South Asian and Dyslexic - Hena's Story

Posted by Anisha Parmar on

 I’ve only taken a few steps on the path of my own dyslexia journey where I’ve be learning a lot along the way and as I shared more about my experience, I learnt of stories from other people within the community! Here is Hena's story in her own words about her journey with Dyslexia..

"My understanding of dyslexia before my diagnosis was very little. To give you some context there wasn’t a great deal of information around when I was at school, some 30+ years ago. It was a known learning difficulty but that’s as far as it went. I recall there was a special needs teacher at my primary school but she only supported children with severe learning difficulties.

I was diagnosed in my final year at university. One of my Economics tutors couldn’t understand why I performed so poorly with exams compared to my contribution in lectures and course work.

I recall having a really puzzling conversation with him, which included how I had completely failed my A Levels. As an outcome of the conversation he wrote a referral to the Dyslexia Association in Leicester, so that I could get tested.

I’d told my then boyfriend, now husband, that I was going for this test. I didn’t know what to expect but perhaps this was an opportunity for me to get some answers. I didn’t say anything to my parents at this point in time. I just attended an assessment on one of my uni days before driving home.

Honestly I’m not sure my parents understood when I told them I was dyslexic and I don’t think much has changed since really. My diagnosis was some 20+ years ago. I am not bound to my academic achievements as much as I was in the early part of my career. I had learnt to compensate for my weaknesses all my life and perhaps this is what has allowed me to play to my strengths.

As an adult my preference is to listen to things rather than read. My dyslexia report identified that I struggled with phonological processing. This would explain why I couldn’t read text at first sight. My childhood nightmare.

I focus on the things I enjoy and my strengths. I know that there are a lot more resources available to me now and I don’t take advantage of these. I think this is particularly because I avoid things that perhaps I struggle with ordinarily.

My thoughts on the South Asian community understanding of dyslexia, well if I’m completely honest I’ve not really addressed this topic head on. I’m fairly certain that there will be some understanding but more can be done.

My advice to anyone with dyslexia would be to:

  • Do things that make you happy.
  • Find the people that will support you and allow you to shine.
  • Don’t let your family, friends or community deter you from the things that fulfil you and continue to make you happy.
  • You have your own unique superpower! Either people will get it or they won’t! So follow your dreams 💫"
A huge thank you to Hena, for sharing your personal reflections of your own journey with dyslexia. If you would like to share about your own, please do get in touch hello@anishaparmar.com 

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