Tuesday 26 September 2017

Alumna Shae Wissell

Today we are sharing the story of a member of our School community who embodies the definition of a young person of character.

Shae Wissell graduated from the Plenty Campus in 1997. As a student at Ivanhoe Grammar School, Shae loved reading and creative writing but was unknowingly struggling with dyslexia, a condition that she would not be diagnosed with for another ten years.

After graduating, Shae trained as a Speech Pathologist before completing a Master’s Degree in Public Health and Health Administration.

Through her work and her own experience with dyslexia, Shae developed a passion for supporting people with learning disabilities, particularly young people trying to finish high school. This led her to start the Dear Dyslexic Foundation; a network, forum and podcast to support people with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Knowing that it can often be an ‘invisible disability’ that is tricky to diagnose, she hopes that Dear Dyslexic will empower other sufferers to seek help, push through the challenges and reach their full potential. “I want to shine a light on the advantages rather than just the disadvantages of having dyslexia.”

Shae epitomises such advantages. Never allowing her dyslexia to hold her back from pursuing a life in academia she is now a doctoral candidate, and her research supports the work of the Foundation. “Having dyslexia has made me extremely resilient. You get knocked down a lot and have to learn to stand back up. Had someone told me at 16 that I would be heading up my own not-for-profit and undertaking my doctorate I would have laughed and said ‘yeah right!’ But here I am.”

Though it was a challenge, Shae still feels privileged for her time at school and the supportive network of friends she made.

“My time at school showed me that if you work hard you can be what you want to be, we all just have different ways of getting there.”

Visit www.deardyslexic.com to listen to the podcasts or learn more.