As a mother of an extraordinarily creative, intelligent, inquisitive and quirky adolescent who also happens to have a specific learning diso...

Lisa's Red Letter

19:22:00 My Red Letter Dyslexia Awareness 0 Comments

As a mother of an extraordinarily creative, intelligent, inquisitive and quirky adolescent who also happens to have a specific learning disorder I advocate to ensure that he, along with all others with similar stories, have an equal opportunity to reach their fullest potential. 

I have chosen to write my red letter through the eyes of the disability itself in the hope that those within our society, namely teachers, parents and students with minimal understanding of this condition, which, too often is 'thrown under the carpet', are empowered to understand the adversity the Australian education system thrusts upon its students, while also resonating within those that are 'walking in the same shoes'.

Dear reader,

I challenge you to amuse yourself and join me in a game. An activity that I promise will open up your mind, broaden your horizons and assist you in the act of empathy. 

You are required to remove all preconceived notions and tunnel vision views prior to participating.

Are you ready to engage? 

You will be given twenty questions, your job is to listen to each question and speculate what am I?

Lets begin.

Question 1.  I am prevalent in up to 10% of the population - many of whom are not aware that I exist deep within them.  What am I? 

Question 2. I am invisible - unlike physical disorders I cannot be seen by the naked eye therefore, it is difficult for people to acknowledge my existence and understand how debilitating I can be.  What am I? 

Question 3.  I can be toxic - I am capable of being carcinogenic, eating away at each cell within my host, plummeting its self-esteem and confidence, whilst provoking its frustration & anger. What am I? 

Question 4. I cannot be cured - I live within my host for an eternity, however, contrary to this my host may receive mixed messages from naive 'professionals' & may potentially voyage down the path of conforming to unconventional & non-evidence based methods to 'treat & cure' my condition otherwise outrageously noted as 'fixing your brain'.  What am I? 

Question 5.  I am a stereotype - my disparaging labels include  'reading words backwards' 'seeing words moving' or 'flying off the page’. What am I? 
Question 6.  I have a stigma - the vindictive words 'stupid', 'dumb', 'pathetic' & 'a failure' are attached to my name. What am I? 

Question 7. I am both a blessing and a curse - I allow my hosts to be creative, intelligent 'outside the square' thinkers who excel in many aspects of life while also having the ability to disempower them, robbing them of their childhood and adolescence. 

My most negative characteristic is inviting my close friends 'mental health' to cohabitate and fester within the cracks & crevices I create.  What am I? 

Question 8. I can live many years within my host without being detected - I am comparable to a pandoras box, remaining dormant until my curiosity gets the better of my host and all the hardships and challenges are spread throughout existence. What am I? 

Question 9.  My nemesis is literacy - I have great difficulty forming & comprehending written words, reading & spelling to the extent that I may have a negative attitude towards reading however, on the contrary I thoroughly enjoy listening to others read and have an extensive vocabulary. What am I? 

Question 10. I am neurological  - I occur because of the way the brain interacts. What am I? 

Question 11. I am genetic - I am highly hereditary. What am I? 

Question 12.  I live on a spectrum - I come in many shapes and forms, I may be very strong and visible on the surface in some hosts making it remarkably difficult to read and comprehend sentences and paragraphs or I may have a smaller, yet deeper position. What am I? 

Question 13. I do not conform to the current Australian education system - A system that prides itself on its strengths to ensure all children receive adequate education whilst allowing a child to fail the system again and again is an incomprehensible paradox. I am a failure of the education system and the education system has failed me. 

An education system that I thrive in teaches using multi sensory (auditory, visual) strategies and provides explicit, direct and systematic instructions. What am I? 

Question 14. I have the capacity to make an intelligent student feel 'incapable', 'stupid' and 'a failure'. What am I? 

Question 15.  I have a remarkable ability to enable teachers to believe that my host is both 'lazy' and 'not trying' all the while knowing that my host is beyond dedicated, putting in triple the amount of effort as those without me to the level of extreme exhaustion. Furthermore, internalising shame & oppression & removing all dignity. What am I? 
Question 16. I am a secret - I can make the vulnerable feel overwhelmed, fatigued, embarrassed & insecure hence, hiding me from the world. 
What am I? 

Question 17. I am resilient - when faced with adversity I 'take it on the chin'. 
What am I? 

Question 18. If supported I can allow students to reach their fullest potential

Question 19. I do not discriminate - I occur in people of all backgrounds and intellectual levels

Question 20. My name literally means 'difficulty reading'

What am I? ..........................................................I am Dyslexia


Having now enriched your mind I'd like you to consider the following:

Walt Disney infamously stated "our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children", hence, in order for we (you & me inclusive) as a society to ensure that the minds of our children are thoroughly nourished it is imperative that we acknowledge:

Different learning disabilities, including dyslexia exist and are prevalent in our community, 
Early detection & intervention of dyslexia is important to ensure students excel & reach their fullest potential, and
The Australian education system must include multisensory strategies to cater for all students  

Do I have your word?

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