Raising Awareness of Adult Diagnosed Dyslexia

Guest Blog from Ross Duncan

A researcher and writer for British Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia Scotland, The Red Apple Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia Association of Ireland, Weareumi and Scottish Book Trust I am on a mission to raise dyslexia awareness across the range. With the ability to write with a global appeal about a diverse range of people I am recognised as an ambassador for dyslexia. I hope you enjoy my story.

I was up brought living close by an area of industrial heartland of Scotland better known as Lanarkshire, which was approximately 9 miles away from Glasgow. I was the only son of the youngest of three and grew up in by modern standards very, a very strict traditional Presbyterian Scottish household. But from day one comparisons were already being made of me in how I was slow to develop and to slow grasp even the basics. Where my peers might have did things with a certain level of ease, I however had this continual unsurmountable level of struggle and that was just hard to achieve the most basic things. If I had achieved ‘average’, then this for me was an accomplishment. I felt and was almost made to feel awkward. Seen and not heard!

But according to Alexander Faluday in his book ‘A Little Edge of Darkness’ it tells of a similar story and his own fight from a young age to be recognised, even though severely dyslexic he had an exceptional IQ and later become the youngest undergraduate at the University of Cambridge. But sadly, this was never going to me.

High school for me was in part a waste; I was never going to be an academic or a scholar but grudgingly had still to go through the indignantly of trying to fit in. Eventually approaching my 16th birthday I left school with the expected no qualifications.

It wasn’t until I turned 20 that I eventually managed to find a steady job. I started working in the National Library of Scotland. Even now I pinch myself in how ironic it must have felt at the time for me starting a career working in a major library. By the time I started I wasn’t interested in books let alone ever reading a book and to be surrounded with over 50 miles of book shelving full of books was totally wasted on me. My time there was almost a feeling of lack of inclusion with the rest of my colleagues; this was mainly due to my own lack of shared enthusiasm and lack of interest in books, something that others around me certainly took seriously and something I couldn’t understand why.

Eventually after 10 years I left to seek a new career in a call-centre. The constant high pressure target driven environment was not something I ever did get used to. So, within a matter of months in starting a new career the public indignity and shame came of feeling a failure soon came back to haunt me again. Having now been sacked from the call-centre and then having to walk through a large open plan office knowing that I was being escorted out of the building added to knowing that I was being watched got too much for me.

Ross Duncan

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