The world is filled with people from different backgrounds, religions, cultures, and abilities. It’s important that workplaces keep this in mind and create inclusive environments for all. Medibank Cover Review Consultant Gill Strong, who is living with dyslexia, is passionate about doing her part to make sure everyone feels comfortable in being who they are.
Gill’s dyslexia wasn’t diagnosed until adulthood, after a visit to the optometrist.
“It wasn’t until I went in for an eye check that I discovered I had been living with dyslexia,” Gill says.
“My optometrist put the tint in front of the lens during the check-up and my body just relaxed. I didn’t realise I couldn’t see letters and words properly. That moment completely changed my life.”
People with dyslexia have extra challenges when it comes to reading and spelling, and simply have a different way of learning. Although Gill wasn’t diagnosed until she was an adult, she had been living with the challenges of dyslexia since childhood.
“Growing up, people would call me stupid, so I assumed I was. People with this disorder require different ways of learning. For me, I need to be shown how to do something as opposed to just being told.”
Dylan Alcott with Medibank CEO Craig Drummond at the Accessibility and Inclusion Plan launch.
Her dyslexia is something she kept to herself, not feeling any need to speak about it with those around her.
“My family knew a bit about it, I shared very little with them, but to be honest I didn’t realise I was trying to hide it. Once I was diagnosed, there was suddenly a label to it and a huge part of me, I think, didn’t want to deal with the judgment that I felt would show up.”
Gillian says that it was when she heard Dylan Alcott speak at the launch of the Medibank Accessibility & Inclusion Plan that she realised her dyslexia wasn’t something to be ashamed of.
“Dylan is so incredible and passionate. When I heard him speak, I, again, felt my whole body just relax. There was this sigh of relief and it was almost as if I suddenly knew why I was listening to the conversation. I needed to be a part of raising awareness.”
Medibank is actively creating an accessible working environment for people of all backgrounds and abilities, this is something Gillian can attest to.
“Just by having open conversations, both from speakers such as Dylan and everyday hallway conversations, we are helping create a more accessible environment,” she says.
“We are taking action. We encourage people to tell their stories because we know the key is education. Knowledge is power.”
Her passion is clear, and from doing workshops and simply sharing her story, she is determined to spread the word.
“I have a voice, we all do, and I welcome any type of conversation, it doesn’t matter the formality of them because I’m really passionate to bring this out,” she explains.
“If we’re inclusive of all backgrounds and abilities, there will be much more harmony within the workplace. We need to be a representation of how the world should be.”