Jeanie Raffills (left) and Raewyn Lindbom are encouraging people with dyslexia to come forward to seek help.
Dyslexia affects 1 in 10 people in Nelson and Tasman, and can make reading-related tasks that would otherwise seem simple very difficult for sufferers.
Jeanie Raffills, a tutor at the ALS says the current course will be suited to people in the workforce, and will run on Wednesday evenings. She says the ALS courses provide whatever strategies people need to help them with their daily lives. ‘‘Everyone’s got their own needs, and the whole goal of the course is to make it individual,’’ she says.
Each participant has a one-on-one interview prior to starting the course to establish how it can be best tailored to them. ‘‘Our course isn’t set in concrete at the beginning, it moulds to what people want.’’
Jeanie says despite their lack of reading comprehension, dyslexic people often have strong creative ability.
She finds plenty of dyslexic people are very good at their jobs, but can struggle with spelling and paperwork.
This was the case for Raewyn Lindbom, a hairdresser, who had difficulty filling in forms, writing and reading.
Raewyn was convinced by her husband to join the ALS program after he read about it, and says it turned her life around.
‘‘It gave me more confidence to actually ask for help, that was a big thing.’’ Raewyn’s dyslexia was not picked up at an early age, and as a result she didn’t get the help she needed. ‘‘It wasn’t till I got to high school that they realised that I should be tested, that maybe something was wrong.’’ With limited help with her condition, Raewyn had to learn to adapt to life with dyslexia, and would work the till during her hairdressing apprenticeship, in exchange for her colleague writing down any bookings.
Raewyn also says she had to learn her driver’s licence test by rote and passed it with the help of a sympathetic examiner. Seeing words around her and not understanding what they meant was a particularly distressing aspect of dyslexia. Having completed the ALS course, Raewyn says she can now confidently participate in her community. ‘‘I do voluntary work in Richmond for Red Cross, and I absolutely love it. I am also very involved in the Special Olympics.’’
Raewyn’s best advice for young people suffering from dyslexia is to ‘‘ get help – the earlier the better’’. She hopes that sharing her story will encourage other dyslexia sufferers to come forward and join the ALS course. ‘‘I would say to anyone in the workforce to come here, don’t be scared to ask for help, because they’re an amazing lot of people.’’
The free ALS dyslexia course will be on Wednesday evenings. It will start on July 22 and run until September 23.
To enrol or learn more about the course, phone 548 3041 or Contact Us