It took 44 years to find out I had dyslexia, says Notts man Leo Doyle
More than 100,000 people in Notts suffer from dyslexia. Winnie Agbonlahor looks at how they deal with the condition...
LEO Doyle has been having difficulty reading for more than 44 years. Although he came up with his own strategy of dealing with his problems, he never quite knew why he had them.
But when his employer E.on held a dyslexia awareness day last year, he realised, for the first time, what the problem could be.
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"You don't want people to think you're stupid so you keep your problems to yourself and try to deal with it," he said.
After learning about the signs of dyslexia, he went for an assessment day at the Dyslexia Association, based at Sherwood House, in Gregory Boulevard, Forest Fields, where his condition was finally diagnosed.
"After battling quietly for over 44 years with personal educational difficulties and struggles, to finally find the root cause – dyslexia, was truly sobering but also extremely liberating."
Mr Doyle, 50, a gas pipelines engineer, is one of 108,660 people in Notts, who suffer from dyslexia.
"Not being sure what it is and thinking you're just a bit slower than everyone else can give you a real complex.
"Having the condition diagnosed boosted my confidence and also made me accept myself for who I am.
"Dyslexia is a combination of abilities and difficulties that affect the learning process, but perceived inadequacies are minor compared to the advantages dyslexia brings. It's time to change the way we view dyslexia, we need to be proud of who we are."
Functional brain imaging studies have shown that people with dyslexia make more use of the right hemisphere of their brain, which is involved in more creative aspects of thought.
Mr Doyle, a dad-of-three who works in Nottingham and was involved in the building of London's Canary Wharf as well as Harrods store in the capital, said that tuition from the association had helped him learn about various ways to improve his reading.
"Sometimes, it helps to change the font or background, to recognise a word," he said. "I would have never thought of that before."
Dee Caunt, chief executive at the association, said there had been an increase in people seeking support since the county council cut early learning support.
The council said it provides free dyslexia training for schools and provides extra money to support children with special educational needs and disability, including dyslexia.
A guide to being dyslexia friendly has been distributed to all city schools and the council provides dyslexia awareness training and dyslexia staff meetings are carried out on request.