Council Group Leader opens up about dyslexia

Town and borough councillor speaks openly about his struggle with dyslexia to raise awareness during National dyslexia week.

Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Sittingbourne & Sheppey Councillor Ben J Martin gave a presentation on Dyslexia to the Faversham and District Engagement forum on Tuesday evening where he spoke about his own struggles with Dyslexia. Cllr Martin, the Lib Dem group leader at Swale Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Housing in the Coalition administration, was diagnosed with dyslexia while at college.

Cllr Ben J Martin said “Dyslexia is a learning difference that affects far more than just reading and writing. There are 37 traits of dyslexia, I suffer with 30 of them, but I don’t see it as a problem. For all the negatives, there are positives aspects to being Dyslexic. Dyslexics generally think in images and feelings instead of words. As a result we tend to be problem solvers, we look at problems in a different way to others, enabling us to come up with ideas that others wouldn’t.”


Ben Continued “Statistics show that at least 1 in 10 people have dyslexia with some academics putting the figure closer to 1 in 5. The majority go through their whole lives without a diagnosis. A dyslexia screening and assessment can cost between £300-3000 and is not available on the NHS. Most people with dyslexia will be called lazy or thick. That is far from the case. Dyslexic individuals may struggle at school, but many go on to do amazing things in their chosen field. In Business Steve Jobs and Richard Branson, in sport Sir Jackie Stewart and Muhammad Ali, a huge array of Actors, musicians, scientists and artists and in Politics 5 US presidents including JFK and of course Winston Churchill. The best-selling non-fiction author in the UK ever is Jamie Oliver – another dyslexic.”

“The perception of dyslexia has to change, but we all so have to empower dyslexics, with support, with adaption and with praise. Far too many dyslexics suffer with low self-esteem and are failed by the current education system. Everyone should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”

Dyslexia support is available from a variety sources including

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