Saturday, 23 July 2011

Proud mother

Last week my elder son graduated with a 2.1 in Creative and Professional Writing at the University of Glamorgan.  I am so proud of him – it is an extraordinary achievement.

Daniel had health problems from birth.  His was ill pretty much of the time as a baby and a toddler, but this gradually improved by the time he went to school.  At infant school he was diagnosed as dyspraxic and he received therapy for this for several years.  This means that his coordination is poor and he does not see the world in quite the same way the rest of us do.  For years—for example—he was only able to safely walk downstairs by sliding his foot along the back of the step to feel his way to the next tread.  He could not hop, found running difficult, ball games impossible, and has never succeeded in learning to swim despite a couple of courses of private lessons.

In the final year of his primary school his was awarded the Bethan Bradley memorial award – an award given to the student who has persevered and risen to the challenge to overcome personal learning difficulties. 

Because of his poor hand/eye coordination his handwriting is messy and childlike and difficult to read, and this proved a great disadvantage in the secondary school examination system.  Nevertheless he achieved 10 GCSEs and 3 A levels.  The grades do not reflect his intelligence and capability.  He worked really hard for his exams – Daniel always gives 110% in effort and application.  For his A levels he gained a D for politics, a D for English Language and a C Religious Studies.  Unfortunately the writing course he wished to take at university required a minimum achievement of 2 Bs and a C.

Daniel tried to find work but was unable to find anyone who would give him a chance.  Having to hand write application forms was a big disadvantage.  Two years later and still with no career prospect he decided to try again for the writing course at the University of Glamorgan.  After having been refused again, once in writing and once on the phone, we pursued it this time explaining that writing was all Daniel had ever wanted to do and that he had been writing stories since he was 5.  Fortunately one time we spoke to a person on the other end of the phone who was less rigid, and they put Daniel in touch with one of the tutors.  She asked him to submit a piece of his work.  Daniel sent in a short story and was accepted on the strength of that.

In his first year at university he was diagnosed as dyslexic – which explained a lot.  He was allowed a computer for the exams which meant he was not at the mercy of his handwriting.  Years two and three were assessed on coursework rather than by examination so this problem did not arise again.  He worked hard and deserved the 2.1 award.

So well done Daniel.  I hope that someone will give him a job this time.  If an employer would take a risk on him they would discover a jewel – an employee who is conscientious and hard-working, honest and reliable, and who can succeed when the odds are against him.

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