Packed-out evening shows how people with dyslexia can use their abilities to have successful careers
The local community interest company Aspire 2 Inspire Dyslexia held a powerful event last week, drawing on the experiences of many dyslexic people who have conquered their affliction and made careers for themselves, with the intention of inspiring others. Some of the speakers thought that their dyslexia was almost an advantage – spurring them to use unconventional methods to mobilise their talents.
Soloman Smith is the founder of Brixton Soup Kitchen. When he was a schoolboy he recounted the hilarious tale of himself blagging a free coach trip to an amusement park for his schoolmates. Apparently the amusement park staff were quite stunned when the “Key Youth Worker” that Solomon pretended to be on the phone, was only 14!
The evening was organised by Elizabeth Kwarteng-Amaning, the founder of non-profit A2i dyslexia, who compered the many speakers. It was attended by the Mayor and the room was rammed to the rafters. Attendees enjoyed a lovely buffet in the interval, provided by the venue, Caius House.
Colin Fowler Generate: Creates opportunities for people with learning difficulties
Solomon Smith Founder of Brixton Soup Kitchen
Remi Ray Hidden Creatives: Inspiring creative young people with dyslexia
Yves Newlove The Newlove experience motivational networker
Joanna Smith Personal Assistant for people with specific learning difficulties
Leslie Lewis-Walker Founder of Out of the Box Thinkers and Videographer
Adijat Mumunie Director of Begin2Sports group
Enrico Riva Assisted Technology Specialist
Dianne Greyson Equilibrium Mediation Consulting
Margaret Hurley Founder of Original Organics and Chef.
There was also a guest spot for Harry, a dyslexic young lad and his mum. Harry is taking on the challenge of a 5K run to raise funds for A2i.
Some of the panel had very difficult upbringings, where there dyslexia was undiagnosed. Although it seems that awareness of the issue is better nowadays, there is still a way to go. One speaker talked about getting to college, receiving an assistive computer, which came with a huge printed manual – so it stayed in its box, unused!
There was a very wide range of different careers that the speakers represented, from a technology specialist to an organic chef. Most of them recounted painful experiences when they were younger, of schoolteachers dismissing them a “lazy” or “stupid” instead of realising they had dyslexia. Many of the speakers chose to create their own businesses or enterprises, to avoid having to do conventional things like filling in forms. So it seemed that there is a spirit of entrepreneurialism in the dyslexia community. They were adept at finding niche markets where their unique skills would be in demand, and creating portfolios of different types of work so they could make their way in the world using the abilities they knew they had.
You can find our more about the programmes of help for dyslexic people on A2i’s website:
Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – https://julianj.journoportfolio.com