My dyslexia journey began 12 years ago. Until that time, I lived with the wonderful naïve belief that children with literacy problems got th...

Meet The Team - Carolyn Merritt

08:49:00 Dyslexia Australia 1 Comments

My dyslexia journey began 12 years ago. Until that time, I lived with the wonderful naïve belief that children with literacy problems got the help they needed in schools.  I still remember my shock when I discovered that help was not available to all kids at all, let alone evidence based assistance (something I was also unaware of then). 

I discovered that there was no requirement by the education department for schools to have literacy support in any form – it was completely up to the Principal. I also discovered that negotiating and dealing with teachers about a child with reading difficulties was a draining and, at times, stressful situation, even for a parent like myself, who usually managed to communicate well and be assertive. 

I was horrified to discover that schools were routinely recommending non evidence based testing which, in our case started a journey of wasted time and money pursuing more non evidence based remediation methods. 

So the fire in my belly was lit and the fight started. I fought for knowledge. I fought for assistance. I fought to raise awareness. 

(I offered to subscribe the primary school to the LDA bulletin, but was told that the teachers wouldn’t read them)

Back then I was alone. There were no support groups that I knew of. Facebook had not taken off and I was alone trying to learn all that I could. A wonderful Speech Pathologist took us under her wing and guided us in the direction of appropriate reading and support but not before we had fallen prey to some snake oil salesmen. 

As a health professional, I am used to the notion of evidence based care. It still astounds me that state education has no mandate for evidence based methods despite being funded by the taxpayer. I am dismayed by the poor understanding of what constitutes best practice teaching methods and the lack of response to the National Inquiry into Reading and the Rose report. 

A couple of years ago I stumbled onto the facebook support groups and found myself being asked to be an admin of the Victoria group. The rest, as they say, is history. I found a bunch of like-minded, driven, passionate people trying to force change whilst simultaneously helping others to negotiate the dyslexia path.

As I got to know these women in cyber land, an incredible friendship blossomed and we are now joined in our quest. 

The path is less lonely but it is no less frustrating. There is such a long way to go to fix what essentially is a broken system. The cost to the individual and to society for using teaching methods that consistently fail to appropriately teach reading to approximately 20% of all students is enormous. Mental health implications are massive. 

This is a human rights issue. The knowledge is out there. There is no need for this level of suffering.


1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written, perfectly describes the frustration parents endure. So tragic we are still fighting for our kids to have a chance at life.