suzefricker@mylifeaccordingtome.org Available all the time, just send me an email and I will get back to you.

To, too, two be or not to, too, two be

Wondering whether you have clocked on to what this article is going to be about by the title, please let me know if you did.

I am dyslexic. This is something I struggled with prior to diagnosis to the point that I needed a lot of support to get me to a standard where I could even get A levels. To give you an idea. When I chose my A levels I had only been diagnosed for a year and had already had to redo my GCSEs once. One of the courses I chose was Sociology which was a brave move as this subject meant LOTS of essay writing.

I don’t know if you know but sociology exams (the essay part) are graded out of 20. When I started the course my homework essays were getting 3s,2s or 1s out of 20. On one fateful day, I had really struggled and I got a 0 out of 20. My world seemed very dark when I got that assignment back. I thought, “you know what I shouldn’t be here. I am dyslexic what made me think that I could do this, I just can’t do it, I’m so dumb”.

But, I got help. This help came in the form of my teacher who knew I was trying so hard but just could not seem to improve. So, he offered me a solution. Every time I got a bad grade on my homework, we would go through it during a free period that we both had at the same time and he would show me where I went wrong. He would then give me a 2nd opportunity to rewrite the assignment. This was not to change my grade but to make sure that I had an opportunity to stick what I needed to learn in my head.

Slowly I started seeing my grades go up. I went from 1s, 2s, and 3s, to 16s, 17s and 18s out of 20. This gave me so much of a boost that when I went to sit my exams I was able to sit them with confidence I had never had in any exams previously. My end result was a in Sociology. I could not believe it. I was so happy I went and thanked my teacher for my result.

Learning disabilities don’t mean that you can’t do something. It means that you need to find a way to deal with it and work around it to get the best out of yourself. Some suggestions for you to do:

  1. Dragon Software (or any other speech to text software)
  2. Read and Write Gold (or something Similar)
  3. Spider Diagrammes for things you need to learn so that you have a visual map of what is needed.

Don’t give in to the Imposter Syndrome. I ask anyone out there with a learning disability to challenge yourself to find ways to make things easier for you. I did it and I can honestly say at the age of 16 when I was diagnosed I couldn’t even imagine getting my GCSEs let alone a B & 2 Cs in A levels. You are not alone, ask for help.

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You never know….

You never know how run down you have gotten until you actually stop and take some time for yourself. This is something that I have learnt the hard way. I was soo low before I went on holiday. Even with some of the people who I was penpalling with all I could write about was my up coming trip. This is not a good sign for anyone. When you are that run down you have pushed your body to beyond the limits you should have… It doesn’t help with your mental health or your physical health.

You must always remember that you are important and no matter how much good you do for others, you will never be able to continue if you run out of energy or steam.

For people with disabilities, we all know that we have the added pressures of managing our disabilities as well as everything else that we do and so it is important to know what your limits are. If you want to try and push beyond the limits to do it in a way that you are not going to hurt yourself.

I emplore everyone to make sure that they make time for themselves as often as they can. You do not need to be left in a position where you are unable to continue. Look after yourself and then you will be able to look after others x