As one of Scotland's leading charities we recognise some of the challenges and barriers dyslexia creates. More importantly, we understand the valuable contribution those with dyslexia make to our organisation and to society as a whole.

To mark Dyslexia Week 2020, our CEO Lucy met (virtually) with Alan from our Edinburgh visiting service. Following on from feedback received through Carr Gomm Futures, a staff innovation programme, Alan was keen to share his dyslexia journey with us. So, we decided to do something a little bit different and record their catch-up.

Alan’s story

Alan’s story is a powerful one. His experiences have resonated with many across our organisation and we’ve been inspired to continue listening and learning.

His journey began back in school, at a time when dyslexia wasn’t well understood or discussed. He remembers being held back, not being able to keep up with classmates, and moving schools countless times. Unfortunately, high school wasn’t much better. Encouraged to take lessons like drama, art and home economics, Alan struggled even more with his reading and writing and was often labelled as stupid.

Reflecting on this time, he discusses the lack of a diagnosis and the inaccurate correlation between dyslexia and a deficit of intelligence.

After leaving school, Alan worked as a waiter, labourer and poultry farmer; hands-on roles that didn’t require much reading or writing. Only on becoming a manager did he begin to struggle again. With school experiences fresh in his memory, Alan wasn’t keen to tell anyone about his dyslexia. This in turn led to difficulties at work which were often embarrassing.

Joining Carr Gomm

On joining Carr Gomm, Alan’s original role began to change as he progressed within the organisation. This brought familiar uncertainty and he began to feel like he was failing. Eventually, Alan worked up the courage to have an open and honest conversation with his manager. He loved his role and decided enough was enough. There was to be no more hiding from dyslexia.

Discussing this momentous decision, Alan describes this moment as the best thing he could have done and tells Lucy that he has never looked back! The support and encouragement from Carr Gomm couldn’t be more important to Alan. Not only does he feel valued and useful, he also feels empowered to do his role to the very best of his ability.

Our thoughts

Hearing this makes us feel very proud of everything Alan has achieved. We want to break down the barriers dyslexia creates, and help our team and our people supported to be the best possible version of themselves.

Alan’s story is a reminder of the duty we all have to empower and encourage those around us.

Watch our dyslexia interview video with Alan and Lucy.

Visit Dyslexia Scotland for guidance, support and information about living with dyslexia.