Sarah Chapman is a dedicated wife and mother of two, as well as an Education Studies student at the University of Derby and a volunteer for the Dyslexia Association. Her dramatic turnaround from written off tearaway to successful family woman and dyslexia advocate has garnered much media interest, and has led to her being shortlisted for the Positive Role Model for Disability award at the National Diversity Awards 2014.
After leaving school in 2000 with no qualifications and undiagnosed dyslexia, Sarah had low self esteem and no confidence. Her lack of concentration and disruptive behaviour often led to both her teachers and parents alike stating that she would never amount to anything.
As a result of this, Sarah spent years of her life deeming herself a failure due to her frustrations at the lack of support from the very people who were meant to be helping her progress in life. Once Sarah had left school, she spent her time travelling around the world doing any job that she felt wouldn’t challenge her brain – essentially living in poverty.
Sarah was about to embark upon another journey when she fell pregnant in 2009. At this point, Sarah had no friends where she was living and no support either. All alone with a growing fear of being a failure who would not be able to provide for her unborn baby, she decided to attend an adult learning facility called The Core Centre. This would prove to be the springboard to success that Sarah needed, as she soon developed a number of skills which ultimately resulted in a raft of qualifications.
After giving birth to her daughter, Sarah capitalised on the impetus which successful learning at The Core Centre had given her, and decided to undertake an Access course in Teaching at New College Nottingham. Sarah successfully passed this course and embarked upon the next step – an Education Studies degree at the University of Derby. It was at this point that Sarah was eventually diagnosed with dyslexia.
In spite of her diagnosis, Sarah has gone on to become a first class student with most of her modules achieving above 90%. Whilst the pedigree of her results would suggest that university has been a breeze, this is not the case, as Sarah has had to battle hard against her dyslexia to achieve success.
Sarah’s extracurricular activities include being a Student Rep for her program SEND Pathway degree and she also has a string of additional qualifications which she has gained alongside her degree whilst volunteering firstly in a primary school as a literacy volunteer, but more recently with the Dyslexia Association.
She has dedicated her time and efforts to improving the lives of people with dyslexia and has since organised a workshop at the University of Derby which drew 400 people from across the UK from all sectors of society. The event also attracted a lot of media attention and requests for articles.
In between of all this, Sarah has since gone on to get married and to have a son. She has dramatically changed her life for the better and the outcome of this is that she has changed the lives of others in quite a remarkable way.