Katie-Rose Spence (pictured) is a second year Mental Health Nursing student. She was diagnosed with dyslexia while at Abertay, and has written this blog about her experiences.
All my life I have struggled with spelling and organisation. I never thought the two could be linked. I could never keep my room tidy, be on time for things or remember dates. I had thought growing up that I might be dyslexic but I thought I was something that teachers where supposed to pick up on, but they never did.
Nothing was done until I got to university this year. At the start of the second semester I decided that I needed to find out for sure and after speaking to others in my class it became clear that I could be tested, all I had to do was ask. I made an appointment with disability services and everything happened very quickly, I had an initial assessment in which I was screened for dyslexia and dyspraxia, I then had to wait for an appointment with the educational psychologist, I was told that this could take some time as there was a waiting list but luckily a few days later there was a cancelation and I met with the psychologist at this appointment dyspraxia was ruled out and the report concluded that I did indeed have dyslexia.
Being diagnosed has come as a relief and makes what I thought where just poor personality traits such as disorganisation less poor now that I know they are part of a diagnosis. It is a weight lifted to know that there is a reason for the way I am.
I have found ways of coping myself, for example writing lists and keeping a diary. Now that I have moved away from home I make sure I set aside a day to organise my room and my diary, I double check what events I have in the upcoming week, I know I need to write it in my diary, write it on my monthly planner and put it in my iCloud calendar to get notifications on my phone and laptop, and on the day that I know I have something important I check before I leave the times and where it will be held. Whether it’s a meeting or a lecture I need to prepare myself well in advance.
The most frustrating part of not being diagnosed when I was younger is knowing all the support I have missed out on, no matter how hard I have tried to prepare for exams I never got the grades that I expected. I also know that it’s okay, just because I took longer than others doesn’t mean I failed, I got here, I did it myself and I met some great people along the way.
I now know that I don’t have to be frustrated with myself when things don’t seem to work for me the way they do for everyone else, I need to find my own ways of doing things and now that I have a diagnosis, I can explain that to people and hope that they are understanding. I now look forward to seeing what I can achieve with the right support in place.