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Bromley woman passionate about helping people with dyslexia

PUBLISHED: 16:25 30 October 2014 | UPDATED: 10:04 05 November 2014

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This month marks the beginning of Dyslexia Awareness Week, which runs from November 3 to 9.

Helen FreemanHelen Freeman

One of the most common learning difficulties, an estimated one in 10 people in the UK has a certain degree of dyslexia.

It can affect people in many different ways, such as their spelling, reading and processing of information.

Helen Freeman, a personal trainer and dyslexia strategy advisor from Bromley, is writing a book about ways people can cope with the learning difference.

The book will be about practical strategies that adults can use to help them deal with their dyslexia on an everyday basis.

“A lot of people just really want to find ways of coping,” she explained.

“That’s an important part of being dyslexic, finding strategies to build on.

“If someone was finding it hard to tell the time- change it to digital. It’s so simple but you wouldn’t think of it yourself sometimes.

“Some people might even have problems with booking a holiday, it can really stress someone out having to plan it and being scared they are going to miss something out, so it’s helping them make lists and tick boxes.

“I feel that there’s a lot of books out there, some really good books, but a lot of dyslexics don’t need to know all the jargon. I think case studies are fine, but you get to the stage where you need something simple and to the point.”

Before being assessed with dyslexia, Ms Freeman struggled with learning, but since the assessment has received tutoring and attended courses.

She believes that Dyslexia Awareness Week and other events are helping to raise the profile of it, enabling people to get the help they need.

“I think it has come a long way and it is getting noticed. When I was at school it wasn’t recognised. I was only assessed around ten years ago, so I am still learning all the time,” she said.

“A lot of people tend to think it’s reading and writing only, but it’s much bigger than that. It’s all about processing.

“Every single person with dyslexia is so different. For me it’s more spelling and memory and processing. For my daughter it’s more organising and learning, so we are very different but we bounce off each other.”

Ms Freeman’s experience has also helped her with teaching people she is training at her Fitness Rate business, providing them with strategies and helping them with instructions.

And while learning to cope with the difficulties can be a struggle, she is passionate about encouraging people with dyslexia to believe in themselves and what they can achieve.

“It’s lovely knowing that I can help people in two different ways, with dyslexia and fitness,” she said.

“I have had clients who have really struggled with co-ordination and it’s all about breaking it down.

“People can come in feeling really unhappy and then they walk away with a smile, as though a weight has been lifted from their shoulders.”

Ms Freeman also works with the Bexley Bromley Greenwich and Lewisham Dyslexia Association, which holds a monthly meeting where people can discuss their thoughts and feelings and receive support.

They also hold workshops for parents, children and teachers and discuss the strengths, skills and talents that people with dyslexia have..

As well as this, she is part of the Dyslexia Association committee which oversees its running.

To find out more about dyslexia please visit www.dyslexiawise.co.uk. For more information about Helen and her work, please visit www.fitnessrate.co.uk

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