In celebration of World Dyslexia Awareness Week, we interview our founder and managing director Danielle on what it’s like living with Dyslexia and how it has affected her life and as a businesswoman. Approximately 1 in 10 of the population have dyslexia, here at Ellie Ellie a quarter of the team are dyslexic and some might say that’s why we’re such a creative bunch!
Do you feel that dyslexia has held you back in any way?
No not really because all the setbacks have made me who I am today. Being deemed, stupid, ditsy or slow because I wasn’t academic and wasn’t getting good grades only made me stronger to prove everyone wrong. Having to work harder and think more creatively than everyone made me very resilient, self-motivated with bundles of drive, which I need every day to run my business.
How did Dyslexia affect you at school?
I didn’t know I was dyslexic until I was around 20 years old, so at school, I was always underachieving with my work. I had bad grades and I was deemed as being stupid as a result. Dyslexia wasn’t really recognised back then and schools focused on academic subjects, so if you if you didn’t get good grades, it simply meant you weren’t as clever as the other children. I definitely wasn’t someone who they thought would be achieving much in my future.
Do you think having dyslexia has made you more creative?
Absolutely, when you’re dyslexic you find ways to do things that others find easy in order for you to keep up. You cannot think inside the box, so you always have to think outside the box which forces you to problem solve and be creative with your abilities.
How did dyslexia affect you when you were starting Ellie Ellie?
It’s hard to say as I didn’t know what starting a business without dyslexia is like. I’ve never let my dyslexia hold me back from anything so I don’t think it affected me at all.
Any funny mis-spellings you want to admit to?
Yes! When Ellie Ellie first started we had a marketing campaign which was ‘jump on the Ellie Ellie bandwagon’ in order to get more sign-ups to the newsletter. So I made a beautiful banner to go on the website. It was up for a week before anyone told me I had actually written ‘jump on the Ellie Ellie bangwagon’! I’ll never live that one down in the office! – it certainly got people signing up to the newsletter though!
Do you have any handy tips or tricks for living with dyslexia?
EMBRACE IT. You have been given a really exciting mind that not many people have which is so exciting. Tell people, be proud to be dyslexic some of the most amazing minds and business people are dyslexic!
Ellie Ellie team members share their tips for dealing with dyslexia at work:
Luke, Order Fulfillment Manager: “Dyslexia affects my memory which makes things like starting new jobs and learning new things really difficult! The ways I overcome this is to write EVERYTHING down, and rewrite notes over and over again so it sticks. And to ask be shown things physically and visually rather than talking through something.”
Liv, Order Fulfillment Coordinator: “I built up a strong work ethic that meant I wouldn’t give up, I never wanted people to know I struggled at school. Now I take notes for everything and that it can take me a while to get whats in my head onto paper and even then others may not understand it, but it works for me.”
Louisa, Buyers Admin: “Dyslexia has forced me to be more creative in the way that I think. Young people with Dyslexia shouldn’t let it hold them back, they should embrace their unique way of thinking and harness their creativity to find ways of learning that work for them!”
For more information on Dyslexia Awareness Week and how to get support visit the British Dyslexia Association Website.