A dyslexic woman who describes her experiences of school in Cilgerran and Cardigan as “horrendous” has launched a campaign to better the lives of the current generation of school children.
Sarah Chapman’s dyslexia was not picked up until she was an adult. She says she was labelled a “failure” and “stupid” at school and was expelled months before her GCSEs.
“I always end up crying when I talk about my experience of education,” she says. “It was awful. I was always in trouble and removed from lessons. I would do anything to avoid being put on the spot. Whenever I asked for help it was assumed I was being disruptive.”
Sarah, who is now studying for a university degree, works as a volunteer campaign manager with the Dyslexia Association. She launched the Young Dyslexics website earlier this month.
The project encourages young people with dyslexia to make a short presentation to their peers about how dyslexia affects their learning and behaviour, the things they are good at, and the things dyslexic people have contributed to society.
“It’s about changing the attitudes of their peers and is a learning curve for everyone; children, parents, teachers and school governors,” said Sarah.
“The grief that you get from your friends when you are dyslexic is the really difficult thing to handle. No one can call you stupid or say that you are not cool when you look at all the things amazing people who are dyslexic have created, from cars to the iphone.”
Videos of the presentations are put on the Young Dyslexic’s website. The site also has a dyslexia hall of fame and testimonials and has had nearly 2,000 hits in just two weeks.
“I desperately want to improve the experiences of children with dyslexia, there is no reason for them to feel how I felt in school,” said Sarah.
“I would like as many schools as possible to be involved. This could be epic.”
For more information on how to get involved visit www.youngdyslexics.co.uk or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.