Dyslexia and dyspraxia in NZ

This weeks’ blog will be a bit different than the usual. It’s the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand's Advocacy Week (16 - 22 March 2015) and to show our support FreshTake Publishers has prepared a statement.

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For Immediate Release

FreshTake Publishers supports the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand's Advocacy Week that runs from the 16th to 22nd of March. This year's theme “Making Good Getting it Right in the Classroom and the Courts” resonates strongly with one of FreshTake Publishers founder’s David Hammond.

An academic high achiever at university (he gained a partial scholarship to the London School of Economics and completed his Master’s degree there) he lives in the leafy suburb of Khandallah, Wellington and is the last person you would expect to have strong view on dyslexia; however, appearances can be deceptive. David is significantly affected by dyslexia and dyspraxia. David says “I know better than most people the potential the education system has to cause harm to an individual and society.”

It is not the sort of statement you associate with an educated middle-class New Zealander. Being dyslexic you get to see and experience the dark underbelly of the education system according to David.

David readily acknowledges that schooling has changed significantly since he was in school during the 1980’s and 1990’s. But judging by the number of parents who still experience frustration and exasperation when trying to get help for their dyslexic children those attitudes are taking their time to change.

Some schools are great but there are others who are in the dark ages when it comes to acknowledging and helping dyslexic students.

David feels the end result of ignoring dyslexia is significant and severe for the individual and society. Overseas research shows that up to 50% of the prison population is dyslexic.

But it doesn’t need to be that way.

Firstly, early and appropriate remedial programs designed specifically for dyslexics improve their reading and spelling (neuro-imaging shows that dyslexics uses different parts of their brains to read compared to non-dyslexics).

Secondly, focus on a dyslexic’s strengths.  While a dyslexic’s brain might not be designed for efficient reading, it has been designed for thinking. Dyslexics often have advanced conceptual skills and problem solving abilities.

This means the worst reader in class might be the sharpest thinker. Therefore, you need to give them an opportunity to shine.

For further comment, David Hammond can be reached at 04 479 0223 or 021 0277 7187 or via email: david@freshtakepublishers.com


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