By his own estimation a business owner has a reading age of 11 and the spelling ability of an eight-year-old.
However, Elliott Robinson hasn’t allowed dyslexia to define him or hold him back and for the past 17 years has run his own oven cleaning business.
As part of Dyslexia Awareness Week, which ran from October 2 to 8, Elliott has spoken out to dispel some of the myths that have grown up around dyslexia.
He says he was very fortunate to be diagnosed with the neurological disorder at a relatively young age when living in Solihull – rather those who remain undiagnosed.
The 45-year-old, who now lives in Redditch, said: “Not everyone is lucky enough to receive a diagnosis early on and many grow up thinking and accepting the labels that have been unfairly placed upon them.
“Knowing you are dyslexic is really important because it means that you know what you are dealing with and can not only find help and support but come up with coping mechanisms that allow you to negotiate the challenges it puts in your way.”
Dyslexia is a neurological difference that can have a significant impact during education, in the workplace and everyday life and it can cause problems with reading and writing.
The Ovenu Solihull owner, who has two daughters and is married to NHS nurse Sharon, added: “There are positives as many dyslexic people excel in different areas, such as problem solving, creativity, big picture thinking and making connections.”
Famous dyslexics include Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, singer Paloma Faith, entrepreneur Richard Branson, film director Stephen Spielberg, and theoretical physicists Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.
Elliott attended two schools, a special needs school in Castle Bromwich and a main state school until the age of seven, when he was sent to a special boarding school in Derbyshire which specialised in dyslexia.
He returned to Solihull aged 17 and completed an art course at Solihull College and a screen printing course at Matthew Boulton College, Birmingham.
He said: “My mum and dad were worried that I wouldn’t have a proper future and they told me about the opportunity to take on the Ovenu franchise.
“That was back in 2007 and since then I’ve built up a host of loyal customers and absolutely love being my own boss – and being part of a franchise means I receive lots of support from head office and fellow franchisees.
“I learnt to live with dyslexia years ago and have not allowed it to become a barrier to building a successful business. If I’d known as a 16-year-old how far I would have come in life, I think I would have been quite impressed with myself.”