard
· Need to get info in bullet points
· Your brain works faster than the person you are talking to and you get ahead of them
1. When the information is processed more creative, ‘outside the box’ solutions are developed
2. Often fast processing leads to quicker solutions
3. At the leading edge of problem solving
Body Language and increased sensitivity to others
Very sensitive to body language eg
· Facial expression
· A change in body movement
· Silent instead of talkative
· Tone of voice
1. Usually able to know fairly quickly if another person is ok.
2. Mostly able to connect well with children
3. Able to suss out a work/social situation
Body Language and Increased Sensitivity to others problems
· Leads to taking others reactions personally and going into ‘go to’ coping
· Reacting when you are not the problem – everyone has this however if low self esteem is more pronounced the more heightened the awareness eg.
1. The boss is under stress and a bit abrupt and we immediately think it is something we have done or said.
2. Our partner is quieter than usual and we automatically think we are the problem
‘Go to’ coping reactions when feeling wrong/blamed or criticized
· Normal and necessary and everyone has them.
· The more negative feedback the worse you feel and the more the ‘go to’ coping skills are needed
· Go to ‘coping reactions’ when feeling wrong blamed or criticized
· Normal and necessary, everyone has them
· Survival, needed when young
· When young the more you get bad feedback the more we need ‘go to’ ways of coping
· Negative feedback leads to
low self esteem and lack of confidence
being more likely to dwell on negative feedback
feeling more defensive and using ‘go to’ coping ways.
Reactions to ‘go to’ coping ways kicking in
· Physically feel sick, sore head, brain off line
· ‘Armour’ on to protect self
Ideas for helping with communication
Purpose: to become more aware of the connection between the bodily reactions and what is happening in the brain
· Identify when brain ‘off line’ and use strategies to get back ‘on line’ such as things that take us away from panic/anxiety/worry and put us in the thinking part of the brain
· Have a simple saying eg ‘zip my lips’ (gives time to think)
· Ask the person a question (this has two benefits, makes the questioner feel good and gives us time to think)
· In head count to 5 – 10
· In head count objects you are able to see in the room
· In head name objects
· Belly breathing
What will help me remember to use these strategies
· Find one trigger that would remind me to use strategy. E.g. feel sick, may be fast breathing, holding breathe, not able to think, scared, frustrated, angry.
Jo Brand’s history
Every Person with a disability has the same value as any other person & will contribute positively in the workplace
Workbridge provides a Free service to Job Seekers and Employers.
Funded and held accountable by the Ministry of Social Development
Not a government organisation.
Job Seeker must meet these criteria
Support for job seekers
How to connect with Workbridge
Visit us at anytime at 48 Kelvin Street, Invercargill
Call us on 0508858858,
email firstname.lastname@example.org or
Come to a group “Welcome session” on Monday afternoons, or
Make an appointment to meet one on one
Presenter: Chris Cole, Learning Differences Advisor and a person with dyslexia.
Topic: The holistic impact of dyslexia
Overview of talk:
· Definition of dyslexia and impact on learning
· The emotional impact of living with dyslexia
· What happens when you get anxious
· Steps to manage the anxiety
Notes from presentation
Dyslexia is defined as
· Having normal to above normal intelligence
· Difficulty learning to read, write and spell
· Difficulty with hearing the sounds that make up words (phonological awareness)
· Difficulty with short term memory
· Difficulty with sequencing information
· Is a learning difference
· This learning difference has strengths
Short term memory problems can be
· Not able to retain information while copying
· Not able to retain instructions – especially verbal ones
· When reading, not able to remember the information from the start of a sentence by the time you read the end of the sentence.
Sequencing problems can be
· How to write emails in a logical way that flows and makes sense
· Knowing the days of the week, months of the year
· Knowing the steps in an order to complete calculations in maths
· How to express ideas, especially when you have to write them down, in a logical order.
Learning difference strengths
· Able to see the big picture, the end result before starting something
· Really good ability to connect information to get a different solution
· Visual based learner
· An ability to know how others feel
· These strengths are important in the workplace
The emotional impact of living with dyslexia
· 80% of a learning difficulty is learning stress.
· Learning stress is the low self esteem and heightened anxiety resulting from having a difficulty with learning
· The learning difficulty comes when the environment does not understand and work with the person who has a learning difference, eg schools, workplaces.
What happens when you get anxious
· Chris presented a picture showing what happens when a person gets anxious
· It’s a normal reaction and everyone gets anxious
· It happens more for people with dyslexia around their learning
· It comes from being worried and scared that you will look dumb or get it wrong
· The end result is the brain goes “offline” when they become very anxious
· The brain goes offline when the chemical cortisol floods the brain and the person is not capable of rational thought until the chemical goes away.
Triggers that can make your brain go offline when you are dyslexic
· Seeing a page of writing
· Having to do something quickly
· Too may verbal instructions at once
· A person speaking with a grumpy sounding or impatient sounding voice
· Having to write an email
· Not knowing how to spell a word
Strategies to get the brain back on line
· Important to get your brain back “on line”
· You learn and work better and show what you know better when your brain is “on line”
· Tummy breathing helps
· Thinking or talking about your brain going offline
Steps to manage the anxiety
· Identify the triggers that make your brain go offline
· Recognise that this is your brain telling you that you find this task difficult
· Aim to get your brain back on line
· Apply above strategies
The purpose of the group
· To provide a supportive environment
· Meeting others like you
· To understand dyslexia and the impact it can have at work and at home
· Listen to speakers on relevant topics
The format of the evening is
· Admin requirements
· Any up to date news and events of interest
· Speaker for the night
· Questions with the speaker
· Cuppa and a chance to chat with others
About this page
Here you'll find the notes from the presentations at our Adult Dyslexia Support Group. To learn more about the group, click here.