When I was actually diagnosed

When I was actually diagnosed
with dyslexia

they initially said,
"You got everything right."

I said, "Well, I'm not dyslexic, then?"

They were like, "No, you just
did everything extremely slowly."

So my processing speed was just
completely off the bottom of the scale.

And they eventually
just had to stop the timer.

And also the short-term memory.

So it was only the processing speed
and short-term memory that showed up.

it's thought to be a problem

with the language-processing area
of the brain,

so dyslexic people
don't process sounds very well

and that has an impact
on reading and spelling.

But it can also have an impact
on time management, organisation,

planning, a whole range of tasks,

so whilst we've sort of narrowed it down
to this memory or processing difficulty,

we're now talking about something
that is a much bigger syndrome

in terms of its impact on people.

(Dr McLoughlin) It's usually inherited.

We know from twin studies, we know
from other kinds of family studies

and I know from professional experience
that it often runs in families.

I found maths very hard,
especially in primary school.

When I was first learning things

it took me a long time to learn how to
spell and how to work out simple sums,

so I'd always be left behind,

the kids in the year below
would always be ahead of me,

which was always really embarrassing
but I thought, "I can't go any quicker."

It's known
as a specific learning difficulty

and the "specific" means that it affects
certain particular activities.

There's a standard process

that an educational psychologist
would go through

where you start
with measuring general ability,

you look at whether their achievements
in reading, writing, spelling, maths

are inconsistent
with their general level of functioning,

and then you're looking
at factors in the testing

like memory processing skills
that would explain that.

When I was diagnosed
I did get some help.

I mean, one thing specifically was

a keyboard to take with me
into lectures,

and I could type up notes while I was...

I found it a lot easier
to type notes in

because I was a lot quicker at typing
than I was writing by hand.

So that was just one of my strengths,

so they thought if they gave that to me
it would help me.

And also in terms of reading,

I was given some advice about
how to read several words at a time

rather than each individual word

because it was tiring me out doing that
and I couldn't read for very long then.

One of the things I do
with parents in particular

is talk them through what dyslexia is
and tell them what they can expect

and give them simple bits of advice,

like if you want your child to enjoy
reading, get them to read aloud,

short periods at a time,
tell them what the big words are,

don't overcorrect them
otherwise they will hate reading.

I give them simple advice
like expect them to forget

because it's less frustrating
than expecting them to remember.

Reward them for remembering
rather than punish them for forgetting.

As people get older

the self-understanding
becomes increasingly important.

(Daniel) I've got a terrible short-term
memory but a great long-term memory,

so in the kind of
peaks and troughs thing

I'm really good at certain things
and not other things.

But as soon as I realised
that that was a strength,

I realised that if I learned something
very carefully I'd always remember it,

so to take something
like creative writing at degree level

was quite a big challenge in a way.

I think it was slightly easier
after I was diagnosed

because I didn't feel
like I was normal and very slow.

I felt like actually there is
something that is causing it

and thus I knew that I could find ways
to help myself then.

So it was just far more useful
knowing that I had dyslexia

rather than just struggling
and not knowing why.

That's the... That's a really horrible
thing, to just carry on and struggle.

Well, the very reassuring bit

is that provided
children are properly understood

and have the opportunity
to develop the skills

and alternative techniques they need,

there's no reason they shouldn't pursue
whatever they're capable of pursuing.

They just have to do things differently.

Probably the biggest factor
in the long term is the confidence,

and by tuning in to the way
people do things

and letting them know that the way
they do things is valued, not weird,

then they do develop the confidence

and they're able to achieve
what they're capable of achieving.