Video Based Dyslexia Self-Development Programme Assisting You to Understand & Overcome Dyslexia

My Dyslexia Life Story – By Antonio Farruggia-Bochnak VIDEO STORY


I felt really honoured when Goga, my fellow Co-founder of Dyslexic Brian, asked me if I would be happy to share a bit about my dyslexia life story on video.

Goga was keen to get some of my story on video (videos posted below) and put it on the website to help set the scene for the type of Dyslexia Coaching that we offer at Dyslexic Brian.

Antonio G Farruggia-Bochnak co-founder of Dyslexic Brian and Dyslexia Coach

The timing for this couldn’t have been better as we are just about to release a FREE Dyslexia Coaching programme called “How to Become a Black Belt in Dyslexia” that is based on my doctoral research on dyslexia. (Keep checking the ‘Dyslexia Dojo’ tab in the menu bar on DyslexicBrian.com to see when the programme has been released, or, join us on Facebook and Twitter for updates).

I’ve always been so proud to be dyslexic and I’m always really happy to share my experience of dyslexia, especially with dyslexic people who may be struggling to understand and overcome their dyslexia related difficulties.

I’ll stop writing now and let you get on with watching the video – I hope you enjoy watching it as much as Goga and I enjoyed making it.

It will be great to hear your views on this – please post a comment in the box below or on Facebook or Twitter.

All the best,

Antonio Farruggia-Bochnak
Dyslexia Coach and Co-founder of Dyslexic Brian


'My Dyslexia Life Story – By Antonio Farruggia-Bochnak VIDEO STORY' have 15 comments

  1. October 3, 2012 @ 11:28 pm Tu-Anh T.

    Hello Antonio,
    Thank you so much for existing and offering this sort of help to those who have dyslexia. Everything you said in your videos made me constantly nod my head. Everything you went through I also went through similarly. I have always felt a sense of difference, in school I always felt one or two steps behind my peers, and I tried so desperately to keep up that I came to a point where I “faked it til i make it” But it was my urge to learn was what kept me going. I learned to study extra hard just to equal up to an average student, such as spending 2 weeks to write a paper just to get a C, vs a friend who spent 2 hours that morning and got an A. It was pretty depressing, not understanding what was wrong with myself. I always thought, why am I not good enough?
    It was not until I turned 21, when i transfered from a community college to a University where my Genetics professor sat me down to talk about my first exam, of which i studied extremely hard for. I missed 90 percent of the multiple choice but answered every single short answer correctly. I explained to her that had a problem reading the long word problems and the complicated multiple choices did not make sense to me. I proved that I knew my material because the short answer questions were more in depth and difficult compared to the multiple choice- yet i answered all correctly. I can write paragraphs and paragraphs along with drawing diagrams to explain my answers.
    She suggested I get tested through the Disable Student Services for extra time. Before this conversation, i have never even heard of this service. I thought “hey half-time extra wouldn’t be too bad” so I got tested. But to only find out, I have a higher level of Dyslexia, and a slow memory of words and numbers than most students– qualified for double time. The sound of double time brought my high self-esteem to such a low level. I finally understood why I got Cs and Bs in school, when i thrived for As my whole life. Knowing that I have dyslexia is a great relief because now I know that I am not mentally impaired, but rather- i just learn differently. I learned that it is not an individuals’ fault that they have Dyslexia, it is the way your brain was developed. A Dyslexic brain has to stimulate 5 more regions of the brain than a non-dyslexic brain, just for words and put it into a sentence to make sense. I find that so interesting.
    I graduated with a B.S in Biochemistry at a University in California, and I can proudly say that my Dyslexia did not hinder me receiving my degree, but rather it helped me realize my problems so that I can try to fix it. I am currently applying to Pharmacy Schools, which is why I am on your website. My dream Pharmacy school is in New York, and they asked to write an essay “If there are special challenges you feel you had to overcome in the course of your education”. I felt that my Dylexia was a challenge while I was in college. And after watching your video, I now know how I will answer my question.

    Thank you so very much,
    Tu-Anh T.

    Reply

  2. June 26, 2011 @ 12:01 pm evelyn

    How do i help my son get a job who is so severely dyslexic he is now nearly 20
    he wants to be a moter merchanic but they tell no cause he can not read it is so hard even for us as his parents
    thanks evelyn hartley

    Reply

  3. March 10, 2011 @ 9:20 pm Agustina

    I’m not dyslexic but I enjoyed the videos so much. And your view of dyslexia is super interesting. I didn’t understand what it was and why the condition (if I can call it that) set dyslexics apart until I got interested in the art of a surrealist painter who also happens to be dyslexic. I’ll definitely share your views with the dyslexics I know.
    All the best to you and all my admiration.

    Reply

  4. January 21, 2011 @ 3:29 am Anne Laperriere

    Wow, Antonio, thank you for your kind, encouraging words and your honesty in your videos! I’m bursting with joy and relief after hearing about your struggles and triumph. Thanks so much for persevering and choosing to reach out to all of us! Although I grew up in the nineties in a good education system and was supported by my parents in creative pursuits, I feel as though at age 29 I am just now peeking out of a dark closet into the sunshine of my real mind. Many teachers and friends over the years have suggested I “get diagnosed” for dyslexia; I always refused, having heard only about a dyslexic’s trouble with reading, writing, and “getting things backwards”. I read (very slowly and with my face two inches from the book though I have 20/15 vision!) write (ideas all over the place that need to be connected later, and in any direction!) and got good grades, so I figured I did not fall in this category. Furthermore, I did not want to be told I had a handicap, a diagnosis of a disability, or a disorder. After graduating from a fine arts college, quite a few humiliating incidents in workplaces stemming from difficulties I now associate with dyslexia forced me to surrender. Calendars, clock faces, time-sheets, schedules, computerized cash register layouts, and anything with numbers terrified me. Angry, frustrated bosses couldn’t see why I made seemingly silly mistakes, and added to my grief. I even vowed never to run my own art business because book keeping, forms, etc. were out of my mind’s reach. Finally, this year, I have broken down and am trying to learn about my mind’s strengths. Your words and tears of emotion are very inspiring, letting me know I don’t have to force myself into society’s mold any longer. I think all of us are telling you our life stories because you’ve candidly shared yours, and because many of us have been so isolated. What a weight off my shoulders. I’m so excited to see what’s next!

    much love,

    Anne L.

    Reply

  5. January 7, 2011 @ 9:34 pm Pete Brinkley

    Hi Antonio
    Watching your video really struck a cord with me and can relate to a lot of your struggles.
    I am 49 now and my dyslexia went undiagnosed until I was 40!
    I managed to struggle through O levels. A levels and then went to do a Social Science degree at Coventry Polytechnic in 1980. The part of the video where you said you worked 16 hours a day doing essays bought back a lot of painful memories! I remember spending nights just staring at textbooks trying to make some sense of the text while mates went out socialising. I just thought I was thick and needed to work 10 times harder than everyone else. I had to resit a couple of papers at the end of the 2nd year and the tutor said they only let me back for the 3rd year because they could not read my writing and they gave me the benefit of the doubt!
    As I was a bit sporty I managed to work in the leisure industry afterwards because of the visual aspects.
    I was the fitness suite manager at Coleshill Leisure Centre in Birmingham which you might know?
    I gained a sports centre managers role which fully exposed my dyslexia probs. After that I got a leisure services position with Rugby council. I was great in interviews like you because i had learnt to cover up my problems. Anyway after being bullyed by my female boss I was forced out.
    I so nearly ended up on the streets.
    Fourtunately my degree enabled me to get a termly contract as a teaching assistant in a special school.
    The last 10 years I have slowly built myself back up to the point where I have my dream job of being a School Sports Coordinator . Sorry to have given you my life story but it is great to know that there was a reason for all the stuggling. I am sure your venture will be a great success and I will follow it closely.
    Pete

    Reply

  6. November 30, 2010 @ 8:25 pm Antonio Farruggia-Bochnak

    @Amanda, thanks for your kind words. It always makes me feel good when I’m taking about my experience of dyslexia – it’s very therapeutic. I really enjoyed sharing my story on video and I learn more about myself and uncovered areas that I still need to work on as part of my self-development. As you know, we are releasing videos on the new dyslexia programme, how to become a black belt in dyslexia, that will hopefully assist dyslexia people who are struggling with their dyslexia to gain a greater understanding and awareness of dyslexia so that they can work towards overcoming all of their dyslexia related difficulties. Once a few people have gained their black belts in dyslexia it will be great to get their dyslexia life stories up on this website so that they can inspire us all and encourage others to break free from the negative impact that dyslexia can have on so many people. All the best Amanda and look forward to responding to your next comment, Antonio

    Reply

  7. November 29, 2010 @ 9:38 pm Amanda Arteno

    thanks for sharing your story

    Reply

  8. November 29, 2010 @ 11:57 am Antonio Farruggia-Bochnak

    @Aileen, thank you for your kind words. It’s great to hear that you have traveled the Dyslexia Road too… and it’s great to hear that you have a degree and a couple of masters. The issue of unemployment can certainly have a negative impact on people especially for those who aren’t able to go for the work they are more than capable of doing because they feel their dyslexia would stand in their way. It sounds like you have had some really awful experiences to deal with as a result of unemployment. We should all get together and fight for the forms to be changed and made more dyslexia friendly. It’s horrible when other people perceive us differently to how we see ourselves – being made to feel ‘weird’ can have such a negative impact on us. I’m seen as ‘wired’ by lots of people as I stand up for what I feel to be ‘right’, i.e. an individuals right to experience life without being oppressed. It’s little comfort to us, I know, but many of the people who have brought about significant change in the world have been considered as ‘wired’. It’s great to hear how your daughter was supported by an important psychologist and how she learnt to write once she got a keyboard… I’ve never mastered the skill of using a pen yet and am almost fully reliant on my keyboard but it’s funny I always have to have a pen and paper next to me when I’m tying as I like to doodle. Its brilliant that your daughter has a great personality and fighting spirit – Thanks for the complement, I’m still working on my personality but my fighting spirit is strong. Please wish your daughter all the best from me – it would be fantastic to get both of your ‘inspirational dyslexia life stories’ on the Dyslexic Brian website as your story will inspire so many people.
    It’s good to hear that your half way through your PhD especially as it’s on dyslexia. I am really looking forward to reading your work in the future – I’m sure given your experiences that it will be amazing. The literature is always difficult to get on with as it seems that most of it reflects a medical model of dyslexia. Have you read much around the social model of dyslexia? I agree with you entirely re dyslexia being a construct that is imposed on us. I also agree that force-feeding us reading and writing – you are right it is not a natural thing to learn. Much of my PhD is based on this and forms a significant part of the Empowerment Model of Dyslexia (EMoD) that I created during my doctoral research. You sound like a Dyslexia Revolutionist – good for you for standing up for what you believe in, even though it cost you your job a few times. Good luck running your own business. Keep on going against the political grain and current practice and thinking within education – your PhD will be so important to bring about change within these areas. Good luck with your very difficult balancing act. It will be great to chat – I’m really looking forward to it. All the best and keep on fighting! Antonio

    Reply

  9. November 28, 2010 @ 7:09 pm Aileen Hanrahan

    Hey Antonio,

    I just watched your videos and was delighted that you could communicate so well on the subject. I too have traveled this road, though I did learn to read and write, got a degree at 25 yrs, and a couple of masters in my 40’s. Unemployment has been more of a hallmark on my personality than dyslexia, but of course the two are related. I even found filling out all those unemployment forms a nightmare and a couple of times experienced real poverty as a result, with my daughter, a child then. I was just considered ‘wierd’ wherever I went. And later my daughter was diagnosed as dyspraxic, with severe language processing difficulties, but it took me till she was nine years old before I got the school to acknowledge that she had a problem. That only happened because this very important psychologist took us on for a low fee, though she usually charged fees that were far beyond me. She taught my daughter to read very well, but she never learned to write, till she got a keyboard. Now she is literacy FIT, but the scares remain. Though she has a great personality, and fighting spirit, like yourself.

    I am in the middle of my PHD on writing and dyslexia: What is the impact of not learning to read on development and performance of writing? I too have had a real struggle with the material, with every second line saying ‘disordered, dysfunctional, deficit, difficulty, atypical’ and feeling that the label of disability is inappropriate; that dyslexia is a construct imposed on the bearer of the label, and a cover for the inadequacies of the education system force-feeding us the reading-writing system, that is not natural, but again another construct. The theories of how to teach it only add to the concept of dyslexia being an ‘abnormality’. And my perspective cost me my job on several occasions. Now I am trying to run my own business, but it is hard to go against the political grain, the huge combine that is the education system.

    So, I have been struggling with that. Empowerment is a good word for it, but as I have been a university tutor and assessor of dyslexic students for 8 years, and belonging to various bodies who regulate the trade, I have had a real struggle with the social construction of dyslexia too, in education networks especially.

    At present I am struggling with where my loyalties lie, and the bank manager, as per usual. I would love to have a chat. Let’s skype.

    Aileen

    Reply

  10. November 28, 2010 @ 10:36 am Antonio Farruggia-Bochnak

    @Ron, it’s great to hear you loved the video and for saying you will keep coming back to the website – I really appreciate that. It’s curious how we tend to feel alone about a particular issue or ‘thing’ in our lives especially as we may be surrounded by others who are going through the same or similar experiences as ourselves. I spent years feeling isolated whilst I was struggling to understand and overcome my dyslexia. It often felt that I was the only ‘dyslexic’ person in the world, yet knowing what I know now, I must have been surrounded by dozens upon dozens of fellow ‘dyslexics’. The great thing about the internet is that more and more dyslexic people are sharing their experience of dyslexia with others. This is great as it increasing awareness, reducing the stigma often associated with dyslexia, and also helps to lessen the amount of people who feel isolated. We are releasing several more video about dyslexia for the New FREE Dyslexia Programme that we have designed called ‘How to Become a Black Belt in Dyslexia’. I hope that these videos will be of some use to you – it will be great to get your feedback on them. All the best and look forward to hearing from you again soon, Antonio

    Reply

  11. November 27, 2010 @ 10:18 pm Ron Bish

    Hey Antonio, i loved your video’s. Thank you for reminding me that i’m not alone! I will definatly keep coming back to this site. Keep up the good work, Ron.

    Reply

  12. November 27, 2010 @ 5:16 pm Antonio Farruggia-Bochnak

    @Joe Spencer, thanks for your comments too… it seems that we are both late comers to the Dyslexia Club. It’s good to see that your diagnosis helped you make sense of why you were labelled in that way. It can be so disempowering to labelled people in a negative way because they don’t fit into the ‘norm’. It’s great to hear how your negative experience fuelled your desire to get your Masters in Social Work and a clinical license – a very difficult and complex area to specialise in, well done. It’s great to hear that you have dedicated your career to serving misunderstood young people and families – I bet you bring so much empathy and depth of understanding into your work having been through the dyslexia mill yourself, and having risen above its associated difficulties. It would be great to network with each other and share ideas and thoughts on how we might be able to improve the lot for young people. Good luck to your wife with building your website – it will be great to see it online. What is your Facebook page Joe as it would be brilliant to see it? Lets get in touch with each other very soon – my email address is antonio@dyslexicBrian.com (put Joe Spencer in the subject title so that I can spot it amongst all the others and get back to you quickly). All the best and look forward to chatting soon, Antonio

    Reply

  13. November 27, 2010 @ 2:29 pm Joe Spencer

    I really appreciate your comments! I can relate. I’m 47, grew up dyslexic, but wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my mid-20’s. The diagnosis helped me to understand why was I acheived childhood labels as “smart but dumb” and “space cadet”. It also drove me to achieve a Master’s Degree in Social Work, obtain a clinical license and to dedicate my career to serving misunderstood youth and families. I’d like to network and do similar to what you do! My wife is trying to help me to put up a website, but I do have a facebook page.

    Reply

  14. November 27, 2010 @ 9:49 am Antonio Farruggia-Bochnak

    @Heather, thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement – we are all part of a Dyslexia Revolution that has been building up silently for the past 15 years or so… All of us are changing the world, one dyslexia thought at a time. All the best and thanks in advance for all of your support. Antonio

    Reply

  15. November 26, 2010 @ 11:36 pm Heather

    I just watched the videos and thought they were fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us and please keep changing this world for the better. 🙂 via @Facebook

    Reply


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