To celebrate the launch of Dyslexicdayna x Socolo collection we have created a three-part interview series where we delve into the stories behind some select pages in the Dyslexicdayna planner.
First up in this series, I never got my pen licence but I got my masters degree - quote page.
Socolo: So Dayna, tell us a little about this page of the planner and why you wanted to include it?
@dyslexicdayna POV: you’re dyspraxic and in primary school and never get your pen lisence #schoolpov #penlisence #teacher #writing #primaryschoolpov ♬ original sound - Dayna
Dayna: Around six months ago I uploaded a sketch to TikTok where I talked about how I left primary school without my pen licence and the emotional impact it had on me for years!
Here in the UK a lot of schools require children to write in pencil and once their handwriting and spelling etc is deemed as ‘good enough’ they are upgraded to a pen, normally in front of peers as a moment of celebration. However, for a lot of dyslexic and dyspraxic children like myself, it ends up being an incredibly upsetting experience that we struggle with for years to come. For a long time, I thought I was the only child to not get a pen licence and it was only when I uploaded my story to TikTok did I discover how common this experience is amongst the neurodivergent community.
S: It’s wild to us that schools operate under such an ableist mentality. Now obviously the second part of the quote is “but I got my masters degree”. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
D: Of course! It kinda speaks for itself. I have a masters degree in dyslexia and achieved a distinction as well as being the highest performing in my year for my research thesis. As I reflect I can’t help but see the irony that I never received my pen license as a child but I have a masters degree and will be doing a PhD soon (Check in six years from now to meet Dr Dana Halliwell).
Unfortunately, the pen license exercise has forever scarred my inner child and as a result, I feel like any success is not good enough and that I am somehow unworthy because I struggle to spell and my handwriting isn’t the neatest… I guess what I’m trying to say is that intelligence is not about the execution of words but the formulation and nurturing of ideas. So I wanted to include a quotes page that highlighted this duality and hopefully help someone else feel better about not getting their pen license.
Also, I just wanted to say that if you are a teacher and reading this, research suggests that dyslexic and dyspraxic children find it easier to use a pen because they can feel the pressure point of the ball so making these children use a pencil achieves nothing other than reinforcing ableist structures within school.
Thank you Dayna! Tune in next week when we dive into the story behind the colouring page, ‘disability is like the ocean’.
Sneak peek of next week blog!