Meet Eli: The Dyslexic Dyslexia Consultant
Hello, I’m Elizabeth Wilkinson MBE (eek – exciting!). This is the first blog I have written since being awarded an MBE, it is very exciting to be able to put that in there! Anyway, back to the topic! I am Elizabeth, but everyone calls me Eli (pronounced Ellie).
I am based in the beautiful county of Shropshire, in fact my office has a view of the Wrekin (a big hill people love to walk!) in the winter months when there are no leaves on the trees. But, as I’m typing this (using Dragon NaturallySpeaking to dictate!) and looking out of the window I am suddenly struck by the beauty of the sight that meets my gaze; there are so many leaves and blossoms on the trees that I can no longer see the Wrekin. This makes me smile a big smile, it’s beautiful, and to make it even better, today the sky is blue with a few clouds and beautiful sunlight everywhere – what a day to be finally writing this for Listening Books!
Ok, so who am I and what do I do? I am the founder of Dyslexia information Day & Dyslexia Awards (both not-for-profit events), and my business is The Dyslexic Dyslexia Consultant.
Dyslexia information Day was created so that I could get as many excellent service providers, who offer quality products or services that help or are of use to dyslexics of all ages, under one roof. In addition to that, it is about visitors having access to reliable and quality information that can be taken away with them for future reference. One of the other key points of the day - well it’s actually one of the most important – is the Volunteers! No Dyslexia information Day can run without them, they are outstanding!
Dyslexia information Day Volunteers are all amazing individuals who give up their time on the day to be on hand to make people feel welcome, answer questions, chat to and inspire our visitors. I am biased I know, but every single volunteer has experience of: dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, autism, Asperger’s, ADD, ADHD or other neuro diversities, they inspire and empower everyone they talk to on the day, including me!
I learned about Listening Books in the early 2000’s, whilst attending the Education Show, at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. I was blown away by what they do, and the fact that they offer completely free memberships for people who would find their usual membership fees unaffordable told me everything I needed to know about the ethos of this organisation. I was at the time a lone parent and know the struggle, so I appreciated the difference this membership would make to people’s lives, for those who maybe couldn’t access the written word for whatever reason, this would be a wonderful service to have! This showed me they were an organisation who cared!
In 2008 when I was setting up the very first Dyslexia information Day, I contacted Listening Books, explained my vision and asked them if they would be willing to attend an exhibit at the event. I was delighted that they agreed to attend and exhibit, and they are an integral part of each event they attend; always a big hit and always a really positive addition!
I recall at the first event they attended hearing people chatting about how excited they were that they would be able to listen to stories, parents talking about how their child would now be able to listen to the book they needed to read for school, and as I pointed out to one parent, this now meant that their child would be able to listen to the books that their friends were reading, and no longer be excluded from the playground conversations. They would be able to weigh in and have an opinion, and their love of stories, books and literature could be re-ignited – they were over the moon! And that’s the magic of what Listening Books do!
As the founder of Dyslexia information Day it’s a real thrill every time Listening Books attend to exhibit, as they are a real asset to each event. As a dyslexia consultant who works with businesses and organisations, it’s really lovely to be able to let them know about Listening Books’ services. It’s wonderful to see that they are an approved activity provider for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award too! I mean that’s just awesome!
For more information about Dyslexia information Day, Dyslexia Awards and Eli’s work as The Dyslexic Dyslexia Consultant, please click here.
If you or your child find that dyslexia presents a barrier to reading, and you'd like to learn more about how Listening Books’ charitable audiobook lending service can support you, please click here!
Author: Elizabeth Wilkinson MBE
Editor: Emily Pye