Dyslexia hero Elizabeth ready for a right royal day out
A campaigner from Shropshire who has worked tirelessly to promote the skills and successes of people with dyslexia is looking forward to a date with royalty.
Elizabeth Wilkinson will head to Windsor Castle on March 8 to collect the MBE she was awarded in Queen Elizabeth’s final birthday honours list. She will be accompanied to the castle by her mum, Sue Taylor, dad, Michael Wilkinson, and dad’s partner, Christine Haslam.
The exciting day comes as Eli prepares to launch the 2023 National Dyslexia Awards, the annual celebration of dyslexic people and those who go above and beyond to help them succeed.
Elizabeth, from Wellington, said: “I still can’t quite believe I’ve been bestowed with such an honour as an MBE. The fact that it was part of Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee honours list and her last ever makes it even more special to me. And as nervous as I am, I am equally as excited and so very grateful that I get to share this very special occasion with my family.”
Elizabeth was diagnosed with dyslexia in her early 30s when she was researching ways to seek a diagnosis for her son and more general information about dyslexia.
Realising that an earlier diagnosis and more support for educators in school would have made a huge difference, Elizabeth set about doing what she could to improve the lives of other people with dyslexia.
She trained to become a specialist teacher and then in 2007 she set up her not-for-profit company The Dyslexic Dyslexia Consultant and has since trained thousands of business leaders and professionals on dyslexia in the workplace.
She also founded the Dyslexia Information Day – an annual event designed to help people access trustworthy, free advice about dyslexia and local services.
In 2015 she launched the first ever Dyslexia Awards for dyslexics, businesses and educators, in the Shropshire region only. The awards expanded to include the West Midlands region in 2020, before going national last year.
Elizabeth added: “Dyslexia is estimated to affect around 10 per cent of the population and it can have a devastating effect on a person’s confidence and ability to succeed if it is not recognised and supported.
“The good news is that dyslexic people don’t need huge adjustments to help them achieve – they just need a little support from people who understand the condition.
“There are still a lot of myths about dyslexia, such as dyslexic people can’t read or write at all, or that it only affects literacy – I’ve been on a mission for the last 20 years or so to educate as many people as I can about what dyslexia actually is and how it can be supported and that mission is still at the core of everything I do.”
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty (SpLD) which usually manifests mainly as a difficulty with handling language, such as phonics, short term memory and automaticity. It is caused by a difference in how the brain processes information but is unrelated to intelligence or other skills.
Many dyslexic people are very high-achieving, especially in entrepreneurial and creative fields. Well-known high-profile dyslexics include Sir Richard Branson, EastEnders actress Kara Tointon, The Saturdays pop star and presenter Mollie King and Scottish rugby union international Kenny Logan.
However, the national Dyslexia Awards are about celebrating the achievements of every day dyslexics who are doing amazing things in their local communities.
Nominations for the 2023 Dyslexia Awards will open in April. For more information and to view this year’s award categories visit https://theddc.org.uk/dyslexiaawards/.