Fifth Floor, Tavistock House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HX

General Enquires: 020 7388 8744

Assessments: 020 7383 3724

info@dyslexia-idc.org

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Stories by successful dyslexics who IDC have helped over the years


Dyslexia


Peter Weekes, Facilities Officer


This is Peter Weekes story of how I coped with dyslexia and times when I didn’t.


Here are some my first memories of dyslexia, the first was my first day at primary school when all of a sudden I could not spell a single word not even my own name.  I have  others memories of me always sitting at the back of the class room staring at the black board and doing nothing. But what was even more shocking was that the teacher didn’t care.  Most days he would drag me into his office by my ear shouting ‘Weekesy.’ What he said to me I just can’t remember but I do recall my mum and dad saying “No Peter is not backward”. That is when they decided to take me to the hospital to try and find out what was wrong, The hospital said that I was dyslexic. As they didn’t know much about dyslexia in those days I was sent to a school for physically and mentally handicapped which was so wrong for me. In a way it had destroyed my self confidence but on the other hand made me a stronger person.


I was there from the age of 8 to 16- these were not the most happy years of my life. I didn’t learn at this school because I thought I didn’t belong there. There were not a lot of subjects taught at the school because most of the pupils had to have physiotherapy so the lessons were fitted around the physiotherapy sessions which only left time for the basic education.


I coped with being at the school for the first two or three years but by the age of 11 I started to notice a growing anger of being at the school. Was it anger for being at this school? Or was it that other kids took the mickey out of me for being in a handicap school calling me such names as flid and mong? Perhaps it was a bit of both! But to make matters worse my school was right next to a “normal” Secondary School. I also had bright ginger hair and a stammer and if that was not bad enough I had older parents that would dress me in clothes ten years out of date so I was an easy target for every kid on my Estate. Things got worse and then better around the age of 12 when one day I completely lost the plot and beat up one of the so called hard nuts from my Estate. I had to be pulled off by some of the parents because I couldn’t stop hitting him, I suppose a person can only take so much before they flip and I think that’s what happen to me.


So as soon as I was old enough to walk to school with my new found friends I did. My school was about 15 minutes walk from where I use to live. When I first started there a red bus would come around to pick me up and take me to school. All the kids use to call the bus “the window licker bus” because some of the kids were severely disabled. Life outside school got a lot better as a result of that one fight, the kids on the estate saw me as one of their own not some kid who went to a handicap school ( flid school ). There use to be around 40 of us that use to hang around together, we often played football and when the teams were picked I was always one of the last to be chosen as my football skills were absolutely useless. I was so bad at the game that whenever the ball was passed to me I would kick it to the right and it was actually meant go to the left!! and because the timing of my tackles were so bad I was known as “psycho.” But I did bring a lot of humor to the game because of this.

As I got more accepted by kids on my estate the harder it got to accept that I was different but I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to cope with being in a normal secondary school either.  I would not mix with any of the kids from my school outside school because I think that was my way of trying to be as normal as possible. I now look back and realise that the way I treated the kids in my old school was no better than the way I had been treated by the kids on my estate.


When I was around 15 years old I started boxing at the famous Repton Boys Boxing Club because my dad’s mate was a trainer there. I started boxing because my dad had always wanted one of his sons to box.  I think he hoped it may help me control my anger and aggression I had around that time in my life. I found boxing a lot harder than I thought it was going to be because it was not like street fighting it was a completely different ball game, its all to do with hand and eye co-ordination, upper body movement and foot work all of which I wasn’t any good at! So for almost every night for nearly a year I would spend an hour or so in front of a mirror seeing where I was going wrong and improve on it.  I also worked extremely hard when I was in the boxing gym to get it right. I continued boxing until I was 23, altogether I had 45 bouts and won around half of them but the nerves never went I was either sick or felt sick before each fight.


I left school without any qualifications (because I was not capable! ) which destroyed my confidence. After I left I went on a Y.T.S scheme which was college based. It was not like your normal Y.T.S scheme because it was designed for people with learning difficulties. There were four trades you could choose from, Car Mechanic, Plumber, Electrician and Chef.  But after a month the lecturer had a row with the college over pay and left! So for the rest of the year I was still working under Y.T.S but at a D.I.Y store three days a week and the other two days were spent working at the back of the college breaking wooden pallets and other odd jobs.  Then the job centre got me a job in a glass factory cutting the glass. The pay was not good but at least I had a job. I then had several jobs when my brother’s father-in-law who worked for the Corporation of London said that there was a job at his place. The job was on the function team setting up functions in The Guildhall. I would help to set up by putting out the tables and chairs, erecting staging and making sure that the Banqueting area was spotless. I did this job for 14 years which took me to the grand age of 34. Then another door opened with great opportunity for a job within the Corporation of London. The job on offer was for a drainage inspector, it was a higher grade than what I was on and for more money. The job entailed going down sewers to survey them to see if the sewer is blocked, damaged or to help a surveyor survey them


Quite early on in this last job I told them I am dyslexic and my manager suggested I should get some help and improve my literacy skills as I could not really read or write.  I have been in this job 7 years now so I have actually been working for the Corporation of London for 21 years now. Since I have been having 1 to 1 sessions on and off over the 6 years (only one hour a month) with a dyslexia specialist. I have learnt more with her than all the time I did at school and I'm truly thankful to her with all her help and support she has given me.  I read the paper everyday and am writing this with a little help from my wife. Using a computer has made a huge difference and I use the internet too,  I can find information on and send emails.  But I do feel that what I have achieved is more down to me being in the right place at the right time. My dyslexia teacher says that it is  my determination because not many of her  clients have worked as hard as I have to improve my reading and writing. Dyslexia  does affect my confidence   and my self belief   and sometimes I feel very angry about how long it  has taken me to get  where I am now but I am going to keep on learning because I have to.


To conclude my story so far even though I have struggled through my life with a having stammer and suffering from dyslexia I have managed to hold down a good job, been happily married to my very understanding wife Lee for almost 11 years, have two wonderful boys Luke aged 6 and Jack 3. We have a nice house and I went on to become a boxing coach and still am today (for 18 years in total). I have had my fair share of success with the 3 national champions and a number of semi finalist in various competitions.

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Please note we are relocating to our new office on Monday 13 November.

Our telephone numbers will remain unchanged, however, they might not work for a short period of time during the cross over. We will have email access so please contact us via info@dyslexia-idc.org should you be unable to reach us by phone.