The challenges and advantages of having dyslexia when working within a medical model of disability. What are the implications for practice? (Published)
This study explored the perceptions of two individuals with dyslexia operating within a medicalised model of disability within the ‘normalisation’ of society. This study was taken in the North of England and concerns the experiences of what life is like for a Postgraduate student with dyslexia and for a Secondary School teacher with dyslexia within a system geared towards a medical view of disability. Although the work acknowledges the limitations of the small-scale nature of the research, it does offer unique insights into both the challenges and advantages dyslexia can bring as a student and as a teacher. This work examines how both interviewees exhibited significant degrees of resilience but both at different times suffered with mental ill health on account of exhibiting coping strategies. Some of the advantages clearly exhibited were: artistic flair, creativity, aptitude to work and the achievement of published work and a Doctorate. However, the challenges both participants faced included: difficulties with spelling, punctuation, grammar and reading. Furthermore, themes including isolation, fatigue and mental ill health are noted, the correlation between dyslexia and the prominent salient emerging themes are illuminated. As a result of this work, suggestions are made for enhanced practitioner awareness of a social model of disability, viewing dyslexia as a learning difference, seeking to make provision for it rather than to discriminate against it. It further accentuates the requirement for more funded research needs to occur into the live experiences of those with dyslexia, examining the nature of resilience and the susceptibility to poor mental health.