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Disability Narratives

Lyn only found out she had dyslexia two years ago. Although the diagnosis helped her make sense of her past difficulties, she wouldn’t label herself as a disabled person. She has developed strategies to help her with her work, but sometimes finds herself working longer hours.

Portrait of LynBackground

at the time of the interview – 2016

Lyn is head of Enterprise Applications Group in IT services. She is married with no children.

Ethnic Background/Nationality: White British.

Extended biography

at the time of the interview - 2016

Lyn has worked in IT Services at the University since 2003 in a number of roles and has been in her current role as head of Enterprise Applications Group since 2014. She now manages a number of team leads and subject matter experts to provide Nexus SharePoint, email, calendar, backup, and telephony services. Before this she worked in a small six form college providing IT and network services, which she moved to after changing careers from social work in drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Her role entails attending meetings, managing staff, planning and developing future services as well as dealing with day-to-day issues. This includes a lot of administration – emails, documents – as well as face-to-face work.

Lyn only found out she had dyslexia two years ago after an email she had sent to a senior member of staff was queried for the number of mistakes in it. Lyn was upset to realise that she had not spotted these. Lyn approached her manager who supported her assessment in occupational health.

Lyn had mixed feelings about being diagnosed with dyslexia. At first Lyn was worried about being labelled as disabled or seen to be making excuses for herself. Although she said she did not want to publicise that she was dyslexic, Lyn did not want to deny or hide something about herself. She also felt that being diagnosed had helped to make sense of many experiences and difficulties she has previously had. Lyn said it felt it gave her permission to make allowances for herself and encouraged her to find new ways to manage the difficulties.

I think dyslexia has not held me back, except in that ... I've taken longer to do things.

Before she was assessed Lyn felt 'stupid' and 'inadequate' and even now sometimes feels like this. In her role having a keen attention to detail is often needed and this can occasionally make her feel vulnerable. Lyn also explained that it takes her longer than she might expect to complete certain tasks and that she realised that she also talks too quickly in meetings and does not always feel she has put her point across as well as she wanted to. However, Lyn said she was making many adjustments and developing strategies to address these issues.

Lyn said that her managers and colleagues have been supportive both emotionally and in terms of practical help and adjustments they can provide. In particular, Lyn has found that there are a number of software and technology solutions to help her, such as changing the background of documents from white to blue, using sans serif rather than serif texts, talk-to-text and software that reads text back. Many of the adaptations and strategies that Lyn uses have also helped others in her team and been taken on by people she works with, such as colour coding the meeting agenda or ensuring written action points are made and circulated.

Biography at the time of the interview - 2016