Bill Hansberry

Fullarton House

22 Gordon Street, Glenelg

South Australia 5045

 

Phone: 0433 399 767

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Dyslexia

Intelligence masks Dyslexia and Dyslexia masks intelligence

"Students with dyslexia suffer from self doubt and may go to extreme lengths to hide their difficulties. If they haven't received adequate remediation, by High School, they are often frustrated and demoralised. They are frustrated by the fact that they process information, read and write much more slowly than their peers and therefore become overwhelmed by the quantity of work expected. No matter how hard they try, their written work rarely reflects their ability. They have likely had many well-intentioned, but misinformed teachers accuse them of being lazy or inattentive and not working to their potential.

 

Students with Dyslexia may be talented in areas like oral expression, problem solving, big picture thinking, intuition and insight, computing, mechanics, grasping mathematical concepts (in spite of having difficulties with simple computation and recall of basic number facts). Teachers must be better taught to acknowlegde their strengths and not only focus on their weaknesses."

(Adapted from Speld SA Newsletter, Spring 2012)

 

Dyslexia remains largely misunderstood by the community, even though it affects between 3 and 10 percent of all learners. Some studies indicate that dyslexic learning styles in the general population may be as high as 20 percent. Sadly, there is no specific support for dyslexic students in South Australian Government schools.

 

Students with Dyslexia and their families are mostly left to their own devices. If the school can manage some extra support for these students, it is usually provided by non-specialist volunteers or teacher aides who have little or no training in the area specific learning disabilities. Unfortunately, many of these wonderful people, although well intentioned, do not have the necessary training or experience to understand the  complex cluster of difficulties that make up dyslexia and as a result, struggle to use  remediation programs that have been provided to them to their full potential.

Steve Dykstra, PhD is a very well regarded Adolescent Psychologist and a founding member of the Wisconsin Reading Coalition says: "Dyslexic kids aren't qualitatively different than other children. They need more of what all children need, delivered more skillfully, with greater care and intensity. As far as I can see, there is nothing they need which is different than what any child needs."

 

If you understand dyslexia, you understand reading. And if you don't understand dyslexia and your approach to reading doesn't account for dyslexia very well, then your approach to reading is fundamentally flawed for all students, not just those with dyslexia.

 

Some schools invest heavily in programs that claim to re-wire reading circuits in the brain, sitting students at computers for a set number of sessions per week. Unfortunately, there is little to no independent research to prove that these programs are effective, despite the thousands of dollars well-meaning schools  spend on them. If your child's school is considering implementing a program for  struggling readers that sounds like it might be a little too flashy, email Bill for more information.

 

Too many dyslexic students in our schools think they are dumb and that they will never learn to read, spell or write. What these kids need to know is that they are intelligent, but learn in a that many classroom teachers don't know how to teach...

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Raising Beaut kids at our SHOP.

Eliza, a previous student of Bill's is the 'Rookie Reporter' in this wonderful story about Dyslexia.

25th March 2014

 

The wonderful team and BTN have put together a respectful and informative story about dyslexia and how it can affect young people at school. Thanks Emma and the team at BTN for letting Eliza and I help you put together such a great story. Thanks Dr. Sandra Marshall (DAGBAGS) for making this happen.

ABC's 'Behind The News' story on Dyslexia 

Dyslexia SA is a group of made up parents of children with dyslexia, and other interested community members who are committed to raising awareness of dyslexia and increasing support for dyslexic students. Presided over by Dr Sandra Marshall, a G.P. in Gawer, this group has been active in lobbying Government and Education authorities to take action on the poor state of reading attainment in Australia and to better support dyslexic learners in Australian schools.

 

Australia's failure to follow the research on the teaching of reading has come home to roost. In the 2011 PIRLS study, Australian year fours came 27th in the league table of countries, below all other English speaking countries and significantly lower than 21 other countries overall, including all other English speaking countries (except New Zealand). South Australian results sit at the bottom of this heap. The article “Why Jaydon Can’t Read”written by some of Australia’s most respected reading academics encapsulates the frustration felf by the academic community about this state of affairs.

 

Dyslexia SA has spread its roots through South Australia and has sprouted a number of other groups. Right across our state now we have groups very connected and politically active parents, educators and allied health professionals who are raising awareness and knowledge about the poor state of affairs when it comes to the teaching of reading in Australia and the unsatisfactory support for young people with Dyslexia. Our groups are also well conencted with Auatralia's top reading academics and together are making a noise.

Dyslexia SA has spread its roots through South Australia and has sprouted a number of other groups. Right across our state now we have groups very connected and politically active parents, educators and allied health professionals who are raising awareness and knowledge about the poor state of affairs when it comes to the teaching of reading in Australia and the unsatisfactory support for young people with Dyslexia. Our groups are also well conencted with Auatralia's top reading academics and together are making a noise.

Code Read is our national group that has grown from an alliance of smaller local dyslexia advocacy groups

We are puttting our 6 point plan in front of Policy Makers all over Australia:

Please view this - it is illuminating and well worth your time to view.

Dyslexia SA are inviting schools to become 'Dyslexia Aware' through an established a system of accreditation where all teachers and leaders in schools understand how to teach to students with  Dyslexia.  We now have local SA schools who have earned the Dyslexia Aware Schools Quality Mark. 'Dyslexia Aware Schools' or 'Dyslexia Friendly Schools'  are already well established in the UK, USA and Ireland. Great models already exist and they work for all students because they promote good evidence-based teaching or reading and spelling. When we get teaching right for students with Dyslexia - the bonus is, we get it right for all students!

 

We need more parent power. We've learned that politicians only listen if they think their position in parliament depends on it. Unfortunately, reading disabilities hasn't received anywhere near the public attention they deserve. It's our mission to raise this public awareness. If Government won't listen, we will make them listen.

 

If you have an interest in working with our group, please email Bill or Dyslexia SA and we will keep you informed about what we are up to so you can join us!

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