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Leah, our much loved Personal Assistant to our directors here at Bristol Water, shares her experiences on working with dyslexia.

Leah Dyslexia

I’m Leah, a Personal Assistant here at Bristol Water, and I sometimes make grammatical mistakes or miss out words.

This isn’t because I’m ‘dumb’ or ‘not putting effort into my work.’ It is because I work with dyslexia. English literature and memory are the areas I really struggle with.

When I first joined Bristol Water nearly 4 years ago, I didn’t want people to know I had dyslexia

My manager at the time knew I was but that was because we were friends outside of work.

I remember actually saying to her “no, I really don’t want anyone to know right now” even when she was reassuring me that it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

But I felt it could jeopardise my job here at Bristol Water.

I was completely wrong and once people did start to know, I felt less pressure on myself. Everyone was so understanding and supported me in the way I needed, for example:

  • Proofreading my work and going through the changes
  • Giving me a little more time when reading documents because sometimes it takes me a little longer to process and understand
  • When taking actions and minutes, I re-write the notes after the meeting otherwise they don’t make sense
  • People at Bristol Water will let me know in a nice way I have made a grammar mistake in an email etc.

I am no longer embarrassed about being dyslexic. I would now say I am the complete opposite and will let people know straight away. By doing this I have found it helps me and them because we can work better together in a way that works for us both.

The thoughts that ran through my head before applying for the role was:

  • I will not be able to reply/communicate on behalf of directors because I cannot spell
  • The role is way out of my capability
  • I’m too dumb and I will embarrass myself and the directors

However, another member of the company chatted to me about me being dyslexic. It made me feel I was not ‘alone’, and I shouldn’t let it stop me in life.

I hope this encourages anyone who has any difficulties (and not just people who are dyslexic) to not let it stop them . Be the best version of yourself and going for any role you want!

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