The organisers of a Nelson-run dyslexia course are going to present information to Parliament about the needs of adults with the condition.
Adult Learning Support (ALS) have run a dyslexia course for adults for the past four years, and have been asked by Adult and Community Education Aotearoa (ACE) to take part in their submission to the Select Committee for Education and Science.
The committee is holding an inquiry into the identification and support for students with dyslexia, dyspraxia, and autism spectrum disorders in schools. But ACE Aotearoa wants to also draw attention to adult learners who are affected.
ALS tutor Jeanie Raffills will be going to Wellington in December with one of the students from the course, Nathan Hockey, to make the presentation, and said ALS were “very honoured” to be asked.
“I just really want to be well prepared. We have a very short time [to speak].
“The whole thing for me is that a child who goes through the school system with dyslexia will be an adult with dyslexia. So what can we do to improve it for them?”
She said students who have participated in the course have found it very helpful.
“I think the main thing is that they become more confident; they can do things they couldn’t do before.
“Some of them it’s the first time they’ve ever realised they are dyslexic.”
Dyslexics often have trouble with reading and writing despite being of normal or above intelligence.
People are affected to varying degrees and can have problems with spelling, numbers, reading quickly, and with writing. Often these difficulties are first noticed at school.
Nathan Hockey said it was a very enjoyable course.
“I think [it gave me] just a lot more confidence really. I think it was great to meet other people who are struggling like I am… [There was] no stress because everyone was on the same level.”
He thinks the importance of support for dyslexic adults is “huge”.
“I think there’s a lot more people out there who probably don’t know they’ve got it.”
Raffills said it was about mutual support and realisation that they are not alone, as much as the new skills and strategies they learn.
“They love being in a group of people the same as them. The whole social interaction is major.”
ALS manager Cameron Forbes said the participants got information about how their brains are working and what dyslexia might look like for them, because it affects people differently.
“People get a lot of awareness about the condition and how to work with it.”
They also have public figures with dyslexia speak to the students.
“That’s neat, that’s where they get their inspiration from.”
To find out more about ALS visit adultlearning.co.nz. Its next dyslexia course starts in March.