Welcome to Day one of Elizabeth Wilkinson’s
‘Inspirational to me dyslexics guest blog
for Dyslexia Awareness Week 2020
What’s your Name? Danny Turnham
How old are you? 29
Where in the world are you? Los Angeles, California.
What is your occupation? Propulsion Engineer.
What’s the name of your business/employer/university? SpaceX.
How old were you when you were diagnosed dyslexic? 17
What difference has finding out made? Finding out that I have dyslexia has made no significant difference to my life and has never held me back.
Which do you prefer: I am dyslexic, or I have Dyslexia? I am dyslexic.
What three words would you use to describe yourself? Ambitious, Hardworking, Respectful.
What 3 words would your friends and family choose to describe you? Risk-taking, Funny, Loyal.
What is your best/proudest YES! moment? My proudest moment was watching two NASA astronauts travel to the International Space Station on a rocket which I helped build the engines for.
If you could have one gadget, piece of equipment or software for free – what would it be, and why? If I could have any gadget for free it would be a Tesla because I’d love to do my part to save the planet.
If you had the day off to do anything at all – what would you do? Living in California has its perks, like being close to the beach and it also has multiple wine countries. My ideal day off would be wine tasting in Santa Barbara.
Who on the planet inspires you the most? My biggest inspiration is Elon Musk. He is probably the most innovative, forward thinking person I know. His main goal throughout all of his companies is to make our lives more sustainable into the far future.
Did you like School? 1 = not at all and 10 = loved it: 3
What did you like most about school? I liked seeing my friends every day.
Who was your favourite teacher and why? Unfortunately, I can’t remember any of my teachers names. So long ago!
If you could go back in time, what one piece of advice would you offer to your younger school aged self, and what age would that be? I’d tell myself to focus more at school.
Are you glad you went for your dyslexia assessment? Yes. Getting diagnosed got me the help and support I needed in the form of a private tutor visiting me weekly to go back to the basics of English and maths. This helped me revisit what I’d missed or forgotten in school due to my dyslexia being unknown at the time. It definitely gave me new confidence and put me back on track to continue my engineering training.
Is there anything you wish someone had told you before you went for your assessment? No but advice I would give someone who is about to be tested for dyslexia would be to not feel ashamed or like you’ve failed in life, You have not! Just be 100% honest on the test, this is essential in finding out exactly in which areas you need support.
If you could go back in time what message would you give to your 13-year-old self? If you’re struggling at school or feel like you’re falling behind because of your dyslexia, stay behind after class and let your teacher know. They are there to support you and accommodate learning difficulties. I didn’t know this at the time, nor did I know I had dyslexia. I just assumed I was thick and that the teacher would shout at me if I said I didn’t understand anything they said in that class.
Do you have any advice for anyone who has just been diagnosed dyslexic? Welcome to one of the biggest clubs worldwide! Some of the greatest minds in human history have dyslexia. It cannot stop you from achieving your goals.
© Elizabeth Wilkinson 2020 www.theddc.org.uk