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Deaf grandmother overcomes dyslexia to win university place

Colette Scotton is thrilled to be studying nursing at Anglia Ruskin after a difficult childhood

Tuesday 25 July
Deaf grandmother overcomes dyslexia to win university place

Editor - July 25 at 07:00

The trainee nurse and mum-of-three has been partially deaf since contracting an ear infection which destroyed her hearing at the age of two. She learned to lipread and wears hearing aids in both ears. After spending years struggling in education and never properly learning to read or write, Colette left school aged 16 with no GCSEs. "School was not a nice experience for me," she said. "I missed chunks of my education growing up because I went to eight different schools, and I grew up thinking I was just plain stupid."
Colette felt she was the odd one out because of her hearing and difficulty in lessons, and was bullied by her peers as a result. "I used to get picked on and I didn't like standing up in front of a class because it made me feel like an idiot, so the teachers tended to leave me alone." Colette didn't find out she was dyslexic until she was 21, when she tried to return to education and was diagnosed with the learning difficulty. "A lot of children with hearing impairments suffer from dyslexia. When we learn phonics in school, we miss the sounds and don't grasp the spellings. "Because I understand that now, it makes my learning easier as I know it's not just me. It’s not a disability or a condition, it’s just dyslexia."
But after becoming a single mum to a daughter and a son, she was forced to drop out of education for the second time and found work as a maternity care assistant in a hospital. Colette Scotton, 45, has just completed her first year studying Adult Nursing at Anglia Ruskin University, after deafness and dyslexia caused her to struggle through education for years. She said: "I was starting to progress, but because I had kids, education was too much of a commitment." Years later, Colette became determined to have another go. "As my kids got older, I realised I didn't want to be a mum who couldn't read or write. "I wanted to be able to help my kids. I wanted to do more than just be a health care worker and realised I needed to go back into education."
Colette passed the Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma with a merit and after many rejected applications, Anglia Ruskin University accepted her onto their three-year course in Adult Nursing. "I was floored when Anglia Ruskin University accepted me. A year later, I’m here doing really well and I can’t believe it." She has been given disability support thanks to Clarion UK, a small company in Royston dedicated to helping deaf people.
Clarion UK arrange for Colette to have a specialist mentor who proofreads essays and gives guidance on learning, and note-taker Kathryn, who comes into lectures and tutorials and takes notes for her. Colette said: "Kathryn is an absolute diamond and an immense support to me, we get on really well and that’s what I need. "Without her I’d really struggle, she's the most important part of the process at the moment. "If I didn't know this support was available I probably wouldn't have gone to university, I wouldn't be able to cope. "I’m so happy to have Clarion UK and my team because without them my learning journey would stop still." "It’s hard balancing being a mum, a grandmother, a student and working. I'm juggling these four balls and keeping them in the air is tiring, but my kids are proud of me. "I wanted to prove that if you strive for long enough you can achieve anything. If you want something, don't sit back and moan about it, do something about it." Colette Scotton, 45, has just completed her first year studying Adult Nursing at Anglia Ruskin University, after deafness and dyslexia caused her to struggle through education for years. "Once I've passed my nursing degree I would like to try A&E, I love the adrenaline and the fast pace. I don't want to jinx it but I've planned my graduation dress and I'm going to start a family tradition. "I may be the first in my family to graduate so I want to say to everybody, including my grandchildren, 'I did it, here’s the evidence'." Colette had some advice for anyone considering returning to education. She said: "Get out there and do it, start small and build yourself up. "My education has been a struggle but it’s been worth it and I wouldn't change anything. "Whatever your difficulties are, challenge and push yourself. I did just that and I got in! "If you’re not sure what support is out there, go and speak to somebody. With the right support and the right people, anything is possible.”
Colette Scotton, 45, has just completed her first year studying Adult Nursing at Anglia Ruskin University, after deafness and dyslexia caused her to struggle through education for years. Magdalena Zieba, who works at Clarion UK, said: "Every year, Clarion UK receives a large number of students’ referrals for universities and colleges across the UK. "We evaluate the students’ needs - be it support for Deaf, Visually Impaired, or non-Medical help students - and establish whether or not we have enough resource in the area with the right qualifications and experience to be able to support and meet the complex needs of individual students. "Colette's circumstances, including her having to juggle a lot of different responsibilities and study at the same time, inspired all members of staff in the Education Team at Clarion and we did everything we could to ensure that she had her support in place for the entire academic year."
Source:Cambridge News

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