This week is Dyslexia awareness week, the theme this year is more than words. The aim of the week is to debunk the myth that dyslexia is just a difficulty with reading and spelling. It's to highlight the other difficulties dyslexic people face such as poor short term memory, maths difficulties, poor organisational skills but also the strengths that it can bring. A lot of people think people are just rubbish at spelling or may take a bit longer to read a book, but a lot of people especially adults me included may have developed some coping mechanisms for those areas and the more prominent issues may lie in things like organisation and memory and time keeping, even some people struggling with sensory issues too. Whilst writing this blog I was supposed to go and have a shower half an hour ago, but to my boyfriend's dismay I'm still here procrastinating writing this blog. You will probably all have a friend or relative who's always late, or you always have to constantly text "where are you?" I know many people like that who maybe don't have dyslexia, but for the dyslexic brain I can only describe it as feeling like your brain in spaghetti or chaos, this can heighten anxiety levels and a lot of people can suffer from panic attacks even in extreme cases as the brain just feels totally overwhelmed by everything, especially under stress or tiredness.
However there are plenty of strategies out there which you can adapt or help a friend or relative who is struggling too. Society often expects everyone to know all of these coping mechanisms and it can sometimes take a lot of courage to say to someone you struggle with organisation or memory, as people can often think it's just "carelessness." One of the strategies I find works for me is writing everything down on post it notes lists such as train times, what I have to do in a day, what I have to buy when shopping and anything key that may be going on. But then there's the issue what if you loose the pieces of paper with the lists on, I always try and have important things such as train times etc or codes stored on my phone so I know touch wood I won't loose my phone and everything will still be there. Another strategy is to get things ready the night before may sound simple I know but the amount of times in the past I've left things till the last minute and been running around like a headless chicken in a state of panic. Or even worse been mid journey and realised I've forgotten something. A few months ago I was on a train to London to visit my boyfriend and I had to get the London connecting train when I realised I'd left my young person's and my oyster card at home and my mum very kindly had to come and get them for me. The main strategy I have though is to laugh about it and see the funny side to it. It always helps to know that you're not on your own. Mollie from The Saturdays is always open about how her dyslexia causes her to be rubbish at time keeping so I always relate to that. If you're a friend, sibling or relative of someone who does struggle with things like that try and be understanding it can be quite frustrating when someone is really late all the time or always forgetting things but you keeping calm can have a knock on effect. If there's a key event coming up such as a holiday or a big train journey maybe help someone out by having key data stored on your phone too and send the odd text to help the person out with remembering different things. Understanding is key.
Yes having a rubbish memory and being disorganised at times can be frustrating and rise anxiety levels but it's so so important not to forget about the strengths you have too, it may be in sport or creativity or you might love art or dance or helping other people. I always think the major strength is being able to think out of the box hence the title of my blog page. You can really see the bigger picture of situations and often people which can be such a huge bonus in all kinds of situations. So many people would love to have the creativity to be able to do that. Never let anything hold you back and never be ashamed or embarrassed about your brain being wired slightly different to everybody else. Difference should be embraced. Hope this blog helps some people and helps people feel that they're not on their own.