He is profoundly Dyslexic and yet his words are still quoted in the Texas Education code that sets into law the State’s commitment to Education for those with dyslexia and related disorders.
His words are:
"Dyslexia brings more gifts than glitches. If you have it, flaunt it. When you stumble, hold out a hand. Help will come. When you achieve, stand proud and then lend a hand with humility." Mark R. Wilkinson OBE
They are words Mark has lived up to.
He left school unable to read or write and listed by his Head Teacher as ‘not worth spending money on exams or further education’.
Today he is approaching the end of a career as one of the UK’s most influential designers and creator of two of its most successful furniture making companies.
He has numerous ‘awards’ such as the OBE that the Queen bestowed upon him for Services to the Furniture Industry, recognising the work he did in Apprenticeships and his influence on design that inspired the creation of a whole industry of craftsmen furniture makers.
He has a number of fellowships including Fellow of the City & Guilds of London Institute and Fellow of the Chartered Society of Design and he is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers.
In becoming the inaugural Ambassador for the Helen Arkell Centre, he illustrates how to ‘lend a hand with humility’, as he also does in speaking on spatial-visual thinking at the London Festival of Education and as Patron on many initiatives for the Rowdeford School for Specialist Education. In the field of design he regularly shares his experience, as an Alternative Lecturer at the Design School of the University of Western England, among others. He also took up an invitation by the Wiltshire County Council to speak at their Dyslexia Awareness week examining how they recognised and worked with people on their own staff, who may have dyslexia and other special abilities. He also spoke to inmates at the Bristol Young Offenders facility.
Mark is a perfect example of how to succeed through Dyslexia and that dyslexia does not indicate any lack of intelligence or ability – he is a Member of Mensa, a very eloquent speaker and has an unusually complete understanding of words.
He will tell you that success takes hard work, he had to teach himself to read and trains his mind by reading for several hours every day, but by recognising the value of thinking creatively… ‘out-of-the-box’, anyone sharing dyslexia can build a successful career.