Police, Dyslexia and Me!

Whether you are dyslexic or not life will test you. It push you and it will take you places you might not want to go. BUT if you use that energy then you can do anything.

I guess that is how my story began in my current career as a serving British police officer.

Every story starts with a hard first chapter but it’s not about the 1st 20 pages, it’s about the book, the journey, the decision and the outcomes.

2007 I was sat in a huge briefing room with about 200 other prospective candidates. A video was played which showed police cars screaming down the road chasing the bandit car, helicopters tracking suspects using infer red and fast ribs crashing through waves. It was every prospective coppers dream that really got the blood rushing!

The briefing was in its closing stage when the staff member asked for one of the candidates to stay behind. Everyone looked around to see who was being singled out. I didn’t need to look around because the name that was called out was mine.

I meet the staff member who asked if I was dyslexic to which I confirmed. 
I was told that the force could not discriminate (to which I was thinking this is positive).

They then continued and said “against everyone else”. That positive thinking then was lost in confusion. I was told that there was a five spelling mistake cap and that this would still apply to me. That buzz I had from that earlyer presentation was completely blown away following a 30 second conversation with that person. I explained that there is no way I could achieve this to which I was offered a suggestion of using “simpler words”.

The emotions spilled over and I said “shall I also bring my crayons along too”.

I left that briefing with an attitude of what is the point of even doing the exam. What is the point of applying for any job let alone the old bill. My normal up beat attitude was hammered into the ground.

However I picked myself up, revised hard, practiced my spelling and did the exam to which I……..still failed.

I was in turn offed a role as a police community support officer which I did for three year and then re did the exam when this rule was taken away to which I passed. 

I am now up to 10 years as a serving British police officer and can say that I have had a good career so far working on tactical units and now working in the marine world but it has not all been plain sailing (excuse the pun)

Spelling!!! I can not stress how much this word has got me into trouble. My first hand written statement which I took from a retired teacher is a good example. Following its completion and then needing to sign to say this is correct, they started to pick up on my spelling, pulled out a red pen, corrected it and asked if I could re write it. How embarrassing!!! Funny now but then as a brand new PC out of the box it was devastating.

Typed statements using spell check were not much better. I had to write a crown court statement about me chasing a suspect to which I thought I had written “I pursued a male over the course of 5 minuets” but following being proof read by a friend I had actually written “I perused a male over the course of 5 minuets!!” That got some laughs in the office but again it knocks you down because you can’t even use spell check properly. Iv also put someone’s occupation down as retarded rather than retired!!

My main issue has always been E-learning. Packages are getting better but still they are mainly bulk text with little Video interaction. I have always asked the question about if I get training on a subject and I don’t understand it then subsequently I do something wrong then who is to blame? Me for not understanding it or the organisation for not providing a package I can reasonably learn from.

I put some of my issues to a force culture board and from that was made a dyslexic Spoc or point of contact. 

I wanted to see if it was just me or if there were other people out there having the same problems.

So with management approval I basically wrote an email to all staff across my division throwing my self under the bus. Highlighting these embarrassing stories that have happened to me to try and show people that this does happen and you should not have to be embarrassed about having dyslexia.

I got over 30 emails with a really positive response. Majority of people thought they might be dyslexic but didn’t know how to find out. However one person said they were days away from leaving because they were not getting support from the job and the laptop they were promised was no where to be seen. There are so many other examples but it got me thinking that this was only from 1 division. If this went force wide or either nation wide how many people are suffering on the edge of wanting to leave? No mater how much organisations say that they have processes in place people always slip through the net.

However things are changing and dyslexia is becoming more understood in the policing world. There is still so much more that needs to be done. I was surprised how many people were happy and felt comftable  talking to me including ranked officers because I was just a PC. 

My goal in writing this blog and doing organisation talks is to promote the idea of having points of contact who are accessible for everyone in the workplace. Support services are still key and should not be substituted but sometimes people want to get advice from people that are living it and have experienced similar situations. Even if you help one person then that may be the difference between them leaving or staying.

For me following all the hurdles half of which I haven’t been able to mention I have still managed to progress to the job of my dreams working in the marine world. Even this has tested me with exams, intense learning and working in a very competitive area.

In summery of this blog, I guess your success depends on you, your supervisors and the organisation as a whole. All three of these can create barriers but the good thing about being dyslexic is thinking out of the box and finding ways to go around the problem. But organisations can only change if people are prepared to put the head up and say this is not right. There for whether you are dyslexic or someone who supervises someone who is dyslexic then we all have a responsibility to drive positive change.

The comments section does not work on this site but please let me know your thoughts at @samthedyslexic

I hope you enjoyed reading this. For me it was a big step putting pen to paper but I really want to help people with my experiences.

Dyslexia -Please please don’t pick me!!!!

 

He is sat amungst 30 other children at the age of 13 in a dark gloomy class room.

The atmospher of boredom fills the room. The class is just waiting for that one little thing to change the dull feeling that lingers in the air.

Macbeth is being read out aloud but the students in turn. Each rushing there few pages so to pass the buck onto the next person.

A young scared boy has seen that there is two more people to read before him. He can barely read picture books let alone Macbeth!!!!

He works out that he should start his section on page 46. Rather than listen he jumps forward to try and ore read that part to try and nail it prior to the inevitable pain that is to come.

The problem is that boy struggles to read in his head and quietly mumbles it with out being noticed.

Although to his horror the teacher sees what he is doing and decides to mix it up a bit.

Sam! Can you please take over. The boy looks up in horror and hasn’t a clue what page the class is actually on. He starts to glow red, his white shirt absorbed the gushing sweat from his back and he mumbles “yes sir… what page are we on I have seemed to have got a little lost”

The class all perk up, this was what they have been waiting for for the last 45 minuets!!! The boy waits for the reply of the teacher who is smerking up front.

Page 26 second line down please he says in a condersending tone.The boy starts and rather then reading sentences he reads word by word. He misses lines and almost creates new words from ones he can not read. 

The class love it, this is the highlight of the day. The teacher doesn’t stop the madness of the class but almost encourages it by letting Sam continue word by word, line by line. 

It must of been painfull to watch because it was dam painfull to do.

15 minuets in and only two pages kind of completed the relief of the school bell. 

Yes that boy was me!!!!  I can’t even look at Macbeth with out a shiver running down my back!!!!

It’s amazing how that day can have a huge impact on your life. From that day I realised I hated school and I hated that teacher. 

But that hate turned into a motivation to push on work hard and…… fail my GCSE’s! Haha not very motivation but when the school realised I had dyslexia I got extra time, help from better teachers than my dreaded English teacher of year 8 and managed to pass everything eventually getting a business degree.

Don’t let people drag you down. If they kick you down, pick your self up, if they put you down it’s because they think power comes from weakness But it doesn’t. It comes from belief and smashing those barriers no matter how high.

That day shaped me to who I am today.

@samthedyslexic

 

Can you Beat Dyslexia…???

Hi to my regular readers (mum)

I write my blog mainly just to get my thoughts to paper because mostly my thoughts are like bubbles floating around within my head. Half the time they pop or almagumate with other bubbles before I have actualy worked out what they were.

 

I recently put up a post about beating dyslexia and I recived a reply that made me think. I have always felt that you cant beat dyslexia and that you have to work with it. But recently I had to do a lot of job related exams that were pritty hard and it massivly brought out the dyslexic traits that I have managed to rain in over the years.

 

It reminded me of the huge emotional wait that can be placed on someone causing a huge amount of preasure and stress because ultimatly in my case the exams will help me get on the path way to a better job, SO NO PREASURE AT ALL!!!!!

I hated dyslexia as a kid because it made me different from all the other kids. I had to wear eye patches, purple lence glasses, be put in special needs classes, placed in all the bottem classes even though pleading with teacher to be moved due to all the desruptive kids being at the bottem also.

 

I wanted to beat it then because I didn’t realy know what it was or why it is happerning to me.

 

Later in life I relised that you cant beat it and almost gave up because it always seemed to get one over on me so I just plodded along until I got to my GCSE’s which surprise surprise I did pants in! However I got it back in my head that I can beat this and I can break this mould so I pushed and pushed myself and not only did I pass my GCSE’s but went on to A levels and even got a degree in Business at university.

 

So strangly I have always been torn between this premis of beating dyslexia and working with it. Prior to my recent exams I was very much of the opinion that dyslexia has shaped who I am and that I like working with it to over come lifes chalenges.

But latley the emotional black thunder cloud has be cast again and it realy takes its tole.

 

I know deep down that I would not change being dyslexic and that adapting and working with it is the way forward but soetimes its hard. And even harder what you try to speak to people who don’t realy understand much about dyslexia.

 

Im not trying to say that saying beating dyslexia is right. I think when I use the term beating dyslexia I actualy mean phycologicly beating it and knowing that you can still achive what you want even with the shadow that always follows you (dyslexia).

I still struggle reading and recently I have forced myself to read more and now really seem to have the bug for it, to the point that its inspired me to write my own book. Its not role dar or jane austin but to me its a small goal I have set.

 

anyway I have rambled on way to much to I realy woud like to know what other people think about it and how they deal with dyslexia.

Mum thank you for reading 🙂 and if anyone else got this far then please contact me on twitter @sam the dyslexic.

 

Sam

Anyone else hate this?!?!?!

Question 1

Which of the following is NOT the correct feeling you get when a negitive question appears in your exam?

  1. A negiitive question never affects me during the exam because I only notice when I failed my exams because I did not see the “NOT”.
  2. I saw the “NOT” but my brain is scared of it and takes the tactical desion to ignor it because if you cant see it it cant hurt you
  3. Put my hand up and ask if I can highlight the question so not to miss the “NOT” but get told you cant write on the exam paper!!!
  4. Or im a cool dude and no NOT is going to hold me back.

i. A and B

ii. B and DA,

iii. C and D

iv. Or you start cursing, rip up the paper, throw it at the teacher and start to cry!!!! (my option)

 

HAHA so you may have quessed Im not a fan of the negitive question which seems to be widley used in moden day exams. I recenly did an advanced version of highway code theory for work. Prior to this I downloaded the DSA official theory aplication for my iphone and smashed the revsion side getting well over 95% each time I did it.

On the day of the race, I was sitting there looking at the exam paper which almost every question was negitive, I thought you buggers are just trying to catch me out rather than actualy test me.

At first I thought it was a bit of a joke test and that the person in charge would spit his tea out laughing, pat me on the back and say “ we got you there lad!”

 

Nope this was the test, and the most anoying thing being the questions wernt actualy that hard but were worded in away that you had to question what they were actualy asking you.

 

Now am I just being silly or isnt it better that the student revises and the exam board test you on what you have learnt… Nope they like to go one step further and try to catch you out. WELL my message to the examiners is stop waisting your ink by chucking in NOT’s and exantending has to hasents and just do your job and actualy test peoples knoledge!!!!

 

Maybe im the only dyslexic that belives in this issue but I just don’t think its fair and ultomatly I don’t think its right.

 

Anyway on a happyer note I have stupidly signed up for a 50km run in september with my best mate. Im looking to run to promote dyslexia and rise a bit of cash which I would like to donate to a chairty / organisation that could use it to help someone who cant afford to have a dyslexia test who needs one. Will keep you all posted on that one.

 

Anyway only a quick blogg but pleae tweet me and let me know what you think!!!!!

 

Samthedyslexic

Understanding jokes!

Hi guys, I am bit late writing this one but have been manic with doing the Podcasts with Mark Simmons and every thing else life likes to throw at me. Anyway here it goes.

So I’m not sure if this is a dyslexic moment or me just being silly!! but I went to see one of Mark’s comedy nights that he was presenting at Rock sult in Folkestone (Kent). For some reason I just can not get the jokes quick enough or at all. So because he’s my mate and the fact everyone else laths I just lath too. I just thought it would be a bit rude to stop him mid flow and ask if he could repeat the joke! has anyone ever done that before??? Or I miss the next joke because I’m trying to understand the one before which means I lath mid way through the last joke and then lath on my own (premature larthage!) Anyway Mark if your reading this what I did get was quality. Please look him up online as he’s done a lot with me on the podcasts and he is actually funny well so I guess from the lafter at the comedy night!

So I was having dinner to day with my Family in Sunny Sandgate today. My step nan said that my spelling is terrible on these blogs but understands that I have turned spell check off so my writing is how it would be. But I don’t think she released how bad it actually was!!! My boss read my dyslexic report which basically highlighted that I am a gramatical nightmear and could not believe how I am able to get on with things. How did people cope with Dyslexia in the old days! Iv mentioned about my dyslexic dating issues but imagine what it was like in historic times when couples used to court and write letters to each other. I would of had to draw pictures of what I was trying to say. “I think your hot” would of been a hyroglifical dipiction of an eye (I), a brain (think), finger pointing (your) and a picture of the sun (hot)!! Im so glad I have a girlfriend now (hard to believe I know) but all that dating larkey and trying to impress them with poems and letters!!

As per my last podcast with Mark. A couple of people that I know said that they would not employ dyslexic people due to the worry of being sued after I told them about the starbucks case. Which is where a dyslexic employee sued the company successfully for not having protocols in place to deal with issues she was having. This really annoyed me as I am dyslexic and I have never sued my job and have progressed on my own merit. Me and mark randomly thought of an idea to try and promote dyslexia which was based on last years “ice bucket challenge”. We re branded the idea and called it the scrabble bucket challenge! Idea would be the same only you poor scrabble bit over you rather than water! So far the grand total is just me but I am still hopeful 🙂

I knew I would be the only one but I am very open with my dyslexia and really want other people to be too. The more stories and experiences we can get out there the more others will understand what we go through on a day to day basis. But I am happy to take the bulit and make myself look silly because someone has too.

If anyone out there knows james Martin the chief or chief (I can never get these right) the cookey person. He is my dyslexic hero as he has the same atitude as me that dyslexia helped me sucseed in life! I really enjoy being dyslexic as you never know where it is going to take you next (espeshaly when reading maps!) but if anyone knows him please forward this to him and i will forever be in you debt

anyway thank you for reading and follow me on twitter @samthedyslexic

Sam