Wednesday 20 March 2019

No terror this time as Joan faces new challenge

Katherine Donnelly

NOBODY ever mentioned the word dyslexia to Joan Nolan (37) when she was at school, and she left after what was then called the Inter Cert because of her learning difficulties.

"At the time, there was no help," recalls Joan, who lives in Drimnagh, Dublin with her husband Derek and son Sean (12).

"When I did the Inter Cert it terrified me, so I left," she added. Instead, Joan trained in spot welding and worked at it for about 10 years before her skills became redundant.

She then got into a Community Employment (CE) scheme and ended up working on welfare rights.

"I realised I was quite good at helping people, but I didn't like filling out forms -- my spelling was quite bad," she explains.

About five years ago, Joan's dyslexia was diagnosed and, on advice from colleagues at work, she started a one-to-one course in Crumlin College of Further Education to help her with her spelling difficulties.

"You feel it when you don't think you are as bright as someone else, but when you realise you have a problem and try to overcome it, it's fine."

Joan then moved on to some FETAC courses, and then decided she wanted to do her Leaving Certificate in English and Maths. She did the English two years ago and is this week sitting Maths.

"Now, I am reading things and I am helping my son Sean with his homework. My dyslexia won't ever go away, but I have changed completely."

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