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Learning English to tell my own story

Inspirational learner Corinna shows an amazing story of courage and strength over adversity in her short autobiographical story, The Mirror Image, written and edited in her Functional Skills English Class at our New Mills Adult Community Education Centre, and published with her kind permission.

The Mirror Image

All around me people are talking. I’m sat alone in a corner. My mum tries to talk to me but I cannot answer. I try and look her in the eyes but it hurts my head too much. I wanted it all to end.

At ten years old I get my first friend. She’s the cutest dog I’ve ever met. I can look her in the eyes and it does not hurt. She comes to me wagging her tail. My mum tells me her name is Sheba and it’s the first word I ever say. I play with my new friend every day. I can now speak to the people around me. For the first time in my life I am happy.

Not all my family members were happy that I could speak. My Nana treated me like rubbish when she thought she could get away with it. I will never forgive her for her bad treatment. My little fur friend saved me from her.

I started secondary school at eleven and it was horrible. All the other children were able to read and write but I couldn’t the other children called me thick and stupid! When you hear it all the time you start to think it’s true. No one understands that I cannot put my letters in order.

At sixteen I leave school still unable to read. Will I ever be able to learn? At nineteen years old I decide to try and do something about it, so I go to college. It was the best thing I ever did. Now I can read and write. I am happy again. The tutors are great. I now know the only ignorant people are the ones who don’t understand learning problems and are the ones not worth bothering with.

I’m now forty six years old and I am very happy and never worry about making a mistake. I will carry on learning all because of my little furry best friend. It was because of her I started to communicate.

I live a normal life but my poor parent used to worry about me all the time. They thought when I was a child I would never have a normal life. I am proud to say I proved everyone wrong.

With the right help you can do whatever you want. Even when people try to put you down, don’t let them. Always hold your head up high and tell them to “please shut up!”

I honestly believe if it was not for my first dog I would have never made it to be an adult. I tried to end things twice as a child. I am glad I failed. I am so blessed I had a little four legged friend.

I write this true story for all people with learning problems and physical difficulties.

Tutor Lindsay Grimshaw says:

“I feel very privileged to be Corinna’s tutor, as she is, without doubt, an example to us all.”