Life After School

Clenton Farquarson: My Colour’s Yellow

Clenton Farquarson was born in Birmingham in 1964. He grew up in Birmingham and went to his local mainstream schools.

Here Clenton talks about finding out about dyslexia when he was thirty.

Transcript

The first time it was picked up was when I was 30 and it was picked up when I acquired my disability, my physical disability. It was a self-help group based in South Yardley in Birmingham and his name was George Rowley and I distrusted him at first cos he said 'You’ve got plenty of potential' he said And I went pff, what are you after? cos I just didn’t trust him and he said, 'Has anyone ever told you? Cos I think you’ve got dyslexia' and I said 'I ain’t coming here and you telling me I’ve got another disease' cos that’s, what I thought, I got really angry and he says, 'No, no, it’s.. it just means you see the world differently and you can use that as a skill'. I used a few choice words cos I thought he’s off his head, I don’t believe.. what are you after?
One of my coping mechanisms was if anyone was trying to be nice to me, I used to think what are you after? So, distrust, but he managed to help me to work on myself. He brought out about eight different sheets of coloured acetates and he passed me a book and I threw the book back in his face. I says 'I’m not here for.. to read'. He said 'No, I’m trying to help you, just bear with me.' And I went, yrrrh, you know. So he says 'Just put the book in front of you, tell me what happens when you look at words'. And I looked at him like as though, are you being serious and he said, 'Just tell me'. So when I looked he said, 'Tell me what happens when you look at the book'. And I said, well the words are moving and I was expecting him to burst out laughing. He says 'Go on, tell me what else' and he said, 'Just describe what’s happening' And I said, 'But they’re doing that... like merging and jumping around'.
He went 'Has anyone ever asked you that? And I went 'Well no.' And he went 'Through your whole education?' and I went 'Well yeah, no one’s ever asked me. They just labelled me as behavioural problems'. My colour is yellow. If you put yellow acetate on what, the words just stop moving and at the time I thought he was Paul Daniels, a magician.. I was absolutely shocked and I put me hand up, I cried cos I couldn’t believe,how much is a piece of acetate it’s about two pence or a penny?
That, you know, stops it and I’m like, I was.. I cried and then I got angry cos I felt I was robbed, I could have been, you know.. should have been. I could have been anything if someone had believed into me and he, That’s why, I was really grateful to him cos he believed in me and saw something and for me, that’s what all this is about. It’s about what value do you have on people and how do you show that value if you can’t see it and he managed to see value in me when others didn’t.