I want to say to every one of the 700 million people globally who suffer with Dyslexia … do not let it be a barrier to achieving your dreams.

At school I always struggled.

We couldn’t pin point the problem but at the time these struggles made the idea of college an unrealistic proposition. I took what seemed the only option available and went straight from school into work at the age of 16, becoming a copier engineer within two years.

Fast forward two decades, during which time I had become a successful businessman and the CEO of Altodigital.

It was then, at the age of 37 I was diagnosed as dyslexic and had the revelation that I had gone through my entire life with absolutely no idea.

To some extent it was a self-diagnosis.

One day I listened to a man named Ron Davis talking about his outstanding book “The Gift of Dyslexia” on the radio. During the interview I had to stop the car as it was so overwhelming. He sounded as if he was talking directly to me.

One of our customers happened to be the Dyslexic Society so I called one of their professors and said: “I think I might have it!” I popped round within a few days and their tests confirmed I had Dyslexia but fortunately a very high IQ (I resisted trying to sell him an extra copier during my visit).

I can’t describe how I felt that day. This confirmation was a giant weight lifting off my shoulders. I could never understand why I struggled in certain lessons at school despite always being regarded as a ‘smart kid’.

As I look back now, in many ways I am so pleased to have been blessed with Dyslexia because as the aforementioned book describes ‘I may not have seen so many opportunities in life without it.’
It’s a wonderful thing that in 2018 there is so much more understanding and support around the condition compared to my younger days. The recent announcement from Microsoft regarding access to technology and training materials will also make a profound difference to millions.

So just remember. Dyslexia doesn’t need to hold you back, you can become anything you want and I am living proof that Dyslexia, happiness and success can go hand in hand.

James Abrahart, CEO Altodigital

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