I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was 8 years old, after my Year 4 teacher had highlighted a disparity between my verbal expression and my written work. From this point on, I received a great deal of support both at school and at home and was taught a range of strategies for reading and writing. These interventions, alongside encouraging and patient teachers, helped me to achieve my academic potential and I went on to complete an undergraduate degree at the University of Oxford followed by an MA and a PGCE.
I was extremely fortunate to have been supported from such a young age and my awareness of the difference this made to my school career was one of the reasons I trained as a teacher. Over the four years I then spent in London primary schools, I encountered numerous pupils who showed signs of dyslexia, dyspraxia or dyscalculia. However, learning differences such as these are not routinely diagnosed in the state sector and there are often limited resources available to support them. The recent decline in creative subjects means that it is now rare to have weekly lessons in music, drama and art, all of which played such an integral role during my school years. Having creative outlets helped me to maintain a positive attitude to learning in spite of the challenge posed by weekly spelling tests amongst other things.
I was completely inspired when I came across the work of the Creative Mentors Foundation and am very proud to be a part of their team of mentors, drawing on both my personal and professional experience to support pupils with learning differences through drama interventions. I hope that opportunities for creative expression will help build their confidence and self-belief just as it once did for me.