Silhouette of mans head

‘I am easier on myself – it’s not me, it’s the dyslexia.’

Andy came to Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity in 2019 for a dyslexia assessment in the hope that he could change his life for the better.

At school, Andy was in a lower set and sat just History O-level for which he got a good pass. When he moved on, it was as a painter and decorator on a Youth Training Scheme and later in various retail jobs where redundancy was common.

Andy then moved on to become a mental health worker and this was a rewarding career for several years. When he left this for better paid and more challenging work, he was employed privately by the individual he cared for. This work has since proven to be less reliable and Andy eventually found himself in debt just by being unable to cover basic living expenses.

Having trouble with maths has not helped with debt management so Andy sought assistance from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau who helped him apply for a Debt Relief Order. This has been hugely helpful but also prompted Andy to realise that he had to make changes to his life. Attending a university open day, Andy found something he is very enthusiastic and excited about; a film studies course that will develop all his creative, communications and problem-solving skills and that will fit around work. For Andy, this was a big moment – no other job or training had ever caught his imagination and excited him like this. This is where Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity came in.

Andy came to us for an assessment so that he could access practical support and financial assistance on his course. He’d always had suspicions that he was dyslexic, and the assessment confirmed this but it also highlighted Andy’s many strengths and skills. Andy could not have accessed help without bursary funding.

Andy says,

‘It was like a shadow hanging over me; dyslexia adds to your insecurities and lack of confidence. The assessment opened a door for me and made me see there are solutions to problems. Now that I know why I have trouble doing certain things, I am easier on myself – it’s not me, it’s the dyslexia. Without this help, I would still be in the doldrums wondering how I could get out of my situation. I now have an opportunity to improve my life in ways I never thought possible.’

The Covid-19 pandemic delayed Andy starting his course, but he is excited about learning new skills, meeting new people and the wide range of opportunities ahead.