HARRY (AGE 21)
Harry was doing well in Reception and Year 1 of school, but when he reached Year 2 things started to change. Harry was a popular child and enjoyed playing with his friends in the playground, drawing and building things. However, his teachers noticed that he was having difficulties understanding lessons and he was struggling with learning to read. Harry’s parents became concerned because he seemed to be getting frustrated at school and his home life was becoming strained.
The school suggested an Educational Psychologist assessment which led to identification of language difficulties and a recommendation for Speech and Language Therapy. Harry started working with a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) when he was 7 years old. The SLT helped Harry learn concepts like the days of the week, words for understanding his Maths lessons and strategies for explaining things.
However, Harry continued to have difficulties reading his work in class and his homework at home and Harry was becoming unhappy at school. At 10 years old, Harry moved to a school for students with dyslexia where teachers adapted their teaching methods to help him. Harry did well and discovered that he was bright with many talents including Art and Drama. Harry went onto take lead parts in school performances and joined a local drama group. Ongoing support from a Speech and Language Therapist helped Harry understand his DLD and develop skills and strategies for learning.
Harry went on to college and studied Public service, Business Studies, Media and IT. In his GCSEs and B-TECs, his grades included Distinctions, Merits, Bs and Cs. He is thrilled to be starting an Outside Broadcast degree at University this year.
“I remember feeling frustrated, misunderstood and sometimes alone when others were doing better than me at school. I often felt different to others in my year which contributed to me feeling ‘Outcasted’. This is why it is so important teachers and parents know more about DLD so that other children don’t go through what I went through.
It is scary knowing that DLD is very hard to notice at a young age which is often why people have no idea why a child is acting and behaving in a different way. It is a real knock on your confidence when you struggle while your friends sail through their work and tests. I am lucky to have been diagnosed with DLD at a young age while others still don’t know they have this learning difficulty. When I had specialist support from a SLT it was such a relief to know there wasn’t something ‘wrong’ with me. Those with DLD are great in a unique way, they just need a different approach to learning. I’ve made it into University so I am proof!
On a daily basis I have a laugh and enjoy myself with my friends and family. I have nothing to hide, I’ve got DLD and even though there are times others will understand things a lot better than I will. With the support of an SLT since I was seven, I know I am lucky. Life is great, challenging but great. I can live a normal life and do things in my own unique way and still get the same outcome that any other person who doesn’t have DLD could achieve.”