Dyslexia and creativity

I’m dyslexic. Which ironically is a very hard word to spell.

In my working life I’ve come up against a lot of barriers, not only in self-confidence but unfortunately in prejudice from others. I have to work harder than most to achieve success in a day job where writing is a large part of my role.

It used to be very hard for me to accept that I’d always have certain limitations no matter how hard I worked at particular things. But a couple of years back I decided to change the way I viewed my disability and learned to see the positives of dyslexia.

Creative people have a lot in common. But did you know that one of those things is an increased likelihood of being dyslexic? Those living with the learning difficulty tend find themselves drawn to, sometimes subconsciously, or working in non-linguistic creative professions, as a way to play to their strengths.

I definitely fit into that category. These days it’s very unusual to get past school age ‘undetected’, but I didn’t find out I was dyslexic until I was nearly 22 and about to head into full time work after uni.

I always opted for the more creative or vocational subjects at school, and decided on attending art school to get my degree. Looking back it really made a lot of sense and answered a lot of questions for me. I always worked hard in school and revised for tests, doing well on speaking exams and coursework assignments, but struggling when it came down to exam season.

There’s a lot of stigma surrounding dyslexia, so I never used to talked about it as I had such a fear of losing out on jobs I really wanted or being judged by others. But in the last couple of years I’ve decided to own it. I’ve learned to turn it into an advantage and have a positive outlook – and that’s what essentially led me to floristry.

I was looking for a creative outlet outside of work to help me feel fulfilled. Coming up against daily struggles meant I needed something to focus on that was a positive experience for me. I tried a few different classes and hobbies but it was floristry that really struck a chord with me.

Finding something you’re naturally good at doesn’t come around often for someone like me. I booked on to a flower crown class at Leafy Couture just to give something new a go. I had such a significant sense of achievement, and met so many amazing like-minded people, that it ultimately led me to where I am now.

Fast forward two years and floristry has become a huge part of my life. It’s a world in which I feel challenged and, for the first time, feel naturally talented at something. It’s very unusual for me to say things like that, but the uplift in my confidence has been really good for me and even had an impact on my working life. Those big linguistic mountains (press releases, features, reports – oh my!) now feel like much smaller hurdles.

I couldn’t recommend a creative extra curricular more, especially to others out there living with dyslexia and working in a linguistic profession. Get out there and explore craft-based courses, activities and events, and find the thing that makes you feel confident and fulfilled. A few hours of creativity a week can make such a difference.

If this post inspires just one other person to either change their outlook or find a new hobby that helps them, then I’ll feel like I’ve made a difference. For help and advice on all this dyslexia, please visit the NHS Choices page or British Dyslexia Association.

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