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This week is World Dyslexia Awareness Week

To mark World Dyslexia Awareness Week, the Gibraltar Dyslexia Support Group (GDSG) is publishing this article to raise awareness of the condition.

What is dyslexia?

Most of you probably think you know what it is. Some may think of it as a disability that affects reading, writing and spelling. This is an over-simplification and to a certain extent not true.

I personally would not use the word disability and I say that dyslexia is a word that is used to explain/describe how dyslexic’s brains work and process information differently to a non-neurodiverse person. This can have amazing benefits and insights but also has some issues.

Recently, ‘dyslexic thinking’ was added to the dictionary.com as: “an approach to problem-solving, assessing information, and learning, often used by people with dyslexia, that involves pattern recognition, spatial reasoning, lateral thinking, and interpersonal communication.”

As I say to parents, teachers and governments, we need to educate our children as individuals. Each has specific strengths and weaknesses with areas they find hard and areas they thrive in.

To a certain extent, a diagnosis of dyslexia can help speed up the process of discovery for children and educators as dyslexics often have similar strengths and weaknesses.

Early recognition and support help a great deal and that is why we have often focused our resources on schools and children. But there is also work to be done in the business community, so Made By Dyslexia has launched the Empowering Dyslexia Thinking in the Workplace - https://www.madebydyslexia.org/workplace/. We encourage all businesses to read the report and sign up to this commitment as soon as possible.

This week, the Gibraltar Dyslexia Support Group (GDSG) asks the public and businesses to please show their support and solidarity with the mission of making Gibraltar a dyslexia-friendly nation (and hopefully get rid of the need for a charity like ours), by wearing red on Friday.

We ask that you please take a photo and post it on social media and tag us on Twitter or Facebook. If you would also like to give us a donation, please get in touch and we will be happy to provide you with our bank details.

On Friday we will also be holding our annual Flag Day, so please look out for us and give generously. Our main stall will be at Morrisons so, if you have any questions about Dyslexia, please come down and find out more.

Friday is also the last day for entries for our annual Bookmark Competition in collaboration with Gibraltar Cultural Services. So please make sure you get yours in before the deadline.

Over the last 30 years or so, the Dyslexia Support group has worked behind the scenes to make living in Gibraltar as a dyslexic better and easier. Many years of Flag Days, awareness events, fundraising etc etc. In the early days, my mother, Marie Byrne, was at the forefront of this with others like Fiona Culatto and the late Douglas Cumming to mention a few.

They did some great work to build awareness back in the day when the word dyslexia was virtually unknown in Gibraltar.

As a charity, we have had many committees working with and alongside many Educational Psychologists, Education Dept Directors, Governors and governments. Our aim has always been to work with whomever would welcome us and this has meant that we have worked with various governments and ministers.

We will continue to do this, no matter what the outcome of the coming elections are.

We are aware that Covid hit many charities quite hard, and we are no exception. However, we still have lots of ideas and lots to do and we want to encourage more people to get involved. It is always good to welcome new faces and ideas to the team and we look forward to doing so.

Our AGM will be on Thursday, October 26 at JMH. Our hope is to have two or three new candidates to join the committee. Please get in touch and join us in whatever area you can offer

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