I'll keep you up to date with what's happening at a government level, so as parents and students you can be aware of what developments are taking place in this country that influence your child's right (or your right) to an education. As a teacher, it is an exciting time to be working with students who have dyslexia. Many great people are currently working tirelessly at a government level to raise awareness for the financial support desperately needed by primary and secondary schools in Australia to support dyslexic learners.
Well, enough chit chat, let's get started...I recently spent three days in Brisbane listening to and being inspired by Neil Mackay. Neil is an educational consultant and trainer with 26 years teaching experience who created the concept of dyslexia friendly schools in the UK. Neil ran three workshops aimed at improving outcomes for struggling students. These were developed for teachers, allied professionals and parents of students with attentional disorders such as ADHD, those with pervasive development disorders, such as Asperger's Syndrome, and those with academic skill disorders, such as dyslexia and dysgraphia.
I found Neil to be a dynamic presenter who engages his audience from the moment the applause dies down. I felt empowered after listening to his practical techniques. Straight after the parent workshop, Neil was ushered out the door by the lovely Lynda Werner of SPELD Qld to speak with the Queensland Department of Education, Employment and Training.
The outcome of this meeting was that Queensland’s new Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek has now pledged to assist dyslexic children in Queensland schools. This was recently reported on the ABC News, click here to take a look. It's estimated that 10% of the student population worldwide have dyslexia. Sadly, Australia is one of the few English speaking countries that does not recognise Dyslexia as a funded learning disability. As a result there is no funding to correctly identify these learners or implement programs to support these students within Australian schools. Which is the source of much frustration. Parents are frustrated because they are struggling to get a correct diagnosis for their children, teachers are frustrated because they do not have the resources to help these learners (they're just guessing because there is no diagnosis unless the parents can afford the expensive fees), and consequently students are failing.
If you are a Queensland resident and wish to move this pledge into action, please contact your local State Member of Parliament and let them know your support for this to go ahead. Let's be part of history!
For more indepth helpful information, please take a look at:
I've listed some of Neil's books in the recommended reading section.