dyslexia explored podcast

dyslexia explored

This podcast will interview people with a dyslexia story from all stages and walks of life. The goal is to encourage parents of teenage dyslexics through the High School years.

Darius interviews people who have a Dyslexia story. They may be describing their child’s story or their own. With particular focus on how they met the challenges of high school and looking back on who and what helped them.

Our goal is make dyslexic teens and parents of dyslexic teens learn from the experiences of others, and realize that they can use dyslexia as an advantage. Listen to the podcast and leave reviews. It would really help us big time.

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dyslexia explored podcast

Dyslexia Explored This podcast will interview people with a dyslexia story from all stages and walks of life. The goal is to encourage parents of teenage dyslexics through the High School years. Darius interviews people who have a Dyslexia story. They may be describing their child’s story or their own. With particular focus on how

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Pete Buchan #39

A Multi-awarded Dentist who was reluctant to take the dyslexia assessment test shares his pre and post-test experience. Dyslexia Explored #39 Facebook Youtube Instagram Pete the dentist Listen to the talk while on the go from your favorite podcast app or click here to listen to this episode from iTunes. Don’t forget to leave reviews while your

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Caron Trout #38

How parents new to dyslexia deal with information overwhelm and the shock of discovering under resourced teachers Dyslexia Explored #38 Facebook Youtube Instagram Caron trout Listen to the talk while on the go from your favorite podcast app or click here to listen to this episode from iTunes. Don’t forget to leave reviews while your at it.

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Pete Buchan #39

A Multi-awarded Dentist who was reluctant to take the dyslexia assessment test shares his pre and post-test experience.

Dyslexia Explored #39

Pete the dentist

Listen to the talk while on the go from your favorite podcast app or click here to listen to this episode from iTunes. Don’t forget to leave reviews while your at it.

Award winning Dentist who takes a dyslexia assessment but agrees to compare his  feelings before and after the test in this podcast recorded in two parts. We explore:

Bad advice from a career adviser: “…I don’t think you’re going to be bright enough to become a dentist.”

Finding a natural ability: “…you just grow up with this natural ability.”

Dyslexic pioneers in dentistry: “I’ve discovered is so many of the guys that are pioneering this new stuff, they are dyslexic.”

Fear of failure: “I was terrified I was going to be discovered as being a failure or a fraud… there’s almost a drive to be the best and …prove yourself.”

What do you feel before the test? “I’m slightly nervous I’m not dyslexic…”

Coping Strategies: “… I dictate everything.”

Money and Delegating: “ Build a team of people round about you who can do the things that you’re not good at.”

Dyslexic delaying tactic: “I would ask her to repeat the question….”

What do you feel after the test: “… confirms to me kind of what I’ve known and what I’ve avoided…”

If you want to listen to it play while you read the page click here:

TOP QUOTES AND FULL TRANSCRIPTION

Pete remembers “The careers adviser sitting me down and saying, listen, I don’t think you’re going to be bright enough to become a dentist. you need to think about maybe becoming a nurse… That’s not to underestimate what nurses can do… But I definitely had a vision of doing more than what my careers advisor was trying to put me into.”

“You imagine that everyone else thinks the same as you, but they don’t. And you just grow up with this natural ability.”

“Dentistry is very divided up in different brackets and departments. And if you can take a concept from one department and bring it into another department, it’s almost like nobody’s ever heard of it before. What I’ve discovered is so many of the guys that are pioneering this new stuff, they are dyslexic.”

“ I was terrified I was going to be discovered as being a failure or a fraud. I expected to be exposed and I’m still probably carrying a lot of that around with me. And there’s almost a drive to be the best and to demonstrate your technical ability to prove yourself.”

“I’m slightly nervous I’m not dyslexic… that means you’re just not that bright”

“One of my coping strategies … I dictate everything. I ask my nurses to read the computer screens … it’s these little habits that dyslexics figure out. Spreadsheets are a complete nightmare.”

“And, you know, don’t ask me about money because I’m terrible at that. But I have someone who can do that part of the business. And I think it’s realizing the certain things you can do really well and there are certain things I cannot do. Build a team of people round about you who can do the things that you’re not good at. It allows you to do the things that you can do, and what you can do is absolutely stunning.”

“I would ask her to repeat the question I’ve said, just let me check that again. And again, it’s a delaying tactic that I’ve developed over time that I would ask people to gain a little bit more time. Just to clarify, you said that I’ve heard it correctly, but I just want a little bit more time to let my brain process what’s going on.”

“I feel a sense of relief. Maybe that’s too strong. It kind of confirms to me kind of what I’ve known and what I’ve avoided. Because I’ve always associated dyslexia with being stupid or be slightly thick. And I think I’ve always struggled with that, that my brain doesn’t work as quickly as some people’s”

Darius:             00:00:00 Welcome to dyslexia explored again. We’ve got a great guest today. He is my own dentist and we have been kind of hinting at him that maybe he’s dyslexic for a few years now. My wife and I. I absolutely love Pete, my dentist, because he has saved me from a world of pain for over 20 years. And I just remember what it was like with my previous dentist and how valuable a great dentist is. Now, Pete has won lots of Scottish awards and I would say is one of the best dentists in Scotland’s hand on heart. And he’s just decided to get a dyslexia assessment as an adult and so I’ve managed to strong arm him to come onto the podcast. So Pete, hi. Thanks for being here. How are you doing?

Pete:        00:00:55  I’m good, I’m good. I’m a wee bit reluctant to be here but excited at the concept of doing a podcast. Never done a podcast before.

Darius:             00:01:04 Great. Why are you reluctant?

Pete:        00:01:08  I guess I’m just really frightened that, I don’t like admitting weaknesses and I think I struggled for a long time with being dyslexic and I’m kind of frightened having, you know, obviously you develop coping mechanisms. I’m kinda just frightened of the label of being dyslexic, to be honest.

Darius:             00:01:31 Okay. Yeah. So you’ve taken a move to get a dyslexia assessment and what we’re doing with this podcast is we’re going to record it in two sections. We’re going to record it before the assessment, which is when?

Pete:        00:01:47  which is on Tuesday,

Darius:             00:01:52 yeah. Okay. Then we’ll do another half of this podcast afterwards to get your reaction to what was after. Because this is a key moment for quite a lot of children. They’re nervous before going for an assessment and also adults and often children can’t articulate it quite so well because it’s a bit more subconscious, but you can maybe help other parents and adults. So relate to this, process. So take us back. We ask these nine questions of people, but I think the four main ones are, what’s the beginning? What was life before the story began? What was the wake-up call that woke you up to your dyslexia? What was the challenge you faced in your story and what were the rewards you’ve got from the challenge? So take us to the beginning, what was life like before the story began, as it were. Where were you before you saw any kind of real difficulties?

Pete:        00:02:55  So my, my, I’ve always really struggled with reading and writing. I’ve never been a strong reader. And I remember in peace seven and skills, so it’d been 12 years old having a spelling assessment tests done. And I, I came out of that with a spelling age of eight and I remember being quite shocked that it was so low. I knew I couldn’t spell, I knew I wasn’t that good at spelling. And the teacher moved me to a special class where I was put with the other people who couldn’t spell. And I remember looking at the other people that couldn’t spell and thinking there’s something wrong here because I’m with the people that I shouldn’t be with. I felt that I was a lot more intelligent probably than the other remedial students that had been put with. So that’s the kind of the first realization I think, where I kind of discovered,

Darius:             00:03:58 Yeah. So that’s where you, you started off and yeah. Then, what kind of challenges did you have to face after that? What were your main challenges?

Pete:        00:04:10  English. Higher English, and French, incredibly difficult for me. The language just seems to be such a foreign thing, but really enjoyed chatting to people and could not get my head around higher English. I Field from a higher English, fantastic. Loved Sciences, I did three sciences at a higher level, got As in All my science work and of course failed my higher English, which meant that my six-year study program completely had to change to involve me repeating my higher English. I wanted to go to a university to be, either a dentist or a doctor or surgeon or something like that. I think I really want to do something that was practical and I felt that I could do that. And I remember it after failing a higher exam, failing my higher English, the careers adviser sitting me down and saying, listen, I don’t think you’re going to be bright enough to become a dentist. you need to think about maybe becoming a nurse because that would kind of fit with your skill set and you’re obviously not a good to manage to achieve the ability to, to pass your higher English, like a dental nurse or a hospital nurse. And I, and as, as they said that to me, I was like, no, I totally disagree. That’s not going to happen to me. I’ve got to do more than be a nurse. That’s not to underestimate what nurses can do. Cause I think what nurses can do is fantastic. But I definitely had a vision, if you like, of doing more than what my careers advisor was trying to put me into.

Darius:             00:05:59 So for the American and Australian students and those who aren’t in Scotland, we’ve got a particular system in Scotland where you have to do five highers to get into university, three, four or five, sometimes six highers to get into university. It’s not like SATs or anything like that. You got five different subjects you choose and the university says you’ve got to get an A in this or an A in that. And so many A’s, so many B’s and a C, and one of the requirements at that time was you’ve got to pass English. It doesn’t matter what else you’ve got. What did you have in your highers? What did you get?

Pete:        00:06:43  For my first set, if I can remember appropriately, it was like four A’s and a complete fail in English.

Darius:             00:06:49 Oh my goodness. Four A’s and fail in English. Yeah. Oh, that is so, so painful. Yeah. Oh yeah. I mean anyone listening to that, that’s just, that is, that’s painful. So what happened next? What happened in the sixth year?

Pete:        00:07:09  But obviously that means that there’s something here. There’s something wrong there, isn’t there? I think I thought it was because the teacher was pretty rubbish at teaching me. The teacher was definitely rubbish. But I just loved science. I just loved everything to do with science. And I love to teach new stuff in science. I love the questions of how and why and I, I just could not get my head around English at all. Um, but my parents, my mother’s a teacher actually she pressed me to go for some additional, tutoring. So I, I got a higher English tutor who really worked with me and crafted me and to taught me how to pass the exam, just how to do the exam and how to pass the exam. And that, that allows me to get a B in my higher English, which meant I was able to go to uni.

Darius:             00:08:11 So it was basically down to exam technique.

Pete:        00:08:15  Oh, Totally. That is, and I think it’s, it’s, uh, you know, we talk about coping strategies and I think corporate strategies are massive. And I think as a dyslexic you learn coping strategies and you, you imagine that everyone else thinks the same as you, but they don’t and you just grow up with this natural ability that is you. But it’s actually, it’s a gift. It’s the way that you look at the world’s, it’s the what you do and that is, that is an amazing asset.

Darius:             00:08:49 Yeah. I mean, I have to say from what I know about you and what you’ve done in dentistry over the 20 years or so, I mean, how long has it been, you’ve been a dentist now?

Pete:        00:08:59  Oh, I graduated in 93 so that’s 25 years.

Darius:             00:09:03 25 years. A quarter of a century Pete. You, you have always been the one who’s been on the edge of the dentistry, looking for the newest thing, looking for new ideas, combining different techniques and so on. Just developing your craft continuously, I think is a very strong dyslexic trait.

Pete:        00:09:28  Yeah, I understand that. Now. Previously. I just thought everyone did that. But the more I’ve pursued stuff and the more I’ve discovered stuff and probably linked with more people on the Internet, and I think that’s one of their meetings and things of know you can connect with other like-minded people and who are pushing boundaries and trying new techniques and one of the key things dyslexics can cross-pollinate and take ideas from one field and bring it into another field. And that’s one of the things that I’ve loved doing. And dentistry is very divided up in different brackets and departments. And if you can take a concept from one department and bring it into another department, it’s, it’s almost like nobody’s ever heard of it or thought about it before. And there’s so much happening with digital dentistry and CAD cam and milling and digitizing, there’s an amazing abundance of chat and sharing of information that happens online, which is a fantastic way to learn. What I’ve discovered is so many of the guys that are pioneering this new stuff, they are dyslexic. It’s, absolutely fascinating how many of them I was chatting two of my technicians who are probably one of the best technicians, technicians, the people that make teeth. So these two guys who worked separately. I’m chatting to one of them on Facebook messenger and he says to me out of the blue, I’m not too good on Facebook messenger because I’m dyslexic. I’m like once you mean, you’re dyslexic? You create beautiful, amazing pieces of work and is yet, and he said to me, yeah, but I can’t, I’m not very good at reading or writing. And my other technician almost exactly the same story. He struggles to read and write and yet he can create these beautiful pieces of work.

Darius:             00:11:28 Yes. So that was the challenge in high school. And you got into dentistry school, so you got all your grades that were needed. And what do you think has been the reward of facing these different challenges? Have you got that reward yet?

Pete:        00:11:46  I don’t know. I think I went to your first-year uni, I was terrified I was going to be discovered as being a failure or a fraud or somebody who just wasn’t good enough. I expected to be exposed and I’m still probably carrying a lot of that around with me. And there’s almost a drive to, to be the best and to demonstrate your technical ability to prove yourself. And that’s, that’s quite a funny thing to have in you. And I think that’s part of dyslexia as well,

Darius:             00:12:26 Which kind of leads us on to this test. Yes. Because now you’re facing this test. Why are you, I mean, I, I’ve, I said, why don’t you go and get this test done? Why, have you said yes? I mean, you’re paying out 500 quid for this test. why?

Pete:        00:12:43  I think I’m looking for a bit of or a bit of closure or a ticking a box. I have read books on dyslexia, I read the dyslexic advantage. When you mentioned that on your podcast. I kinda followed you Darius on Facebook and every time we see we chat and I’m like, there are certain things in that book about writing in capitals. I do that. Certain things about confusing a P and a B, I do that. Mixing up letters, mixing up numbers. I’m terrible for if you read it your phone number to me, I will write it down wrong. It’s one of the things I really struggle with. What else? What’s the next question? I’ve lost it.

Darius:             00:13:35 Okay. You’ve lost that. There was, so what do you feel, uh, what your feelings like, I mean, tell us a little bit about what you feel about this test coming up. this assessment.

Pete:        00:13:47  So I um, I’m looking forward to it, but I’m quite nervous because we chatted about this and I’m slightly nervous I’m not dyslexic classic because, well that means you’re just not that bright. I think way back in my head somewhere, there’s the concept of if you’re dyslexic, you’re a bit stupid or you’d a bit thick. That is a big thing for me. And going for this test, it’s almost an admitting to myself that maybe I’m a bit stupid or maybe I’m a bit thick, but I think I’m trying to get through. It’s realizing that my brain works differently and the way that my brain works is the way that I think that everyone’s brain works. But in actual fact, my brain works differently in my brain actually works better than most people’s brains. So.

Darius:             00:14:46 Well you definitely are one of the most intelligent people I know and one of the most competent people I know as well. Not just a person with potential but with a person with realized potential.

Pete:       00:14:58  Yeah. The funny thing, I was doing an extra Roller College of surgeons exam in the summer and me, there are three parts to the exam. I don’t think I’ve told you this Darius? Have I told you this? So this,

Darius:             00:15:13 You mentioned one of, you mentioned a little bit about the story. Love to hear it again.

Pete:        00:15:17  Okay. I’ll give you the story again. So I’m doing the Roller College of surgeons and there are three parts to the exam. There’s a written MCQ paper, which as a dyslexic, you have to work really hard. You have to read the question, reread it, and then you have to fill in that silly computer grid and you’re terrified that you’re going to get every question in the wrong column because that’s just something that you’re terrified about. But you’ve done them before, you’ve practised it. You can, you can pass that. So I passed that part of the exam. The third part of the exam is the second, sorry, there are four parts. The second part of the exam is a written paper. Sure. Answers scenarios. Describe how you would fix this, how you do that, how you’d help us. We can do that. That’s fine. You could practice it. So that’s good. Passed those two parts. That’s a written paper. The last part, the exam is an oral and so you sit down and you talk with an examiner who has looked at your case presentations. You present four cases and they pick your highest best case and pick your lowest case, Buddhist case. And you then talk about the advantages and disadvantages of what you did and what you could’ve done better. But that’s again, that’s very good because I know the cases inside out and I knew it better then the examiner knows because it’s my patient, it’s my work that I’ve done. So I passed that part of the exam, the part that I didn’t pass was, a clinical scenario part. So you walk around the room, there are 15 sessions, 15 five minutes sessions with an actor and examiner. You have two minutes before you walk into the room to read a page of A4 that, tells you what you know about to experience when you walk into the room. That’s what I couldn’t do. I couldn’t read the page of A4 before walked into the room. I stood there and I had to use my finger. I have to put my finger on the page of A4, I’m quite nervous before I walk into the room, and, I actually, I’m standing and I’m struggling to read the page of A4 and, and I’m thinking this is so much harder for me because I’m really struggled to read A4 page of text printed computer texts, computer screens. I really struggled to read. There you go

Darius:             00:17:43 and then, because you didn’t comprehend that that one sheet of A4, you failed that subject.

Pete:        00:17:50  you, you walk into it, into this scenario, I’m kind of hoping that I have read it and understand it and comprehend, it properly, but if I’ve best a tiny fragment of information on that, I’m really working hard to try and pick up from the scenario and for the actor in the room what actually has happened. But if I’ve not got it on the, on the sheet, I really a disadvantage and only have two minutes to do it. So I along the shore, that is I failed the exam by two points. So I’m going to have to go back and do the exam. So next summer I’m going to go back and re-reset the exam. But I reckon I can pass it quite comfortably because I’ll just train myself. I’ll, I’ll come up with a plan.

Darius:             00:18:42 Yeah. Like, well what I would advise students, the younger teenagers that if they were in a scenario like that is to go with a pencil and underline every third word that you felt was relevant and then reread all the individual underlined words again, giving an extra line to one out of three words again and then of all the double lined words, reread those and give them an extra line. And what you’re doing is your kind of reading the question three times, but not reading all the texts three times and you’re kind of, zooming in in chunks and you’re not worrying too much of, have I got it all? Because you’re accepting that you’ve not got it all on the first cut, but you’ve got rid of all the “the’s and and’s” and all the filler pieces, and you just keep cutting and cutting in three steps rather than relying on one step, which is one of the reasons why it dyslexics are given a little extra time, because it’s not a reading assessment is it? It’s a dentistry assessment.

Pete:        00:19:59  Yes. exactly. It’s just fascinating that I think it’s that thing of, I think that made me realize actually if I had more time, so I’m only given two minutes. If I had just a little bit more time, I would’ve been a lot. I would have passed the exam. Definitely.

Darius:             00:20:20 Yeah. And for the listeners listening, I mean, this is such a strange thing to hear because you’re such a good dentist, it’s just like, and then the reality actually a lot of you, the assistance and different people you have round about you because you’ve got huge team around you to help you do the amazing stuff that you do. They would read half the stuff off the screen to you and you’d be listening to it and you go, yeah, right. Okay. Got It. Yeah, yeah. Right. We need to do this. Go do that. Go do this.

Pete:        00:20:49  That’s one of my coping strategies and it’s taking me a long time to figure it out. Why do and how I do it. But I dictate everything. I ask my nurses to read the computer screens and, and tell me what the computer screen is seeing because they can tell me the information a wee quicker than I can do. And it’s these little habits that dyslexics figure out. Spreadsheets are a complete nightmare. And, you know, don’t ask me about money because I’m terrible at that. But I have someone who can do that part of the business. And I think it’s realizing the certain things you can do really well and there are certain things he cannot do and build a team of people round about you who can do the things that you’re not good at and it allows you to do the things that you can do and what you can do is absolutely stunning.

Darius:             00:21:48 You’ve kind of exemplified that, staying in your zone of genius, you know, your zone of genius is practically getting inside of someone’s mouth, solving all those problems and then other people have their specialist roles to support that and deliver that and result to people. So we’re halfway through and you’re just about to go into your dyslexia assessment and then right after it, or very soon after it, we’re going to hear your response afterwards how you feel because it’s going to be interesting to see how you feel.

Pete:        00:22:32  I’m apprehensive. I’m excited. I’m intrigued as to what it’s going to be like and how I’m gonna feel during the test. Yeah.

Darius:             00:22:44 One of the things about the test is that because it’s a pure IQ type test, mostly you end up being able to do quite a lot of the stuff very straightforwardly. And I remember when I was doing it, the assessor was like, oh, and there’s this one, and I’m like, all right, I can do this. Yeah. Oh, I did that. Oh, I can do this and you can do this is quite unusual to be in a test where you’re actually performing well. I came up with an idea that might… Let me test it on you. An explanation. As you know, my daughter went and got her tests done three months ago, two months ago, and I’ve been struggling to try and find some practical way to explain the difference between IQ working memory and processing speed. Because in her test, her IQ was high and her processing speed was low. And so how do you explain that? that processing doesn’t mean you’re not intelligent. So I came up with a solution. It’s like a stick shift car. Have you heard this on Facebook? Any of my explanations on what do you think? Do you like the stick shift car analogy? Does it make sense to you

Pete:        00:23:59  I do I like it and, and I’m a bit like, is it that simple? I don’t know. I don’t know. What’s a good analogy? I love analogies. I think analogies are really powerful and I think dyslexics love analogies and I think because we are really visual people.

Darius:             00:24:17 But your question is, is it an accurate analogy or is there, uh, so I’ll, I’ll give the analogy for the listeners just so that they, if they don’t know this, so basically the analogy is this. When you get your dyslexia assessment, it’s kind of like, if you think of your brain as a car, they’ve analyzed your engines’ IQ what’s the power of your engine? That’s your IQ. Then they analyze your working memory, which is a what store, well, how many units of information can you use in your very short term working memory? It’s not your short term memory is your working memory. And I liken that to the amounts of seats you have in the car. You might be a three seater car, a five-seater car, seven seater car. Most people have seven seater or five-seater cars, five to seven units at, within their working memory. Dyslexics tend to have two or three seats or units. And then you’ve got the boot, the trunk of the car, which is what you temporarily carry temporary stuff, you know, while you’re on the trip, this relevant to the passengers in the car. So they might be a short bit of information or something on that. And then you deliver it to where it’s meant to go and it gets put in its long term home, which is maybe the carriage or the house or something. So that’s my analogy for a car. But there’s another step in that is that some cars are stick shift cars and some cars are automatic cars. And so have you heard that bit as well to go for that as well? Okay. So if you think about a lot of people when they drive their car and when they’re teaching people how to drive their car, if you’re in America, 90% of cars are automatic cars. And imagine your, um, in a class full of kids and the job of the teacher is to teach you to drive your car and your car is your brain, learn to drive your brain. Now the teacher knows how to drive an automatic. And imagine if some of those kids in that class didn’t have automatic cars but had stick shift car. they had a stick shift Ferrari or a stick shift, Ford. It doesn’t make them any slower. It doesn’t make the car any less valuable or useful. It just means it’s got a manual transmission compared to an automatic transmission. And so the way the teacher would say, now this in, so let me break all this down in fancy terms for a dyslexia assessment. So, an assessor will say you have phonological processing problems. Okay. Which basically means, your sounds, the sounds you are breaking, connecting up all the sounds of a word together into words and then into sentences is harder for you than someone else. Now the way I would explain that is to say your a manual phonological processor compared to an automatic phonological processor. Okay. For someone who’s driving an automatic, they still need to click into D to drive, but it’s one action and that one action has bundled in it the four or five gears that it needs to go up and down. Whereas for other thinkers, they are manual stick shift thinkers manually phonologically fit things together. Right. That’s a burn. That’s a that’s a back. Okay. And then I need to go up another gear and join those words together to make a sentence and then go up another gear to comprehend it all. So there are four gears that you’re manually learning to go up, but can you imagine being taught how to drive a stick shift car by someone who only has ever driven an automatic?

Pete:        00:28:20  Yup. Yup. I get it. I get it. I, I’m just worried that I’ve been given a bike. The assessor’s gonna turn at me on Tuesday and say, I’m sorry. I don’t know how you have managed to get as far as you’ve got in life, but you’re just riding a bicycle and the rear tire is flat and your front wheel is wonky. You’ll never amount to anything. That’s just why I imagine will happen

Darius:             00:28:57 it’s funny Pete because you know, it’s, it’s kind of like you’ve still got that child inside of you and you also the adult both at the same time.

Pete:        00:29:06  Hmm. But then that’s a powerful thing. That’s a powerful thing. I, I want to be a child, you know, I don’t want to be, I want to be, I’ve, why would you want to grow up and grow old? Yeah. Cause life is for learning and living and discovering and trying new things. And why would you, why would you want to become old?

Darius:             00:29:37 Yeah. Peter Pan. That’s it. Brilliant. Pete. Pete, right. Well, we’re halfway through. Okay. And the next time our listeners will hear us will be once you’ve done the assessment and you can tell us what’s happened,

Darius:             00:29:58 So Pete, two days I’ve gone past and it’s happened and we’re back online now. I haven’t actually spoken to you yet about this. This is us straight off. So what’s happened? What’s the story

Pete:        00:30:12  today? This, this morning I travelled, I’ve had my official dyslexia assessment. Uh Huh.

Darius:             00:30:21 What happened? Well, what was it like? I mean you went over to Dunbar and um, you met with her.

Pete:        00:30:30  Yeah. Went over to Dunbar, drove over and a little bit mixed, wee bit apprehensive driving across the thinking. What’s this test going to be like? You know, uh, she’s lovely and very warm person, very likeable, instantly got on really well with her, had a lovely chat and then kind of gently went through the process. And the process was actually quite a lovely experience. You’d said to me, Darius, that certain things you’ll find really easy and you’ll think, oh, this is great. And certain tasks I was given, I found really easy and I was like, oh, this is great. I can do this and I’m not not intelligent. Yes, I can. I can do that. I could do that. I do. I cry easy. I can do this quite quickly and certain things are on a stopwatch. She’s like, yeah, that’s, that’s quite good. Yeah. Now I’m thinking, yeah, this is good. And then certain tasks particularly difficult and it’s quite funny. Yeah. One of the tasks don’t know how much to go into detail with you Darius but, what are the task is a kind of mental arithmetic. So John is standing in a queue, there are 180 people in the queue in front of them, 20 people at added to the queue, and the queue is moving at six people per minute. How long before Joni reaches the front of the queue? And I’m like, oh my goodness, eh, just, just tell me the question again. So she repeats the question. I’m like, oh my goodness. Right. 120 and I’m trying to work it out in my head. I’m like, oh, that’s him. Just tell me, tell me once more. Again, I think it just needed a little bit more clarification. I said, she’s like, if a tell you any more, you get no points.

Pete:        00:32:18  I’m like, you know, I can’t work. I have no ability to string that together. It’s very difficult. And the other classic was the part of the test where you have to put the numbers and a numerical order and the alphabet in alphabetical order simultaneously while remembering it I could not do to see if my life and the other, then the other classic is the recounting back the numbers that some was just given to you, like a phone number. So seven, five, nine, two one, I can do that. Seven, five, eight, two, one yup. But when it gets more and more numbers are added to the string very quickly. I ran out of fingers. It’s so obvious that I’m working on my fingers and she’s laughing because she knows how my brain works and I know how my brain works and I’m like, you just keep going until I get it wrong. And she’s like, Yup. And then that’s, you know, failure is the, yeah. So that was very exciting and very quickly I realized that you know, my brain, certain things in my brain just don’t work quick enough or can’t take care of enough information. It can process it quickly enough. And I would ask her to repeat the question I’ve said, just let me check that again. And again, it’s a delaying tactic that I’ve developed over time that I would ask people to gain a little bit more time. Just to clarify, you said that I’ve heard it correctly, but I just want a little bit more time to let my brain process what’s going on. So I have discovered, or it has been confirmed to me today that I am dyslexic. Congratulations. Join the club. It’s quite funny cause it’s like, yes, you’re, superior. You’ve got very high and to let your very good at this, you’re very good at that. You’re very good at this. But your ability to process certain levels of strings of information is not as fast as some people. So, yeah, quite fascinating. So I kind, I went back to work, I went back to work and so all my staff were like, so how’d you get on? I’m like, well, I can’t do this and I cut to this and I can’t do this, but I’m very good at this and I’m, hey, you know this. They’re like, yeah, we know that. Yeah, we’d be happy to know that. So I feel a sense of relief. Maybe. Maybe that’s too strong. It kind of confirms to me kind of what I’ve known and what I’ve avoided. Because I’ve always associated dyslexia with being stupid or be slightly thick. And I think I’ve always struggled with that, that my brain doesn’t work as quickly as some people’s and therefore I’ve always thought of myself has been a bit stupid or a bit thick and I probably still struggle with that a little bit. So that’s how I feel.

Darius:             00:35:21 Have you been given any numbers?

Pete:        00:35:25  No. Numbers are going to come in a report and it’s going to be emailed in a couple of days. So, I purposely didn’t want to know the number cause I thought I can’t handle figuring out this of what that actually means. But she, she said you’re very high in all these areas but you’re very low in this area here. So that confirms that you are dyslexic.

Darius:             00:35:51 Yeah. Did she say you had a low processing speed?

Pete:        00:35:56  Yes. I think that was what. I think that was one of the things that she said. Yeah.

 

Darius:             00:36:01 And working memory. Did she say you had a low working memory? Low working memory? Yup. Yup. Okay. So I’m guessing she said you had a high IQ. Yup. I think that was there higher than average IQ. This is my guess. And a low working memory and a lower than average processing speed. Yup. So, it’s kind of like when those numbers are going into your brain, it’s like most people seating capacity in the car for the numbers are seven. That’s why phone numbers are seven digits long, you know, first three and then the next four. It’s like as you put one in because there aren’t seven seats in your car, one gets pushed out the window. Do you know what I mean? Yeah,

Pete:        00:36:47  Yep. I’ve always struggled with phone numbers. I can, you know, I, if somebody tells me their phone number, I asked them to write it down. That’s one of my coping mechanisms. I’ll see. Let me just get a piece of paper. Let me write that down because I know that if I don’t write it down, I won’t remember it. And we chatted a lot about I’m forever writing notes in my iPhone to my self to remain myself about certain things. So if somebody says to me, Oh, I’ve read this book, it’s quite a good book. I need to actually write the name of the book, down, because I will never remember the name of the book, that you’ve told me to go and read. So I, I write myself notes lots of times.

Darius:             00:37:26 Have you come across Google keep? What is Google Keep? Google keep is like a little app that Google does within its stable of apps for, for taking notes. So it kind of takes the place of your note-taking app off of the phone or ever note or something like that. And it’s a very powerful little app for stuff like that. And it’s got checklists facility on it as well. Also, put a reminder on a note. And notes can also be geo located. So whenever you walk into a certain place, that note will pop up. Oh, that’s clever. I like that. So it’s really quite clever as a sort of, it’s not, a big, you can type substantial stuff in it, but it’s not really meant for that. But it’s a really handy little note taking app.

Pete:        00:38:29  One thing she did mention was exploring dictation type software. So I can write better trough dictation, eh, and or learning to touch type. Cause it’s one thing I don’t do is touch type. So, um, that was two positive things coming out of it to go ahead to, to look at was dictation software and learn to touch type. Okay.

 

Darius:             00:38:58 Did she tell you to learn to mind map?

Pete:        00:39:01  Do you know? We did chat. A lot of it mind mapping, it’s there and we mentioned what you’re doing. Um, and very positive light. For me, I use a form of mind mapping to, to get stuff out of my head. And I love it for that. So if I’m thinking about doing a talk or a lesson or I will write the seam in the middle and I’ll have various branches coming off a bit like a mind map, and I will then probably put it in a linear fashion. And then certain parts may don’t make the final cut. So I ended up with a linear document at the end. Whereas when I’ve looked at your stuff you do you make it like, you go in a spiral and you’re going a certain duration which would be fantastic for memorizing it to learn a topic. I think that’s, I need to explore what you do Darius because it’s, it’s probably a step above what I’ve been doing previously with mind mapping.

Darius:             00:40:08 Yeah. I mean it’s all sorts of different ways you can use the tool. Yeah. One way that you might quite like as a technique I’ve developed called the BulletMap method where you take one sheet of A4 and on the left-hand third of the page, you just bullet point all of your random thoughts. And so what it means is it’s really helpful for dyslexics because sometimes when you’re doing a mind map, you’re thinking about the thoughts and then you think, should I put it here or should I put it there? And you’re kind of, And it’s not really using your processing speed very effectively. So I split it into two chunks. So I go, right, I’m only going to think about what’s in my brain and capture all those things and put it straight down in a list. I told you to think about where or what I’m writing or whether it’s an important keyword or anything. I just write it down like a bullet point list. And then I, and I reread the list and I underline the keywords. And then I moved the keywords over into a mind map and that mind map ends up becoming much more useful because that process becomes a structured map rather than a random expression of my thoughts. And then in the bottom right-hand corner, well I do, as I say, right? You’ve sorted it. The next step is what is the next achievable step you’re going to do? Or what is the actual outcome and that bottom right-hand corner am, I end up actually becoming a written text document. Like I give a talk on, you know, and I read it out because I need to be succinct. So it’s, it’s very similar to what you’re talking about, but a little bit more structured. So that you use more of your processing speed on a particular topic. So do you get a badge? What’s next? You got a secret handshake or ducts to adjust to this parking space at the supermarket. Oh, a blue badge. You’re disabled. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Because I suppose technically, legally now you’ve been um, you know, stumped. You’re disabled.

Pete:        00:42:34  that I’ve, I’ve, yeah, I’ve always avoided to label because it didn’t light the label. but now, I have the label and maybe I should get a t-shirt made that says I’m a dyslexia and I’m proud or maybe I’m not ready for that yet. I’m a, I’m a closet dyslexic. Is this possible? Yes. And then, but if you have a diagnosis, I’m still in the closet, but I, but I have a diagnosis that confirms it to myself and at some point, I will come out the closet and admit to everyone have a proper dyslexic. I think we need, to rebrand, I think we need to rebrand. We need a makeover of dyslexia. So it sounds a wee bit more attractive. and somebody needs to invent a word that’s easier to spell because I actually can’t spell dyslexia.

Darius:             00:43:26 Have you seen Eddie Izzards skit on dyslexia? He’s funny because he’s dyslexic as well, Right. Okay. He’s totally dyslexic. I mean, once you get your iron, it’s like, um, you know, you’re talking about getting, coming out the closet, you know, um, you start to be able to see dyslexia and people in the way they talk in the way they explain things. dyslexics explain things in a certain way. They talk in a random way. Really talk in a visual way. They make up words. Yeah. They make up words. They, they mash up different ideas and concepts and yeah, just pull in the most random things.

Pete:        00:44:18  So do dyslexics like other dyslexics, do we get on well together? You know, am I going to find new friends with dyslexic people? Are some of my friends that I already have this because I can, I like the way they talk and they think,

Darius:             00:44:35 ah, right. That’s an that’s an interesting conundrum. Yes. So we’re friends we’re friends. Exactly.

Pete:        00:44:42  Exactly. Moving on from that they are, our life partners, are they dyslexic or not dyslexic? Do we actively choose somebody that’s a wee bit more organized or structured because we actually are, what happens if two dyslexics get together? That must be chaos.

Darius:             00:45:01 Oh yeah, totally. Yeah. I think dyslexics tend, I would say from my experience, which is limited, so you know, I would think that most people choose a partner that compliments them. Okay. And I think that is a general kind of pattern on the whole. And with dyslexics, I think they choose a person that is more naturally organized, more naturally systematic. You know, Jackie Stewart, famous racing car driver, Scottish, he can’t read. And he didn’t tell his wife until he was 43 and yeah. And he was a multimillionaire running three different businesses. Wow. And he couldn’t read any of the documents. Wow. And he tells this story about how when it was people had checkbooks before credit cards, he would go into a shop and buy something and he’d start writing the check and then he realized, oh gosh, I can’t write that word, that number. 123 pounds. So we’d buy something else until it became a number. He could write. Keeps buying stuff until it was something crazy. And, but I talk about coping strategies. And so he relied on his wife to do a lot of the reading and analysis for him. I mean, Richard Branson tells this story about a board room meeting. He had the largest private group of companies in Europe and they were having a board meeting and someone presented the cash flow numbers. And when they presented them, he said, so is that good or not? And he turns to another financial guy and he starts explaining it. Yeah, this is quite good, et cetera. And so on. And then his friend afterwards on the board of directors said, Richard, do you know the difference between gross profit and net profit? And Richard Goes, well, not really, as long as it makes more money than we’re spending, I’m okay. And he goes, I thought you didn’t. And so do you know what he did? He got out a Napkin and he drew a picture of a net in a boat with a sea of fish. And he said, so if you imagine this whole sea is our gross profit, everything that we take away is the net profit. And so the net profits ours, and because he drew it on a bit of paper and just took the time to explain it, Branson in his forties goes, yeah, I get net profit. That’s great. And Bronson goes, and, and afterwards, he talks about this on youtube and so on. He says, you know, I go out to people in, I say net profit, you know, it’s meant to be impressive, and they’re like, you’re a multibillionaire and you’re proud of knowing net profit. But he just, he says, I know how to put together good teams of people and I know how to give customers what they really need and want and I value them. And I also, he also has this thing which is the Richard Test. It’s got to be simple enough for Richard to understand it and if he can’t understand it, it doesn’t go out and advertising or brochures. And so that’s why he’s done well because he’s learned how to delegate and build teams.

Pete:        00:48:46  Yeah, definitely. It’s a massive skill that we need and because nobody can do on their own, you know, all the best of the best organizations are run by teams. All the best dental practices that I come across are run by effective teams. You can be the best dentist in the world, but if you don’t have an effective team round about you, you’re not the best dentist.

Darius:             00:49:10 Yeah. Sometimes I think I’m just not dyslexic enough because if I was more dyslexic and I couldn’t read or write like Jackie Stewart or like some of Branson’s issues, then I would have to delegate. But the thing is, sometimes I can do a bit, so I just do it for longer and do it harder and, and just struggle along. Whereas sometimes it’s like, no, this is not my zone of genius. I’m going to delegate it to someone else’s zone of genius

Pete:        00:49:46  I think that’s, that’s a challenge. I’ve spent ages trying to write up audit reports and I’ll sit there for a long time at the computer and I and it just takes me forever and my wife can write a report and it was, she did one today and about an hour and a half and it would have taken me three nights to write the report.

Darius:             00:50:06 Yeah. I kind of, I went to university with Jo at the same, we went to university together. I did the law degree on, you were doing dentistry. That was what years ago? Yeah. And then I went back to theology college for a few years to do a diploma and Jo did that course with me at the same time and we were doing some of the same courses, reading the same books. I could not believe what she could do. She could think about something, sit down and just write about what she was thinking about and keep a systematic order. I just couldn’t believe it. And the essay would be done and I would like it’s done. And she says, yeah, yeah, I think. I said, where are your notes on it? Oh yeah, I read the notes, but I’ve been thinking about it for the last week and a half and I just got it all down. I’m like, that is just crazy.

Pete:        00:51:03  Yeah. What are the other parts of it? The assessment is to maybe do it too much to assessment, but it’s, it’s a funny story that she’s like, write a short paragraph, a give me four facts a bit. Something you’re, you’re, you’re quite interested in. So as you left the room to get a glass of water. So I wrote about snowboarding and how much I enjoy snowboarding and why I like snowboarding. So, I wrote four bullet points. I like snowboarding because, of the mountains, the fresh air and the way it makes you feel. And the way you get to see lovely scenery four points. Job Done took be three minutes and she came back into the, Oh you’re done. And I was like, yeah. She’s like, must be a creative piece. And I’m like, it’s clear they’ve got four facts. And I’m like, do you want me to talk about it? Cause I could talk about it for half an hour. But that’s the outline of the talk. But yeah, no, it was very funny. I thought, oh my goodness, you want it to be more than three words for each bullet point. Very funny. So yeah, sorry. The other question was, is there a club? Is Their club, is there a t-shirt? Is there a secret handshake? A badge?

Darius:             00:52:26 No, there isn’t. maybe you meet people, you have a competition about how dyslexic you are compared to each other.

Pete:        00:52:38  And like, yeah Rock, paper, scissors. Yeah, dyslexia. Yeah.

 

Darius:             00:52:44 Well No, not really. I mean, the interesting thing though is that it’s very different for different people. You know, it literally is like different kinds of vehicles. And when you, when you compare standard mass-produced vehicles that are automatic vehicles on the car, on the road, you know it’s not huge variations in them, but when you start getting more specialized vehicles that are more manual stick shift, which is a hallmark of more specialized vehicles, like you know, you have very powerful engine and it’s a tractor, it’s not very good on the road, keeps all the traffic going on the road. But boy when you’re on the field you’ve got some really good traction powered, does all sorts of really good stuff that are off-road vehicles or emergency vehicles. And those are all dyslexics. Do you know what I mean? And they’re all very different from each other. So you might say, okay, I’ve just looked at your brain and I can see you’ve got an IQ of 130 something. So you’ve got a high powered engine. I can see that you’ve got a very small working memory. So you’ve only got two seats in the car. And I can see that you’ve got a very small processing speed, which is like your boot. Now that definition could be one of a Ferrari or a pickup or a Laurie, you know, Laurie with a big engine, two seats and a small boot because it’s not got big, it’s got a little cab and then you hitch on a trailer on the back or a tractor. But from the outside, when you look at the raw stats, they look very similar. You’re all dyslexic, manual, stick shift, et Cetera. Do you know what I mean?

Pete:        00:54:39  Yeah, yeah, yeah. I understand. It’s all, it’s that thing. We all have amazing talents and abilities and it’s appreciating the talent that you do have. And you know, some of the people I work with are, are definitely dyslexic because they can create and they’ve told me, and they can create beautiful teeth that I fit in people’s mouths and part or their skill comes from the fact that they’re able to create beautiful things and sculpt things and create symmetry in colour and texture in 3D and work in 3D and, and do beautiful stuff that machines can’t do. You’re the whole craftsman thing is. So it’s, it’s, it’s an asset. Actually. I, I’ve come back, I’ve got to, I’ve got to go back and reread the dyslexic advantage book. Three quarters the way through it, and I need to go back and reread it so I can understand more

Darius:             00:55:42 I summarized some of the dyslexic advantage chapters in the podcast, by the way. So yeah. Are you going to accept that you’re not stupid? Are you going to make that choice? Are you going to kill this thing that says that little shadow from your childhood where it says, I’m stupid and I need to prove myself?

Pete:        00:56:05  Do you know, that’s a really good question. Yeah, I need to kill it. And it may take a little bit more time to kill because I got the report today seeing that you are exceptionally bright in this area and this area in this area in this year, which was actually quite encouraging, perform to the well in a lot of the tests. It’s only a certain small aspect of the test that I struggled with. So yeah, maybe I need to go and revisit that with some counselling.

Darius:             00:56:34 Well, I think you are smart. You are one of the smartest people I know. And you’ve got physical proof of it. Now you’ve just done a very high-level IQ test that thoroughly analyzes the different kinds of intelligence you have. And as a scientist yourself, you’ve got to accept that kind of thing, that you’re a Ferrari. That’s a manual stick shift rather than an automatic gearbox. It’s as simple as that. Nothing wrong with the engine. Yeah, Pete. Great. Thanks for sharing this story with all the other people who are going to be listening. And you told me not to spread it around too much. Keep it under wraps Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I want to tell too many people that will just go out on to iTunes and it’s the largest podcasting network in the world. Pete, the dyslexic dentist. maybe you’ll tell some of your, the kids who sit in your seat.

Darius:             00:57:47 Maybe that’s something to do. Uh, yeah, it’s a story that has to come at some point. Well Pete, thanks for sharing your story.

Darius:             00:57:55 Anything you want to share with any of the listeners? You know, I normally ask a set of questions, which is, you know, the set of questions is what was life like at the beginning, which we covered. What was the wake-up moment, which was very much your, that spelling test and then the higher English. And then what was the challenge you faced? How would we in this story say, what was the challenge you face? In many ways it was this dyslexia assessment, I think in this aspect of the story. And then the next question is, what is the reward that you got from facing that challenge? So you just faced a very immediate challenge, which was, do you know what I’m going to go and get that test done. And you face that challenge. Well, what rewards could you say you go from this? I know it was only how many hours ago, six hours ago.

Pete:        00:58:45  You know, I think I was this morning. Yeah, I think I’ve got a better understanding of myself. a better understanding of my strengths and my weaknesses. Like you say, I’m not stupid and there are certain things that I need a bit of help with and I could probably benefit from writing more things down. It’d been a bit more organized and delegating a lot more things. And um, I think it really helps me go forward. so that’s the benefit is to realize that I think we can often think we need to be able to do everything. You know, to be a successful business person, you have to be able to understand the spreadsheet. You have to be able to x, y, zed and adults think we do. I think we need to gather a team of people round about us. We need to lead that team. We need to delegate. We need to look after people, care for people and encourage people. I think that’s our jobs as team leaders or business people. And I think I can do that really well and I don’t have to be someone who is very good at English to do that.

Darius:             00:59:58 I ask people, what advice would they give their teenage self? If you could send a card back in time to your teenage self, what would it say on the front of the card and what would it say on the inside?

Pete:        01:00:13  Good crash. I would say learn to speak French because French is the language of the Alps. And when you go skiing, when you’re older, you will be able to properly, because I could, I can’t, French, she was a complete nightmare for me. Even worse than English, you know, English was terrible. French was even worse. So I would say to myself. French is the language of the Alps. Learn to speak French and you will have the best time ever. No, seriously, what would, I would say you’ve got a unique gift. Learn what it is, and go and use it and change the world because of it. Because we’re desperate for people to change the world. And I think that’s what we’re all called to do or asked to do or is just find what it is that makes you come alive. And then as you come alive the world round about you will come alive because we make, we each individually make the world a better place. and I think that’s what we’re meant to do in the world. A better place.

 

Darius:             01:01:22 Advice to yourself as a parent?

Pete:        01:01:24  Don’t be too hard on yourself, I think. Yeah. Don’t be too hard and enjoy the, uh, the gift that your intelligence is. And I think, you know, life can be hard, so enjoy it. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be.

Darius:             01:01:45 brilliant on that. I think Pete, we’ll call it a day there, right? Yeah,

Pete:        01:01:55  yeah. The excellent Darius, you know, if they, if you ever need me to come back and

Darius:             01:02:03 definitely, oh, you have to tell that story about when you were at high school and you couldn’t find your way around the, the time table and you came up with a solution. What was that? Yeah.

Pete:        01:02:20  right. So, uh, yeah, so a high school learning your time table if you’re a dyslexic kid or if he kind of. I could never learn my timetable, but I didn’t know where awards, didn’t know if it was a Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday and, and I could never learn it and it would take me until about Christmas time to learn my timetable French and Monday, first thing or so you would carry all your books and your bag in case you were had the wrong class and at the wrong time. And eventually, I figured out that there was a girl who had some of the classes to see was my classes. She causes she wanted to hang out with me and she learned my timetable. I learned, just ask her, I would say hi. You know, why half next? And she’d look at me, go if you’ve got English. And I’d be like, oh thanks. And then wander off to the English department. And then I’d be out at break time and I say, do you know why I have next? Be like, yeah, that was brilliant. That was my life hack. I thought everyone, everyone had like a personal assistant who would memorize their timetable for them because I could never memorize my timetable,

Darius:             01:03:41 well that’s teamwork, isn’t it? That is what dyslexics do. They find the strengths of other people to compensate for their own. Yeah. Just what you were doing there. Definitely. Brilliant. Pete.

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Darius Namdaran

Darius Namdaran

Darius is a teacher and MD of BulletMap™ Studio. He's passionate about helping dyslexic children, and their parents, get through High School with their confidence intact. From his own experience with dyslexia and raising children with dyslexia he has developed an online training business designed to equip and encourage dyslexic teenagers in their journey through High School.
His company produces Mindmap videos full of tips and encouragement to help understand dyslexia and to thrive in High School.
He is the designer and senior tutor of the first Mind mapping course for Dyslexic Teenagers called the BulletMap Method.

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Caron Trout #38

How parents new to dyslexia deal with information overwhelm and the shock of discovering under resourced teachers

Dyslexia Explored #38

Caron trout

Listen to the talk while on the go from your favorite podcast app or click here to listen to this episode from iTunes. Don’t forget to leave reviews while your at it.

We go deep in this podcast about how parents new to dyslexia have to deal with the overwhelm of information. Then the shock of how under informed teachers are in educating dyslexics. The need to find outside help and community to find a way through the challenges to the solutions. With Caron Trout, a mother of a 14 year old, who discovered he was dyslexic and became one of the founding members of BVKid from Boulder, Colorado.

Here are some snippets of what we covered.

The Wake up call:  “Another parent said …‘Hey, I think your kid is really struggling …”

The Assessment:  “….I just wish we had sooner.”

Dealing with the overwhelm: “…trying to trust which information is really good … “

Finding help outside:  “…not having good information… breaks your trust as a parent. You’ve got to go outside…”

Trusting under trained professionals: “I really trusted the professionals… Teachers were under-trained and not very well informed… that was also a shock”

Confidentiality creating shame: “…making … learning differences a taboo is really a shaming experience. We need to … talk openly about it.”

Making Dyslexia visible with Role Models: Children “…need to see what being dyslexic looks like.”

Being afraid to make waves.: “I think sometimes we’re afraid to make waves.”

Being alone is hard- Connect: “ I would just like to encourage other parents to connect with each other… Being alone is such a hard place.”

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Top Quotes and full transcription

“Another parent came up to me; ‘Hey, I think your kid is really struggling and not making the progress that he should be making’… ‘One day he’ll wake up and he’ll become a reader. It’ll happen over summer’… But I pursued that. I didn’t really trust that anymore. And thankfully I went and got my kid tested privately.”

“Getting an assessment was a really positive experience and I just wish we had had that sooner.”

“Trying to drink out of that fire hydrant of information is a huge challenge. And then trying to trust which information is really good because it all takes a ton of resources and time. So you don’t want to waste your resources, your financial situation. You don’t want to waste any more of your kids’ time. So you’ve got to act immediately on the information that you have and you’ve got to trust that you’re doing the right thing. “

“After speaking to educators, within the school district and administrators and not having good information, not knowing what to do, being misled, misinformed, it kind of breaks your trust as a parent. You’ve got to go outside of that situation and find the tools and the instruction and the expert help that your child needs. So regaining trust I guess was also a huge challenge.”

“I really trusted that the professionals would put kids first and know exactly what they were doing. I was just a parent and I looked to them for guidance and sadly that wasn’t in place. It wasn’t in place for them either actually. The deeper we dived into the situation, we realize that teachers were under-trained and not very well informed. They didn’t have the resources and the training that they needed. So that was something that was also a shock”

“We definitely need to respect people’s and families’ and kids’ confidentiality, but making all of those types of learning differences a taboo is really a shaming experience. We do need to think about how do we normalize this in our classroom. I mean we have a lot of talk about diversity of all kinds. Having neurological diversity is just another difference We really do need to normalize it, name it, and talk openly about it.”

“They do need to see that some of their teachers have dyslexia, some of their tutors or adults that they admire that are close to them. They need to see what being dyslexic looks like.”

“I think sometimes we’re afraid to make waves and sometimes you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet and that’s very uncomfortable and uh, no one feels good about that. But sometimes that has to be done and then you have to move on.”

“I would just like to encourage other parents to connect with each other in their own local community… Being alone is such a hard place to be, for your kid and for you… it doesn’t have to be action oriented, it can just be emotional support… do something that connects you and your community.”

Darius:             00:00:00 Welcome to dyslexia explored where we look into people’s stories, their dyslexia stories. And today I’ve got a mother of a 14 year old, who discovered he was dyslexic and became one of the founding members of BVKid from Boulder, Colorado. May I introduce Caron Trout? Caron is great to have you on the podcast.

Caron Trout:        00:00:25 Hi Darius, thanks for inviting me. It’s a pleasure to talk to you.

Darius:             00:00:28 I’m looking forward to hearing your story. I know a little bit about your story, but I’d like to hear it all. So I’m going to ask you the usual nine questions. Uh, three main chunks, to hear your, your overall story, the beginning, what was the wake up call, what was the challenge and what rewards have you gained? And then we’ll go into what you learned on that journey, Influential learning moments, your experience of mind mapping, advice to your teenage self, what advice you’d give yourself as a parent. And then the final thing, what kind of tools are in your travel bag? And I’m sure every time I ask people these same questions, the answers end up being so interestingly different. So Caron, where did it start for you? What was it like in the beginning before dyslexia came on your radar?

Caron Trout:        00:01:24 Let me think back. Well, my husband and I were married for about 10 years before we even had kids because we knew that having kids was going to be such a big deal in our lives. But, we actually, little did we actually know that after waiting 10 years, we came back to Colorado and had our first son who was happy and healthy and I was so glad to move forward in my life. There’d been a lot of challenges in the past and I was ready to settle down and have a quiet family life. mended to parents. So yeah, it was, it was pretty normal. I will say though that,

Caron Trout:        00:02:31 on pediatric visits, we really did miss the early warning signs of what we call in America. We call learning differences, which really the main one is dyslexia. And when we went to the pediatrician’s office, we really sort of passed over some milestones that we’re actually quite critical and that we missed. So late talking was one of the milestones that we really didn’t bring up in that office or underline that with the pediatrician. I knew my kid was bright and smart and healthy and happy. I didn’t think late talking was such a red flag. Things like, other milestones; like tying shoe laces or trouble with sounds in words, not being able to rhyme, things like that. I didn’t emphasize heavily enough to the, doctor, to the pediatrician I really missed and he missed. So that was a missed opportunity really. Later on I noticed that my kid was having trouble with sequencing like days of the week. That was probably when he was five, six years old. I knew that he didn’t understand months of the year or, things in order, the alphabet. So those things to me were always, people would, oh he’s a boy, it will happen later. So those early warning signs is a bit of a thing that we missed.

Darius:             00:04:10 So what was the wake up call for you? What was that moment which sort of switched you on to realizing you had a challenge on your hand?

Caron Trout:        00:04:20 Well, we did everything that we thought we were doing correctly to support our kids. So literacy rich environment, all of the educational activities, probably over emphasized on a bit too much of a tiger mom. I think internally I knew that something was not quite right and I was overcompensating. So trips to the library all the time, um, things like that. Always going into the kindergarten teacher asking if he was on track, why is he not making progress with reading? And then it was at the end of first grade when another parent came up to me and parents volunteer in the classroom a lot in Colorado, especially in the early grades to do reading with children. And like me, she was in the classroom a lot listening. So she had been listening to my kid reading a fair amount and she told me after school one day, Hey, I think your kid is really struggling and not making the progress that he should be making. You might want to investigate that. And I immediately went back to another meeting with the teacher again with the same concerns. And the teacher would always say, well, you know, he’s a boy. Boys do things later. One day he’ll wake up and he’ll become a reader. It’ll happen over summer. Things like that. It’s, kinda sad because it stops early intervention from happening, but I pursued that. I didn’t really trust that anymore. And thankfully I went and got my kid tested privately.

Darius:             00:06:14 That seems to be the main way to go to actually get some answers, isn’t it?

Caron Trout:        00:06:20 Yeah. It seems to be a similar story for almost every parent I talked to sadly.

Darius:             00:06:28 How did you go about, you know, working out who to get it, to test him and so forth?

Caron Trout:        00:06:34 Well really parents are a great resource and I found that most of my great information has come from other parents and other parents supporting me. And in our community we have a university, a testing center is, and we were able to get on the waitlist and go there. So that was very helpful to have that. Although it was a long wait list.

Darius:             00:07:05 How old was he at that point that he got tested?

Caron Trout:        00:07:08 So we pushed for testing at the end of first grade. So he would have been about seven at that point but we knew by the time the wait lists came along and he got tested. We had a diagnosis at the beginning of second grade.

Darius:             00:07:33 Okay, What was it like getting that assessment for you?

Caron Trout:        00:07:37 Um, it was great. I was really glad not to be in the clouds anymore. It was really great to have hard information. It was great to have a name. It was great to have a diagnosis. It was great to have expert help. It was like a curtain was lifted and suddenly there were things we could do about it. Ways we could help him. There was a pathway, kind of, some advice. What could we do? Yeah, it was a really positive experience and I just wish we had had that sooner.

Darius:             00:08:17 Yeah. So what was the challenge? I mean often people, you know, when I ask people what was the challenge, it can be different for everyone, but for you, what was your main challenge in all of that?

Caron Trout:        00:08:32 I think my main challenge was trying to regain trust and trying to like drinking out of a fire hydrant. All of the information that comes down to you in that new situation. There’s tons of research, a lot of books to read, a lot of parent advice, a lot of expert information and you’re just trying to assimilate all of that information very quickly and act upon it. So trying to drink out of that fire hydrant of information is a huge challenge. And then trying to trust which information is really good because it all takes a ton of resources and time. So you don’t want to waste your resources, your financial situation. You don’t want to waste any more of your kids’ time. So you’ve got to act immediately on the information that you have and you’ve got to trust that you’re doing the right thing. So after speaking to educators, within the school district and administrators and not having good information, not knowing what to do, being misled, misinformed, it kind of breaks your trust as a parent. You’ve got to go outside of that situation and find the tools and the instruction and the expert help that your child needs. So regaining trust I guess was also a huge challenge.

Darius:             00:10:18 Information overwhelm and trust. Because what I’m hearing if I’m right, is that I think you had assumed that the schools will have processed and digested all of this kind of information and would be able to guide you on all of that. But you realized you had to do that on your own.

Caron Trout:        00:10:42 Yeah, that was a huge shock. I really trusted that the professionals would put kids first and know exactly what they were doing. I was just a parent and I looked to them for guidance and sadly that wasn’t in place. It wasn’t in place for them either actually. The deeper we dived into the situation, we realize that teachers were under-trained and not very well informed. They didn’t have the resources and the training that they needed. So that was something that was also a shock. And I started to see that there was a lot of unfairness and injustice in this situation for the kids. The equity wasn’t there for the kids or the opportunities for the kids. And when you have such a large population, one in five with some range of learning difference, the most common is dyslexia, then you start to that it’s a systematic issue. It’s certainly not personal. So, and the teachers want to do the best job they can, but unfortunately they don’t have the support either. And so you start to see 360 degrees around the situation.

Darius:             00:12:15 Yeah. You talked about resources and so on. So basically I’m guessing that you’ve, you, you had to spend quite a bit of money to give him what he needed.

Caron Trout:        00:12:27 Well, you know, as a parent, your willing to sacrifice everything you have and in that sacrifice, but we were so lucky that there is near us, a private but nonprofits school that has the expert, Orton Gillingham type instruction that’s multisensory that these kids really need to have to be able to learn to read and write and do math in some cases. So we were very lucky that, that, that school existed in our community.

Darius:             00:13:05 Wow. So you took him out for a few years to get him trained up literate through the Orton Gillingham system and other approaches in the private school there?

Caron Trout:        00:13:20 Yeah, we were very lucky to have that. Hillside is the school in Boulder, Colorado. That is the nonprofit, but private school, it’s a partial day school. So that’s quite well thought out really because it enables kids to get their instruction, during the day when they’re most, awake, and least tired. And then the other part of the day they can go back to their public neighborhood school if they wish to to do the other part of their school day so they get to keep their community, but they also get to experience success in reading and the joy of learning, which is really what happened for my kid. So it wasn’t that you know that he got to, it was a lot of things that were quite complex, but most of all what happened to him there was that he found out he could learn, he could read, he could learn to write, that there were lots of other kids like him. It got normalized and he didn’t feel isolated or alone, that he was part of a huge community of kids. That all were sharing very similar experiences. And I think that that normalizing was very empowering for him and it was great for our entire family because suddenly we were not isolated anymore. Suddenly we were having very similar experiences as many other families and that actually is really huge.

Darius:             00:15:03 Yeah, It’s actually one of the things that I’ve seen with a lot of my students is that the isolation is one of the strange byproducts of being dyslexic in school in that for example, as a school pupil, you get taken away on your own and you’re taught one to one and it’s great, but you know, you’re still being isolated as it were. And also parents as well through the confidentiality thing. Teachers and Schools don’t go, oh by the way, Molly over there, her son’s dyslexic as well, why don’t you have a chat? They’re like, we can’t do that because of confidentiality and all that jazz. So it’s, it’s amazing how isolated you can feel eventually.

Caron Trout:        00:15:54 Yeah. And that is really something that needs to change. I mean, we definitely need to respect people’s and families’ and kids’ confidentiality, but making a learning difference, dyslexia, dysgraphia, Adhd, dyscalculia making all of those types of learning differences a taboo is really a shaming experience is shaming for the child, shaming for the adult. Really we do need to think about how do we normalize this in our classroom. I mean we have a lot of talk about diversity of all kinds. Having neurological diversity is just another difference and we need to, there’s so many kids that have and so many people that have neurological diversity of one kind or another. We really do need to normalize it, name it, and talk openly about it. You know why we’re not talking about this in the classroom. It’s the next step. I think that we really need to start taking.

Darius:             00:17:09 What I’ve been trying to come up with an analogy that actually, you know, really helps kids and parents get their heads around dyslexia and that has practical benefits. And let me run this one by you. I’ve been working on this one. Okay. Okay. It’s like dyslexia is like driving a stick shift Ferrari or learning to drive with a stick shift Ferrari in a world where your teachers only know automatic cars. And so you know, your teachers tell the class, go into drive, put your foot on the gas and start moving forward together and let’s all move in this direction. And the kid puts the, the gear into drive first gear. They push it forward, they copy everyone else to go into first gear. It makes a bit of a crunch, but they can put their foot on the gas and they start lurching forward and going and then they just carry on going and it goes up another gear, another gear and other gear.

Darius:             00:18:16 And this kid stuck in first gear just putting their foot down to the gas, revving up going, yeah, yeah. I’m trying to keep up trying to keep up. And they’re like burning out their engine. And really they need to be taught how to drive by a person who knows how to drive a stick shift car. And that’s a dyslexic teacher or tutor? Yes, because they know how to do stick shift gear changes. Now the Ferrari, the cars are no different really. You know what I mean? You’ve got different kinds of cars, but this one’s a stick shift transmission and that one’s an automatic and 90% of cars in America automatic and 10% are stick shifted. And it’s the same with dyslexia. It’s like saying, Oh yeah, I’m a stick shift car, you know? Oh, does that mean you’re stupid? No, I’m a stick shift Ferrari mate. You know.

Caron Trout:        00:19:06 Well, I do. Yeah, I agree. I mean, kids really do need to see adults who are dyslexic around them. Role modeling success. You know, they do need to see that some of their teachers have dyslexia, some of their tutors or adults that they admire that are close to them. They need to see what being dyslexic looks like. Right. And they don’t see that in a regular public school setting. They don’t see that Ferrari inaction. Right. They only feel. They’re feeling the burnout that is happening there. You know, as their gears of getting crunched, they’re feeling that burnout because their effort is, they’re trying so hard, you know, to learn to read, to be successful, to be exactly like all of the other kids around them. And a lot of them are faking it, you know, using memorization of sight words. They’re just memorizing whole books, small books sometimes. Um, yeah. So there, you know, and they are getting burned out. They are getting their gears, you know, crunched because there there’s no pathway for them to be who they are, you know, to be that dyslexic kid with dyslexia or themselves the Ferrari. So yeah, they get to do a little bit more as adults.

Caron Trout:        00:20:44 Yeah. It’s a fun analogy. Oh, it makes great sense. Yeah. I think also I think kids would love that analogy, so especially teenagers.

Darius:             00:20:55 Yeah. Yeah. The interesting thing about stick shift cars, a lot of stick shift cars are stick shifts because they’re specialist vehicles, like a racing car, a stick shift car because you need a stick shift car to be able to change the gears at just the right moments going around corners and doing different maneuvers and things like that. Or with a very big truck you need a truck’s got like 16 gears often more because it needs specific gear for specific scenarios.

Caron Trout:        00:21:33 Yeah. You do see a lot of kids with very unique strengths and talents and in school the focus is really on their deficits and their struggles and it’s tough. Our kids with Dyslexia have so many strengths. Those strengths do start to shine as adults. But yeah, it would be great to have them in an educational environment that would, recognize and bring out their strengths. Like a lot of hands on learning activities, experiential learning, having a growth mindset. All of those, educational models that we find in schools, there are starting to be more and more and more opportunities for those kinds of things to come to the fore. But again, it takes, it takes a different shift in the culture in education for that to happen. And, and in the meantime we have to get there, we have to change that system a little bit to, for example, to give kids the instruction that they need to have to be able to read, so that if one kind of instruction is not working, we need to be able to offer them an instruction that is working for them and is proven in science to work. We need that. So I’m not sure why this shift is so slow to happen or isn’t happening. So that’s,

Darius:             00:23:09 I imagine I’m dyslexic myself and I remember my school, and I’m sure it’s kind of like if a teacher knows a child’s dyslexic and all they know is driving an automatic car, but they also know the child’s a stick shift driver and they’ve got stalled in the middle of the road, which often happens if you’re not very good with your clutch control on stick shift driving, then you can bring out the sheet that says, right, okay, put on the handbrake, you know, start the engine again. Oh, take yourself out of gear, put the clutch and start the engine. Go into first gear, you know, lift up the clutch a little bit, put some gas down, and then feel the bite, drop the handbrake, and then let’s start moving off again. Like if you are an automatic driver and you didn’t know how to do that, that would be kind of like, oh my goodness, is that what you need to do to just start driving again? And it’s like, yes, it is every single time for the rest of your life with that stick shift vehicle. And eventually it becomes automatic. But you need someone to be able to lay those procedures down and that’s what your talking about.

Caron Trout:        00:24:25 Yeah. You definitely, this is where parents come in, right? I mean, when you’re a parent and you know, things are not going right for your kid, you’re gonna try and get your kids needs met. That, what happened to me was that I re what really bothered me, apart from the journey of getting my kids educational needs met, I was really concerned about the inequity of the, of the situation and the lack of educational opportunity for these kids. And so, you know, when, that really bothered me and it bothered me to such an extent that I really wanted to do something about it. And so when, it was time for my kid to leave Hillside, I really felt like we were reentering public school. The public school system again was like going out into the cold, the safety net was coming away. And I really wanted my safety net was the community and parents and normalizing dyslexia for my kid was him being in contact with other kids with dyslexia and knowing that he wasn’t alone and isolated, that he was actually very normal and a lot of kids are having similar experiences. So, I was glad that when I met other parents who were of a like mind as me and one of them suggested starting a more formal group that was action orientated. So that was great.

Darius:             00:26:13 You started a Facebook group as well, didn’t you?

Caron Trout:        00:26:16 Yeah, I did. I didn’t want to have that feeling of isolation that we were referring to earlier. I wanted to be part of that community. So, I took a risk, I took a jump and something I was not comfortable with, I didn’t see myself as an organizer or somebody that should be in control of anything particularly. But I had an idea because you know, as you know, dyslexic people are full of ideas and talents. So I took the risk and started this group and I wanted the group to be more private and closed because I know that parents will only really talk about their real concerns if they feel in a pretty safe environment. So I made the group, private and closed and only added in other parents that I knew who were also in the same school district. And from there, uh, quickly we got to a couple of hundred parents and then started meeting other parents who actually wanted to do something like I did.

Darius:             00:27:28 How long ago was this?

Caron Trout:        00:27:30 That was a couple of years ago and the last couple of years a lot. A lot of work has happened.

Darius:             00:27:37 Okay. So a couple of, a couple of years ago, a couple of hundred people together in this private group. And you’re chatting quite frequently, nearly every day in the group, did you say?

Caron Trout:        00:27:50 yeah, it was a group that was about research, self education, community venting. Sometimes you know, you need to safe space to be able to talk about your challenges. But also another opportunity arose. I really wanted to know what my civil rights were as a parent and what educational rights my child had. And, fortunately, the private school that we had been at organizes regular experts speakers. And so I organized with them for civil rights lawyer to come and do a presentation for the parents in the community. And it was at that meeting with the civil rights lawyer that I met the other parents that really wanted to take some action. So it was good to hear about what our civil rights were and it was good to meet those parents. And, and then things started really moving forward.

Darius:             00:29:00 And is that when you went to the, started doing the kid, the BVKid Community?

Caron Trout:        00:29:08 Yes. One of the brilliant parents suggested that we follow a model that came out of a parent group in Ohio, because we didn’t need to recreate the wheel and we followed their model and code ourselves. Boulder valley kid identified with dyslexia. We created a more formal group and he was a businessman, Michael Busie, and we have a great team of talented parents, um, who are in a quite organized and able to achieve various different things, you know, in their range of talent. So it’s been a good team.

Darius:             00:29:53 I, I’ve, I’ve seen this with other guests we’ve had on board, on the one hand you see the challenge that’s immediate. You know the problem is systemic, that the system isn’t teaching your stick shift child to learn how to drive using a stick shift that they’re just in an automatic mindset and that you’ve got this dilemma. Do I change the system and wait for the system to catch up for my child or do I go outside the system and supplement it? And you’ve done both, you’ve supplemented it and then once the boat is steady started to see how it can change for future kids coming along. Is that about right?

Caron Trout:        00:30:39 Yeah. I mean the work of BVKid has had goals and objectives and we’ve also as parents been trying to meet our own kids’ needs. So, yeah, we’ve been doing this two different kinds of work side by side. Yeah. The wave, the wave of change never catches up to your own child. Especially, if you’re at the front of that, of that wave, none of the, sadly none of the work has caught up to the high school years yet. We’ve made some small gains and some big gains for much younger kids. A lot of, about a hundred parents went to speak to the school board in the spring of 2017 I believe. And that was quite powerful because not only was our committee involved, but the larger community of parents who are facing the same challenges were also involved. But yeah, so it’s been a lot of work on the part of many parents. And if you go to our BVKID, so it’s BVKID.org website. You’ll see the, the work that we’ve done. There’s a good area where it shows the first two years what we’ve achieved there for other parents that might be interested in, in creating some of their own change, in their own school districts.

Darius:             00:32:17 Yes. So people who aren’t necessarily in Boulder Valley can, can see that as an example and replicate it. But then also people who are in Boulder Valley, Colorado can maybe connect with you guys. They may not know of you yet.

Caron Trout:        00:32:32 Sure. And, and also another amazing thing that has happened all along the front range and also in the mountains of Colorado. Other parent groups have formed in various other school districts. So it’s, the model has really connected with other parents and spread. We actually also have Colorado kid, which is trying to change state educational policy or create some or do some work for statewide educational improvement for literacy. So it’s great to spread the work around and it’s great when parents work together and contribute towards this quite enormous lift because changing the culture and education is a huge lift. But we really do have to normalize dyslexia and empower our kids. And I think that that’s also reflect starting to reflect nationally and even globally from some of the stuff I’ve heard happening in Australia and in other areas. So I think that this is one aspect and part of a big start of a big thing that’s happening.

Darius:             00:33:59 Great. Like we’ve just heard from you, I always ask what the reward has been and we’ve seen very much the reward that you, you’ve got from this, that giving to others. But could you tell us a little bit about the rewards you’ve personally got from meeting this challenge head on and what reward have you got so far?

Caron Trout:        00:34:21 I’ve seen how my own kid has been empowered by being embarrassed by his mother, talking at various meetings and at the school district and being the, sometimes the painful voice in the room that has to just speak the truth about the challenges he’s had. It witnessed seeing me do that stuff. But it’s also showing him he can advocate for himself and he can make changes at his classroom level, for example. So he’s very open. He’s very open about his dyslexia. And he’s done presentations about dyslexia. In fact, he’s a yes ambassador, which is, Youth Examples of Self advocacy. It’s a fantastic program that we have in Colorado, which, he’s now an ambassador and he has a couple of younger, um, mentees. He does presentations with other ambassadors at various settings, schools and, and community locations. So he goes out and does presentations. He’s in eighth grade, so he’s 14. So he’s starting to do that. And I think that’s really empowering. So really breaking, so really breaking the cycle of educational failure and just knowing that you’re dyslexic, knowing that that’s normal, not having any shame or guilt about it, just being able to move how that enables you to move on with your life really. So I’m so glad that that cycle has been broken in our family on a personal level. That’s been wonderful.

Darius:             00:36:16 Yeah, that’s interesting. You mentioned that, you know, breaking the cycle and your family, and it’s something that I’ve heard in other interviews. John Hicks, for example, mentioned this briefly, when you get this dyslexia assessment, it’s not just something that wakes up for you, but it can be for grandparents and uncles and aunties and so on who were like, oh, well, maybe I’m dyslexic, et cetera.

Caron Trout:        00:36:45 Yes. And for some people that’s a relief and that’s wonderful. And for other people they just really don’t want to go there. They’ve led their whole lives in a different place and that’s not their experience. So different people have different reactions, but I think for future generations, I think it’s, it’s just going to be a completely normal thing and it’s not going to create the kind of a challenge. I think it’s going to enable people to play more into their strengths.

Darius:             00:37:28 Yes. That’s the first time I’ve heard of it as the sort of interrupting, uh, a negative cycle in, in generationally as it were, and leaving a legacy for future generations, you know?

Caron Trout:        00:37:43 Yeah. I think I didn’t, I was just wonderful. You can’t get much better than that.

Darius:             00:37:48 That’s brilliant. Yes. And I’ve kind of known that when I’ve, it’s funny, but since you just said that, it’s kind of like, yes, that is very powerful and not to be taken for granted. I’m going to be doing an interview this week with a dentist who’s very successful and he’s just about to go and get a dyslexia assessment. He’s a friend of mine and he’s like, oh, I don’t know if I really want to be doing this, but I do want to be doing this and I don’t know if I want to be doing this and this conflict inside. But once you do it, then it leaves a legacy for future generations because you can say unequivocally, my father is dyslexic, he’s got working memory of x, he’s got IQ of x, he’s got a processing speed of x. You know, it’s quantifiable and future generations can go, well, yeah, my, grandfather was very intelligent, but he had a processing speed, slow processing speed or whatever. So let’s move on to the next section. That was great. Thank you very much for sharing all that. The next section is about learning, what you’re learning moments, how you learnt in that process. Because a lot of the parents and tutors and teachers who are listening to this are thinking about preteens and high school and they’re thinking, in this blizzard of information, you know, what’s the best way for me to learn, et cetera. So that’s why we have this kind of section here. I was actually, before we go into, I was going to ask you about high school. You’re facing high school now. How are you feeling about high school coming up?

Caron Trout:        00:39:37 Oh, I feel so incredibly nervous about high school just because those years are crucial for continuing education. Yeah. I know that my kid’s going to be more and more independent and I trust him actually to be independent in terms of being able to advocate for himself, knowing how he learns best, knowing what doesn’t work for him. He’s learned an incredible amount about himself. Maybe more than a lot of other kids get to high school by this point. But I’m still very nervous about high school.

Darius:             00:40:26 It been through, because it’s a whole another set of challenges, isn’t it? What, what do you know about, I mean to you and your parents groups and so on. Do you talk about it? Because one of the things that I’m intrigued by and the whole dyslexia world is that there’s so much talk about the early years, the reading, writing, reading to learn that learning to read and reading to learn. But then high school I go and look for information in there and I’m like, Gosh, you know, there’s not very much there, but maybe that’s just my experience. What’s it been for you?

Caron Trout:        00:41:04 No, it’s a void of information on, on the, on the opposite end. It’s a very odd experience actually. Some of the things that concern me is that even though my kid in America, it’s called an IEP, an individualized education plan, and it’s a Law, a document based in law. It has accommodations are meant to equal the playing field. So all your assistive technology is in there. and these are civil rights to mitigate disability and access the curriculum. Unfortunately, high school teachers have even less training or almost or no training on what disabilities are, what learning differences are. They’re really expecting to see a classroom full of kids that are experts in reading and writing. And some of them really don’t know why a kid can’t do that. High school teachers, like all teachers are very busy. They may or may not get time to look at those accommodations when you have a class of 30 kids or maybe more, do you really have time to know which accommodations go to whom to individualize and differentiate all of this instruction?

Caron Trout:        00:42:34 I mean, it is a great deal of work. So how do you really navigate that as a student in the room? How do you really help support your child around that and support the teacher without that becoming any kind of confrontation? How can you make it feel supportive for that teacher? You don’t want to take up a lot of their time, but you have to, you know, your kid’s going to be advocating, but you know, maybe it’s not going to be perfect. That advocacy that your kid is doing, they’re doing it as we know, they are learning how to advocate. They’re not experts and they’re certainly not a teacher’s PR. So, you know, as a parent you have to really step lightly while acknowledging the expertise of the teacher. They may not know anything about a learning difference and you have to navigate that. So that’s, that’s one of the challenges.

Darius:             00:43:40 Where have you found information on this? I mean, I can tell from, you said you, you’re very, uh, got yourself clued up and you’ve formed this organization, helped found it, et cetera, you know, where have you found information for your next challenge?

Caron Trout:        00:43:58 Um, there are some good websites out there. Wrights Law, W, R I G. H wrights law is a good one for American law. Um, that will help give parents some guidance towards their legal civil rights and such and understood.org is another great website for lots of different kinds of information, maybe not quite as much, legal information and from again from other parents in the group and from being involved in my school district. So every time I meet a teacher for example, I’m asking them questions. I went to all the high school tours and open houses they have for families in, in our area. And I’m asking a lot of questions. So I’m doing a lot of my own research and fact finding.

Darius:             00:45:02 Okay. So a little diversion there about the high school years because many of the people listening to this podcast, because I podcast very focused in on that preteen, teenage year high school scenario because there is a gap in that area, people sharing and I really want to increase that area of knowledge and people sharing and sometimes just listening to a podcast in your car or as you run and so on, as much more easy to access. Than reading through lots of stuff on the web. So going to, yeah, you’re learning journey. Um, what was the most influential learning moments for you in this whole process? How do you learn? Was it, was it people, a group? Of course, you know, what sort of things really stand out for you as learning moments?

Caron Trout:        00:45:55 Well, audio books are great. Oh yeah. If I have to try and, yeah, if I have to try and get a whole book digested, that’s, that’s going to be an audio book. Bite size pieces on Facebook groups are fantastic for me, just because digesting huge long articles takes a lot of time that you don’t have as a parent and also when you’re exhausted parent that had a whole another layer. Social media, in some ways it’s been fantastic. And in other ways it’s not so great. So you have to balance that out. Going to workshops, going to conferences, going to meetings a multitude of ways.

Darius:             00:46:46 Which ones stood out for you? A shoutout for someone who did a workshop or a meeting that you thought, Gosh, that was really important for me

Caron Trout:        00:46:53 Oh, well, well, we’re very lucky in Colorado. We have a gray international, a branch of the international dyslexia association called, they do as a an event called Reading the Rockies, which is a weekend of, presentations and workshops and such. They do that as an annual event that’s been very informative. And also we organize our own symposium. BVkid organizes one for the last two years in boulder that has experts, an intervention motivational expert speaker and we have experts that come on, are available for free to the parent community. And also this year it had a teenage kid panel that was, answering questions for elementary aged kids, which was extremely well attended and a lovely, empowering thing for kids on both sides of that equation. Yeah. So, we hope that there’s going to be another one, in the fall of this year, so that’ll look out for that. in the, in the community, it’s at the local university. So we have a BVKid Symposium.

Darius:             00:48:20 Brilliant. Mind Mapping. What’s your mind mapping story? I’m fascinated by different people’s mind mapping experiences obviously because I’m passionate about mind mapping. So what’s your experience of mind mapping been through this journey?

Caron Trout:        00:48:34 Oh, well my husband’s actually used it quite a lot with um, our teenage son. We’ve, use it in, in various kinds of ways. So most of all it’s been around writing papers and essay writing of different kinds, different types of papers and we’ve used it as a tool and in that way. Well, we mainly do it by hand sometimes on occasion we’ll download some sort of graphic organizer that gives you an outline, for a specific type of writing goal that you want, like a compare and contrast paper or expository writing or something like that. But, but really we use it to write down creative ideas and how you’re going to support them. It’s kind of interesting because using mind mapping and organizing on paper is really a reflection of your own thinking and really it gets to be a tool for your executive functioning. Really personally, I feel like if I’m writing stuff down and organizing it, I’m really organizing my own thinking and that leads into my own processing. And also you get into things like sequencing your making judgments as you go along, you’re assessing your information. I’m really, it’s quite powerful in, it’s really a multi-sensory type of tall, I feel like, because when you’re, often, you’re talking to yourself as you doing it or talking to, you’re talking to your kid, you’re both working together on something. So yeah, it’s been, it’s definitely a tool that we use.

Darius:             00:50:44 Brilliant. How did you learn?

Caron Trout:        00:50:47 I think intuitively just intuitively. I think you just get a piece of paper and you’d just start organizing things, writing things down, creating your bubbles and your lines and your, you know, your main points and get your color coding out. And, so really it kind of intuitively comes up I think.

Darius:             00:51:10 Brilliant. Brilliant. Thank you. That’s great. Next question. What advice would you give your teenage self now that’s often if you’re already dyslexic, are you dyslexic?

Caron Trout:        00:51:24 Well, I think I’m, I’ve never been clinically diagnosed. My thought is that I’m mildly dyslexic and I have terrible spelling.

Darius:             00:51:33 Okay. In my experience when someone says mildly dyslexic, then that means they’re moderately dyslexic. And if someone says they’re a moderate dyslexic, then they’re probably extremely dyslexic. My daughter, we thought it was mildly dyslexic and was actually told by an educational psychologist. He looked at her and said, look, she’s just got some treats. She’s not that dyslexic, she’s not dyslexic. And we were like, well, my wife was going through cancer at the time. We decided not to pursue it any further. And we got her done properly just a year ago. And no, actually two or three months ago. And she’s extremely dyslexic. And we were like, oh my goodness, me. And what we thought were just mild traits or the very significant dyslexia, much more significant than myself, for example. So anyway, so mildly dyslexic. So then you’re the one then aren’t you? He’s got it from you probably then.

Caron Trout:        00:52:32 Well, I think my husband also. He’s dyslexic as well. Yeah. He’s maybe read one book. He’s entire life. So he really does not like reading at all. I read much more than him, but also he has so many amazing strengths that you associate with dyslexia. He has a very problem solving engineering, you know, brilliant creative ideas. So he much more fits that part of the profile. I just can’t, I just can’t spell and I am so tired when I read. and I have to reread for comprehension. So I’m rereading things maybe three times before I fully get the comprehension, especially if the language is different. Like if it’s about art history and I don’t really familiar with art history language, it takes me three reads to really get the comprehension. But, but you were going to ask about advice.

Darius:             00:53:42 Yes. So if you were to give advice to a teenager, what would you say?

Caron Trout:        00:53:46 Well. For any teenager really it would be the same kind of advice. I would, I would say trust yourself. It’s very difficult when, when teenagers are just coming to so many new experiences as a more mature person. But just listen to your inner voice and trust yourself as much as possible. Ask for help. Don’t be worried about asking for help and support. And if that adult that you’re asking is not listening, move on to another adult that will help you. You know, don’t, don’t waste time trying to convince an adult if they’re not willing to help you and support you. Just find another one. You know, life is too short. So apart from believing in yourself and listening to your, you know, your inner voice and asking for help, Do that in a courteous and professional way. and do your own research and, you know, use Google. Find out as much as you can about what you need help with. People will often meet you where you are. So be courteous and professional as you can be in order to get the help you need, an advocate for yourself and also help others. If you say that other kids around you are acting out and behaving badly, you know, think a little deeper about what is that about? Maybe you can be helpful. Um, don’t underestimate your own ability to create change in a situation. So I mean, that’s what teenagers love to do, right? So they love to be independent. So empower yourself and you know, step up and, and do that for yourself. So, yeah. Yeah.

Darius:             00:55:57 And advice to yourself as a mom, if I was to send you a card in six months time or you were to send yourself a card with a six month delay and it had a message on the front and on the inside, what would it say?

Caron Trout:        00:56:15 Well, I would say, parents and to myself, you need to forgive yourself for all the mistakes that you make a move on. You know, you can learn from your mistakes, but you also have to forgive yourself that you, you know, you go through this process of grieving for your kid and for all of the mistakes that you’ve made along the way. Forgive yourself. And also, um, don’t worry about speaking the truth about situations. People find that very uncomfortable. Um, you can be diplomatic and you can be kind about it, but you have to not worry. Let that flow over you about speaking the truth about your situation. Don’t let that stop you from advocating for your kid and getting what you need. I think sometimes we’re afraid to make waves and sometimes you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet and that’s very uncomfortable and uh, no one feels good about that. But sometimes that has to be done and then you have to move on.

Darius:             00:57:31 Yeah. Sometimes you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet. Okay. I’m writing that down on. Got a cracked egg with a sad face. Okay. So that’s, that’s wonderful. So final questions. We’ve covered a lot here, but, it’s often useful to know what kind of tools you have in your travel back on this journey. What kind of apps or I don’t, you talked about organizers there and PDFs and resources and things like that that come to mind that you would recommend to other parents of teenagers and preteens that moment. What are you using?

Caron Trout:        00:58:20 We use a lot of audiobooks. My son’s become pretty good at voice dictation. I think that is actually a real skill that you have to acquire because speaking sentences doesn’t necessarily sound so good to a reader. So I’m thinking through a complete sentence and dictating that becomes a skill that you have to really develop. Because again, that comes down to your executive functioning. Can you form a complete sentence? Is that sentence is going to sound good within a paragraph. How is that going to become a sensible and within the context of the paper that you’re writing? So that’s his real skill. Um, Google classroom has been great for us because because of the executive functioning and the ADHD, losing papers, losing homework, tracking everything, it’s huge. It’s so hard. What is Google classroom? Google classroom is a tool that they use here locally in our school district in our schools to communicate with kids to put homework, a place where kids can do their homework online so they can submit it online without having to have a paper that they have to return to school. So you know, when they’re typing out their homework or when they’re doing, note taking or, or quizzes or presentations or Podcast that some, one of the times they had to do a podcast, create their own Podcast, they can submit all of that through Google classroom. So they didn’t have to remember five things to take back to school the next morning. And also my son has this thing called read and write bar, which I think is on a Chromebook. I’m not actually quite sure, but he uses all of those tools for spell check and word prediction and voice dictation, things like that.

Darius:             01:00:31 What did you learn all this stuff from, from a dyslexia teacher or yourself? I mean how much, how much have you relied on tutors and all of this?

Caron Trout:        01:00:41 Well, all of their information about assisted technology is really online on understood.org or you can just Google that and you can find a ton of information more than you could ever want about assistive technology. There’s a thousand voice to text, um, apps out there that the actual challenge around all of that is trying to streamline it and pick out the tools that are relevant for you. Going back to the, audio because I just wanted to mention about the audio books. Actually my son listens. He listens to audiobooks at more than the regular speed. He cranks the speed up to two or three times the speed for those audio books so he can listen and get information faster that way than just normal speaking rate. So he can, I think that’s more important as you get into the high school years because you’ve got to do a lot of reading and you only have so much time. So cranking the speed up on audiobooks and still getting the comprehension is a skill that you can acquire with experience over time.

Darius:             01:02:12 Yes, I do that often go up to two times or two and a half times and it’s just slightly too fast for me to understand. And once I’ve got to that speed, I then drop it down one notch and then I can understand it. That’s what I teach my students to do with my own videos. In fact, I say, you know, go double speed, push yourself to try and understand that at that speed and then drop it down a little bit and then you feel, oh yeah, I can get that.

Caron Trout:        01:02:42 Yeah. And it just depends on what you’re listening to and what you’re familiar, If you’re familiar with the content, you could probably get through it quicker. So yeah, it just, it depends on, on what the content is.

Darius:             01:02:56 Well, Caron, that’s been brilliant. That’s been a long, long chat to so much you’ve shared. Thank you so much. Is there anything you’d like to share finally with, the listeners, anything else that you’d like to chip in that isn’t part of all these questions I’ve asked?

Caron Trout:        01:03:14 Well, I guess I would just like to encourage other parents to connect with each other in their own local community. I think that’s really empowering. Being alone is such a hard place to be, for your kid and for you. So if you connect with other parents and do something that meets your own needs, whether, you know, it doesn’t have to be action oriented, it can just be emotional support. It can be whatever you need it to be. But I would just encourage others to not be alone, to get out there, to do something that connects you and your community. And it’s really, it might be really great. So I would just encourage that

Darius:             01:04:05 and Facebook groups. Is that useful way of doing that now still?

Caron Trout:        01:04:08 Well, it has been for us. It just depends. I mean, you’re probably not listening to this podcast if you’re not on some sort of social media or internet or something. But I think that can be a very powerful tool to combat, confidentiality in the isolation that happens there. I think in person is awesome too. Like the YES program for my kid going around and speaking about dyslexia to other students, you know, face to face. The most powerful moment for us was when he sat down at a YES program presentation and parents of very little kids came up to him and started asking him questions about technology in a lot of things. But really what they wanted to know was can my kids survive this journey? Is My kid going to be okay? And, it was very powerful to have that in a face to face interaction. are very, very meaningful. So in whatever way suits you, whether it’s social media or connecting in person, in whatever circumstance. Yeah. Just connecting with other people is great.

Darius:             01:05:30 Yeah, I’m in, I’m in Scotland here. There’s lots of local groups in Scotland through dyslexia Scotland. And that’s been one of the interesting ways that they’ve done things is intentionally had local chapters as it were of the group so that people are in close proximity to each other and it is very helpful. So Caron, thank you very much for jumping on the podcast and sharing your story. It’s been great. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Well, maybe we’ll here you again maybe in a year or two and you can maybe update us on, on how high school has gone and what the high school changes been between now and then.

Caron Trout:        01:06:26 Yeah, that would be wonderful. I just hope all my hair isn’t completely gray. It’s good. It’s a good job. This isn’t a, this is a podcast and not a skype interview

Darius:             01:06:38 well, I have to say if you’re doing all of that executive function type stuff, you are totally on the right track. I mean, that’s some impressive stuff at age 14 to be doing and getting them ready for high school. So I think that you’ve got a good, strong foundation there with all that stuff that you’re doing with the, the mind mapping, the Google work, the voice dictation, the audiobooks. Brilliant. Many children don’t start learning all of that stuff until they’re about 13-16 but it starts, he’s got a head start, which is great.

Caron Trout:        01:07:18 Yeah. That’s, it’s, it’s good. It’s good.

Darius:             01:07:21 Well, see you next time, Caron.

Caron Trout:        01:07:24 Okay. Thank you so much. Take care. Bye.

Links you might like to check out:

FREE WEBINAR:

How To Equip Dyslexic Children To Thrive In School

Darius Namdaran

Darius Namdaran

Darius is a teacher and MD of BulletMap™ Studio. He's passionate about helping dyslexic children, and their parents, get through High School with their confidence intact. From his own experience with dyslexia and raising children with dyslexia he has developed an online training business designed to equip and encourage dyslexic teenagers in their journey through High School.
His company produces Mindmap videos full of tips and encouragement to help understand dyslexia and to thrive in High School.
He is the designer and senior tutor of the first Mind mapping course for Dyslexic Teenagers called the BulletMap Method.

We’d really love to hear from you so please take a moment to share your thoughts or any ways we could help you on your journey with dyslexia.

Did you enjoy the video? Watch more animated Mind Map videos and find out more about Mindmapping and Dyslexia at our Blogs

William Stone part 2 #37

Study Strategies of a Dyslexic who just finished his Masters degree from Oxford

Dyslexia Explored #37

William Stone

Listen to the talk while on the go from your favorite podcast app or click here to listen to this episode from iTunes. Don’t forget to leave reviews while your at it.

His dyslexia assessor advised his parents that he couldn’t manage the state school due to his dyslexia but his parents found ways for him to adapt and learn in the state system. 14 yrs later William Stone has a first class honours from the University of Edinburgh and a distinction in his Masters degree from Oxford.

In the last episode, we heard William’s story from his identification at 10 to his graduation from Oxford.

In this episode, he shares his study strategies. We asked him to share how he managed to be methodical even with the ongoing chaos of dyslexia. He shared what worked for him and what didn’t.

Listen to the podcast and find out how William highlights keywords, how he reads and studies, how he takes notes and does flash cards, etc. I hope you enjoy this episode.  

If you want to listen to it play while you read the page click here:

Links you might like to check out:

William Stone’s portfolio: https://williamstone.myportfolio.com/ 
 
Darius Namdaran

Darius Namdaran

Darius is a teacher and MD of BulletMap™ Studio. He's passionate about helping dyslexic children, and their parents, get through High School with their confidence intact. From his own experience with dyslexia and raising children with dyslexia he has developed an online training business designed to equip and encourage dyslexic teenagers in their journey through High School.
His company produces Mindmap videos full of tips and encouragement to help understand dyslexia and to thrive in High School.
He is the designer and senior tutor of the first Mind mapping course for Dyslexic Teenagers called the BulletMap Method.

We’d really love to hear from you so please take a moment to share your thoughts or any ways we could help you on your journey with dyslexia.

Did you enjoy the video? Watch more animated Mind Map videos and find out more about Mindmapping and Dyslexia at our Blogs

FREE WEBINAR:

How To Equip Dyslexic Children To Thrive In School

BulletMap Academy Logo

William Stone part 1 #36

Distinction at Oxford University with Dyslexia. Writing History of art Essays!

Dyslexia Explored #36

William Stone

Listen to the talk while on the go from your favorite podcast app or click here to listen to this episode from iTunes. Don’t forget to leave reviews while your at it.

When Williams dyslexia assessor advised his parents that he probably couldn’t manage state school due to his dyslexia his parents decided to do everything they could to keep him in mainstream. Hear the story of William Stone who got first class honours at the University of Edinburgh and recently got a Distinction for his Masters degree in Oxford University for Art History.

He wants dyslexics to know they can definitely be academic if they want to. When he was diagnosed at 10 years. At 13, he was at the bottom of his ‘sets’ (Streamed classes) but something clicked at 14. It was certainly the intensive help and tutoring he was recieving. He shares how doing Karate could have had a positive effect on school too.

He initially wanted to be involved in film after high school but his principal persuaded him to aim for Cambridge. He got rejected twice. Going, instead, to the University of Edinburgh and took Art History where he gained first class honours. He got his place at Oxbridge going to Oxford to do his master. He was ready and fully equipped.

Listen to the podcast hear William’s story. This is Part 1 of 2. The second part is in the next episode. He shares more about his approach to high school and exams.

If you want to listen to it play while you read the page click here:

Links you might like to check out:

William Stone’s portfolio: https://williamstone.myportfolio.com/ 
 
Darius Namdaran

Darius Namdaran

Darius is a teacher and MD of BulletMap™ Studio. He's passionate about helping dyslexic children, and their parents, get through High School with their confidence intact. From his own experience with dyslexia and raising children with dyslexia he has developed an online training business designed to equip and encourage dyslexic teenagers in their journey through High School.
His company produces Mindmap videos full of tips and encouragement to help understand dyslexia and to thrive in High School.
He is the designer and senior tutor of the first Mind mapping course for Dyslexic Teenagers called the BulletMap Method.

We’d really love to hear from you so please take a moment to share your thoughts or any ways we could help you on your journey with dyslexia.

Did you enjoy the video? Watch more animated Mind Map videos and find out more about Mindmapping and Dyslexia at our Blogs