This is Me, a book by the Red Apple Dyslexia Association.
Over the 10 years that I have interviewed experts, educators and parents for Groeipyne/Growing Pains on RSG, I have been struck by the regularity with which dyslexia comes up in relation to parenting and education. Parents in particular are seldom equipped to identify signs of difficulty in learning to read, spell and write as dyslexia and as a result dyslexia is often misdiagnosed or not identified at all, relegating children to years of schooling that is alienating and hugely eroding of their sense of confidence and self-esteem.
Dyslexia is the most common of the language based learning challenges in the world. Worldwide it is estimated that 1 in 5 people are dyslexic with incidences occurring close to equally in males and females. That means that of the 7,4 billion people in the world, 1.4 billion have some form of dyslexia, although not everyone has dyslexia to the same degree. It is a continuum that runs from mild to severe with several possible combinations of experienced learning difficulty in-between. With at least 20% of the world population being dyslexic it seems, therefore, anomalous that only a fraction of dyslexic people are diagnosed and shown how to successfully navigate their learning challenges through education and later life.
As the stories in this book so memorably illustrate, dyslexia is neither a sign of intellectual inability nor is it a sign of social neglect. It is a recognized learning disorder that bars someone from processing, recalling and ordering verbal information and when accompanied with poor phonemic awareness – the ability to recognize and process the sounds of language – can make it nigh on impossible for that person to learn via traditional educational frameworks.
The chapters in this collection are phenomenally inspiring and clearly show the critical role that the confidence and belief of parents and primary caregivers play in ensuring assurance and self-reliance in people with dyslexia. The Red Apple Dyslexia Association is to be highly commended on the tenacity and commitment with which they work to make information available and accessible in supporting children, teens and adults with dyslexia in South Africa.
This book will be of value to teachers, parents and people with dyslexia in helping them to recognize the symptoms and support alternative learning methods. There are several studies that indicate that children with dyslexia in an appropriate learning environment develop characteristics such as perseverance, tenacity, conscientiousness and diligence which go a long way toward underpinning their success in later life.
Congratulations to the Red Apple Dyslexic Association for making these stories part of our social fabric.
Johan van Lill