Spot the signs of dyslexia

Melanie Watkins. Dyslexia Week
Melanie Watkins. Dyslexia Week

The British Dyslexia Organisation is this week holding an awareness week about the condition - which affects ten per cent of people in the UK.

But this figure is thought to be an underestimation of the true amount - with many suspected to be living with undiagnosed dyslexia.

Melanie Watkins, 31, who works at the Educational Guidance Service in Greetland, was not diagnosed until she was 26 - despite showing symptoms from an early age.

“At primary school my reports said ‘her writing and spelling are letting her down’. But nothing was really done. I just had to get on with it. But when I got to high school, it was my French teacher who noticed a lot of spelling mistakes and I was spelling things phonetically. I could spell a word three different ways in one sentence.”

He suggested she may have dyslexia but it wasn’t until Melanie started at Huddersfield University she was finally assessed. She said: “My tutors had noticed my work wasn’t as good as it should be. They could tell I did a lot of background reading but I couldn’t formulate the proper answers to questions. I’d miss-read questions a lot - especially under pressure, in exams.”

Melanie was given support at university. She said: “Having extra time in exams was brilliant. Knowing I had more time, so I could read the questions properly.”

Melanie also told her employers she had dyslexia and had a workplace assessment - which has helped her in her role. She said: “Everyone knows that if they ask me to do something, to make sure I’ve a pencil in my hand to write it down. And I have post-it notes everywhere with what I need to do next. My working memory is not particularly great.”

Melanie said schools should be aware of the condition and watch for those who possibly might not be doing as well sa they could. She urged people to tell their employees too. “I’d encourage people who might be scared to admit they have dyslexia, just let them know. There are lots of little things that might help,” she said.