Did you know that some people don’t actually find out they’re dyslexic til after they’re out of school? It’s a common occurrence that sometimes students in primary or secondary school go through the education system without ever knowing that they have a learning disability.
I could have been one of them. After 11 years in school 3 months before my Leaving Cert I was told I was severely dyslexic. In a way I was lucky. I found out then, when many people don’t ever find out at all. My year head had suggested to me prior to this that I have a test done by a professional psychiatrist to see if maybe I would be eligible for a spelling and grammar waiver for my Leaving Cert.
When I was told the results and that I had a severe learning disability I was completely blown away. I was told my whole school life I was just lazy and I didn’t work hard enough. Imagine doing Irish and French for six years and being told that you actually can’t really comprehend other languages.
Well what was past was past. I focused on my Leaving Cert and with some help from my school I practised working with a scribe. My guidance counsellor told me about DARE. The DARE scheme stands for Disability Access Route to Education. It’s there to help people like me in my situation. I filled out the application through the CAO and was accepted. The DARE scheme has links in different colleges just like Maynooth. The DARE scheme awarded me 60 extra points on my Leaving Cert.
At Maynooth, the Disability Office provided me with a scribe for my exams and many other accommodations. They helped me find my bearings and I am grateful for the advice and help they have given me. I would recommend finding out more about DARE to any student who has a learning or other disability. Just remember the closing date for submitting your supporting documentation to the CAO is April 1st, click onto http://www.accesscollege.ie for more info. I’m here to show that it does not have to hold you back – go on – I DARE you!