Dyslexia finally diagnosed at age 31 for Weston mum

A WESTON mother, who was deemed ‘lazy and stupid’ at school has transformed into a lecturer at Weston College after she was finally diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 31.

Sam LaTouche, aged 41, of Weston town centre, struggled at school and was labelled stupid. Her anxieties grew and her confidence fell and it was only until she reached the age of 31 that she got all of the answers.

She said: “I always felt different at school and that I didn’t fit in. Anything practical I loved but with lessons involving writing I struggled and was bored and then made excuses to avoid them.”

About 10 per cent of the general population has one or more of the many types of dyslexia. In the adult population over 25-30 years old, it is estimated that 95 per cent of those with dyslexia are unaware of their condition.

The organisation The Learning People, which offers help and advised with those who have dyslexia, recorded 173,565 people were undiagnosed in the South West last year.

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Sam said: “At secondary school the stupid label stuck and I was side-lined into the bottom group. While my English teacher was very good, my dyslexia was not recognised at this time. Then you were deemed lazy and stupid.”

Sam left school with a handful of GCSEs and at the age of 30, with two young children, she was given the opportunity to change her life.

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Weston College was looking for support workers for young people in a referral unit. Sam joined and spent two years there and completed a learning support course. It was there that she was finally tested for dyslexia and told she had severe dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

She said: “I can’t describe the relief I felt. It was a weight off my shoulders. It helped me decide to carry on studying.”

Sam has completed a BA Honours in educational and professional practices and is now studying for her masters degree.

She said: “I was so thrilled the day I was awarded my degree. My mum was crying when she saw me on the stage.

“Now I work as a specialist support tutor at Weston College helping students like me who have felt like a failure. I feel I can do anything now.”

Tess Quinn, a support instructor at Weston College, said: “It is still difficult for pupils to get diagnosed and there’s reluctance because of funding problems.

“If schools do not want to diagnose dyslexia parents can pay for a private test but that wouldn’t force a school to do anything. Personally I’d say if you can, pay for specialised a tutor.”

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