People with Dyslexia tend to value a supportive and understanding work environment that accommodates their reading and writing challenges.
“Hi, I’m Hancine
I’m the Programme Lead at academyEX overseeing the delivery of the Leading Change for Good postgraduate certificate. I’m a neurodivergent individual with dyslexia and ADHD. Tune in to hear my experience into what it’s like to be neurodivergent in the workplace. I hope this promotes a greater understanding and inclusivity for all.
As a neurodivergent individual with Dyslexia and ADHD, I have faced many challenges in navigating the traditional systems of society. However, I have found ways to thrive and want to share my experiences with others to help them see that there is hope and a way forward. I want to inspire others and let them know that even if the current systems don’t work for us, we can find ways to “fit” and succeed, and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Programme Lead at academyEX
What did you do when you found out that you had Dyslexia?
I didn’t really do anything for – for a number of years based on that because I really didn’t know what to do or how to get help, or if I needed help. I was still really proud that I was like, I didn’t know what was wrong with me, because I didn’t understand what it was.
What support did you receive when you were in high school?
My English teacher, she was probably the one person in my youth that said to me, I get you, I see you but I don’t know how to help you. So it was kind of great that she understood that I knew stuff. But also, it was frustrating because she also couldn’t help me. So what she actually did was she helped me memorize past exam answers. And I wrote out those exact answers word for word, because my memory was good enough to do that in the exam, but of course they were out of context. My difficulty was that I couldn’t understand what I was being asked to write. And so I’d be reading the paragraphs over and over and over again, but I just couldn’t understand what they wanted, and so I’d write something different and it would be a fail. So we constructed these essays, which I took into the exam. I got 49%, so it was closer than, closer than anything else and I was like, why couldn’t I, why couldn’t I pass? So yeah I really really struggled with all of that and I guess that was something that started my dyslexia, sort of path.
How did you find out you had Dyslexia?
I got put through to the learning support center, which had a big stigma around it at that time as well. So I was quite embarrassed to go – to go there and not really wanting to engage. And then she did some testing on me, I guess just whether the text was moving whether changing the colors or the overlays and things like that would actually improve things for me. And they did slightly but I was just kind of like, oh, this is stupid.
And yeah, she came back and said, Yeah, well, you’re, you’re definitely dyslexic. We can put you on a program to correct it. And by that stage, I was like, well, it’s just too late. I don’t want it. And so I left school, without any qualifications and in a huge fear, I guess of what next because the expectations from me at home was that I would go to university. And just like my big brother, who had no trouble with writing or he could write essays, overnight, and get A’s, and I was really really struggling.
What misconceptions do you think people have about Dyslexia?
It’s a really interesting one because I think it’s really prevalent, the misconceptions around Dyslexia or any neurotypical or neurodiverse conversation because as soon as someone says, “I’m neurodiverse” they’re like, Oh, you’re crazy, or there’s something wrong with you, rather than taking the time to understand that there’s a difference in the way that the brain actually processes information rather than thinking that you’re slow or stupid because you can’t spell.
A classic example was talking to a school principal saying, you know, I can’t believe how many spelling mistakes are in school reports these days. Like, as in the teachers aren’t doing the job, they’re being lazy or, you know, not, not checking their work, but when you’re Dyslexic and you cannot see the spelling mistakes, like for me, there is no words in my mind whatsoever. So I only see in pictures and I process in pictures. So I don’t have any text available. And an example of that would be like, if you look at the letters P, B, D, Q, I still write them back the front, but the reason is, is because I see them as 3D letters and they spin around like, all over the place so I can’t ascertain whether what one is what.
And it still troubles me today when I hand right so I might… I know I’ve written the wrong letter, but I don’t… I might cross it out and write it again and it’d be the same and I’m like, oh, I have to do it again. So you know, like there’s those sorts of things and those, those because you can’t spell, you’re just stupid. Those sorts of misconceptions come along, but also that you’re lazy, that you don’t care about your work, that you, you’re at capacity, you shouldn’t be able to do something more because you’re not being able to do the work now, which is what you’ve been given.
And so trying to understand that more from a Dyslexic’s point of view, is actually well, we’re not really being lazy. We’re putting absolutely 100%, probably 200% effort into that output. It’s just physically, you can’t see those differences and then having the contrast in text as well can be an issue. So you might not be able to see white on black as well as black on white, for example, all the opposite way around. So you know, the con, the colors can really put you off in terms of being able to see that. So again, you know, having strategies and… is really important part of a Dyslexic’s kete to be able to survive in the workforce.
Did having Dyslexia stop you from studying beyond high school?
I felt I could go to uni so I went and enrolled at Waikato in a Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences so BcMs, and started that part of my journey.
What does the term, “Dyslexia” mean to you?
In terms of what it means to me, it’s a way that my brain processes information. And there’s a difference between that and how other brains potentially process information. So it has its issues when we’re looking at fitting into systems into, into things that have been pre-defined like education, but it also comes with its bonuses when you’re thinking and working collaboratively and working as a team. You add a different flavour and way of bringing things together. I also think Dyslexia enables you to make connections across different areas that others may not be able to do because they are not thinking in those ways.
How did Dyslexia impact you during high school?
Then going into high school, again, it was a real struggle. My teachers were telling me I was playing too much sport and I needed to concentrate on my studies more, and that I was going to fail. Ultimately I failed the school, but in sixth form or year 12, one of the teachers who came up to me and said I want to get you screened for learning disabilities.
What was your experience like with Dyslexia during Intermediate?
Going on to intermediate, it was no better. Actually probably worse because the kids were older and meaner. I got bullied a lot. I also couldn’t fit in with my peers or keep up with my peers. I could understand what was going on. I could bluff some tests. I hated, hated silent reading because when I read silently there was just nothing going. I couldn’t hear anything. I didn’t know people have internal inner voices. I had no idea until I was an adult, actually.
When did you find out you had Dyslexia?
So Dyslexia has been quite a journey. I realized that I was different in primary school. I didn’t know what Dyslexia was back then, but I knew that I was different to other kids in class, but I didn’t know why. And I didn’t know why I was struggling so much with the written text, written words, spelling, all of that sort of stuff. Looking back at it every single one of my reports said, Hancine can’t spell.
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Disclaimer: As you will learn everyone with a Neurodiversity is different. There is a saying if you have met one Autistic person then you have met ONE Autistic person. This applies for every other neurodiversity, everyone has different strengths, weaknesses and sits differently on the spectrum of the Neurodiversity they have.