The school academic work was hard for me throughout my time in different educational facilities. I struggled with reading and writing, predominantly grammar and spelling difficulties but I was not diagnosed with Dyslexia until I was 16 years old and doing my Highers. Having a late diagnosis came with a mixture of feelings. I was relived to understand why I appeared to find areas around reading and writing so much harder than my peers but I was also annoyed that it had not been identified sooner so that I could get the help to achieve better academically. As I did not know this while going through my early secondary education, the difficulties I had really affected my self-esteem and confidence. Especially around the area of peer marking work and reading out loud in class. As I was undiagnosed there was no adjustments to help me and I recall class mates making fun of spelling errors I made in English class.
However once I had a diagnosis the education system did help me by giving me extra time in exams and the use of a computer. I was then reassessed at the Shetland UHI to see what adjustments they could make for me to do the course there and again more time and a computer was used. However it was not until I went to university that I got a really clear assessment. The Educational Psychologist there worked with me for a while undertaking different tasks and then really spoke through the results and provided me with documentation of this. It was then that I really understood my difficulties and what that meant compared to others as there are so many varying levels of dyslexia. As well as showing the areas of difficulty, this assessment also showed my areas of strength and how verbally I was far better at explaining and showing my level of intelligence that in written format. It was nice to hear what I was good at and not just what I couldn’t do well. The university was fantastic, putting many adjustments in place for me, from getting class information early to read through, having stickers for my assignments stating grammar and spelling should not be included in my mark, to providing equipment such as a printer and laptop as well as a proof reading service to help improve my work. However even with this, I still had to be organised giving myself enough time to get my assignments to the proof reading service and changed before the assignments had to be submitted and I had to work harder than others to read the material and be prepared for class to achieve my qualification. So while having a diagnosis can make things easier to achieve what you want, I found you still have to put in the effort and work hard to get there.
I have worked predominantly in the social care settings. Initially I worked for services such as COPE ltd, Eric Gray Centre and supported living and outreach. Once obtaining my Degree I worked as a Childrens and Families Social Worker for several years before taking on this roles as a Job coach for Project Search, through the Youth and Employability service.
I currently work as a job coach, supporting adults who have elements of additional support needs into employment. A big part of my job is finding and supporting individuals in work placements. As well as helping people understand job searching, application and interview procedures and helping them look into different areas of interest to find the right fit for them as a potential future job. I think the difference now in my job role is that I am working with individuals towards a very specific goal of achieving employment. Although there can be lots of different ways towards this and other areas of their personal lives may need to be supported at times to, the main goal always remains the same and it is interesting and rewarding to be part of those individuals’ journeys. I don’t think I did imagine I would be where I am now, not so much on the job area but in my own self-esteem and confidence. I had a lot of self-doubt and did not think I would achieve the different things I have. To be where I am now, I feel a lot of pride in the hard work I put in but also grateful for the services that helped me to get to this point. I also feel my experience helps me in supporting those I work with as showing that I to had struggles and difficulties to overcome can help people relate to each other better and I hope I can help people see that they can to achieve their goals to.