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Wilfred opens up about his learning difficulties

Hello Everyone,

I am dyslexic and proud of it – but it has taken me the best part of 60 years to get to that point.  I have learned that dyslexia is a gift – a special way of thinking – and the more people can understand it and support those with dyslexia, the more we will gain as a society.

When I heard about “Made by Dyslexia” I wanted to give my support.  Made by Dyslexia believe in the game-changing power of dyslexic thinking and so do I.  (You can check out their website here, it’s worth a visit).

But first I wanted to tell you a little bit about my life with dyslexia.

To be completely honest, when I was at school, it was an absolute nightmare! I can’t think of any other way to describe just how traumatic the whole thing was. From the beginning, I knew that I wasn’t like my friends or classmates, and they also knew I was different. And, in the brutal jungle of childhood, the moment other children know you are different you’re done for! The way I coped with it was, of course, to be difficult and play-up – and that meant I spent most of my time outside of the headmaster’s office. In a sense, I found that better than being stuck in the humiliating situation of the classroom, where not even my teachers understood my dyslexia. The fact I couldn’t do the basics was always put down to having an attitude problem or being ill-disciplined.

To this day, I have no qualifications to my name, and I still need people to read or rewrite my emails as I continue to make mistakes I’m embarrassed by. I can read something 50 times before someone points out an error that I just can’t see. If I had to start online dating, with all the messaging required, I wouldn’t stand a chance! Many people with dyslexia lose their confidence but I’ve never had a problem with that. For me, my confidence came through my creativity: I spent a lot of time with the BBC, I travelled the world making food programmes, and I felt untouchable. I found that ‘one thing’ that I could do well. So, what I always say to people with dyslexic children is that they shouldn’t waste all of their time trying to get them to read and write, but rather invest in the talent they do have – that ‘one thing’ they could own.

To this day, I have no qualifications to my name, and I still need people to read or rewrite my emails as I continue to make mistakes I’m embarrassed by. I can read something 50 times before someone points out an error that I just can’t see. If I had to start online dating, with all the messaging required, I wouldn’t stand a chance! Many people with dyslexia lose their confidence but I’ve never had a problem with that. For me, my confidence came through my creativity: I spent a lot of time with the BBC, I travelled the world making food programmes, and I felt untouchable. I found that ‘one thing’ that I could do well. So, what I always say to people with dyslexic children is that they shouldn’t waste all of their time trying to get them to read and write, but rather invest in the talent they do have – that ‘one thing’ they could own.

Now that I’m in my 60s, I have a keen understanding of what dyslexia is, but when I was really suffering, I thought I was the most stupid person there was! But, as I look back at my life, and see all the things that I’ve achieved, I would never have been able to accomplish those things if I wasn’t dyslexic. It’s given me the ability to think outside of the box, to challenge the way that normal things happen, and I consider it a great gift.

Do you want to share your story about living with dyslexia? If so, I’d love to hear from you, so do get in touch.

If you would like to join me in supporting the great work that Made by Dyslexia is doing, follow this link: https://www.justgiving.com/madebydyslexia