Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 29th 2014 Contents have trained hundreds of teachers from
all over T&T. If you live in Sangre
Grande or Moruga, Scarborough or
Siparia, we can put you in touch with
a Dyslexia Association-trained teacher
Most times NGOs are led by moth-
ers or women, and its participants are
mainly female. Do you think fathers
are fulfilling their roles as involved
people in supporting equality and
opportunities for those with dyslex-
I actually think that people do the
best they can. I really don t want to
get in to the gender thing. Maybe Dad
is kicking the football around the yard.
That s important too. There are lots of
business men and women who support
our work financially. We couldn t oper-
ate without them.
What is the biggest need/priority
at the Dyslexia Association, and how
can people help?
Sign up for our teachers courses.
June 29, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
CONTINUES FROM PAGE B1
The sad thing is that the teachers
are out there. The Dyslexia Asso-
ciation has trained over 600 teach-
ers in methods for teaching literacy
skills to dyslexics.
The second challenge is our
punitive culture. We hear of three-
year-olds being severely punished
for not being able to read. In
schools, teachers have been known
to embarrass children; perhaps
putting their names up on the
board as the non-readers. We
blame the children for not trying
hard enough...but it is the adult s
job to teach the child. If they are
not learning the way we teach
them, then we need to look for
answers. It is not the children s
job to teach themselves to read.
What is the most prevalent
misconception about those with
In Trinidad there is still embar-
rassment about being dyslexic. This
is understandable because we are
judged by our literacy skills, and
it is embarrassing to admit that
you don t read or write very well.
So teachers who have a dyslexic
student will often say to me, "but
you know, he s bright," as if this
But many dyslexics are bright
and are particularly talented in
three-dimensional skills: art,
design, engineering, business,
architecture, choreography. They
make excellent pilots and mechan-
ics. For example, I have read that
Brian MacFarlane is dyslexic. He
never finished school, but joined
Raoul Garib s Mas Camp at 15 years
old where his superior talent in
colour and design was immediately
recognised. I am sure he doesn t
realise that he should thank his
dyslexic brain for his talents!
Think of all the major names of
the last century. Ten to one the
names on the tip off your tongue
are dyslexic---Albert Einstein,
Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Win-
ston Churchill, Richard Branson,
Bill Gates, just to name a few.
What is the most valuable piece
of advice you give to those close
to people with dyslexia?
Read to your children (every
day), get specialist teaching, and
make sure that talents are exer-
cised. Time is also the enemy of
dyslexics. Advocate for your child
for reduced homework; one-word
answers; or just doing the last five
questions, not all 20; allowing a
parent or grandparent to scribe for
Who has influenced you the
most (outside of your immediate
family), in your career and in life
in general, and how did they?
Without a doubt, Barbara Foster
who taught me everything I know
about dyslexia. Her favourite saying
was: "Without joy, what is the
point?" I try to make every lesson
a joyful experience.
Tell us about your inspiration
to do the type of work you do.
What advice would you give to
anyone contemplating a vocation
such as yours?
The inspiration is the children,
their faces alight with the joy of
success. Once the teachers that we
train start to teach, they are just
as inspired. I don t need to give
them any advice.
If you are talking about running
the Dyslexia Association, the advice
is: small, manageable steps; sur-
round yourself with wonderful
people; and remember your family.
This kind of work can become all-
absorbing. Time with your family
should be sacrosanct.
What daily motto/credo do you
live by? In three words, your
recipe for success?
I do not have a motto, as such,
do things well.
If someone only reads a couple
lines of this interview, what
would you want them to know?
I would like them to contact the
Dyslexia Association if they are
worried about their child s reading
progress. We are proud that we
The Dyslexia Association is a
volunteer organisation formed in
1990 by a group of teachers and
parents concerned for their dyslexic
children. Its aims are:
• To be a support group for
dyslexics, parents and teachers
• To educate the community about
these often misunderstood
learning differences which affect
so many of our bright and talented
• To train as many teachers as
possible in methods for teaching
• To work with the Ministry of
Education in an attempt to have a
Specially Trained Teacher in every
What we do:
• Conduct training courses in ways
to teach dyslexics.
• Refer children and adult dyslexics
for screening and specialist
• The Bursary Fund Committee
raises funds to help finance
lessons for students in needy
• The Association also has a register
of educational psychologists for
referral for assessments.
• Conduct public awareness
sessions on dyslexia.
• Three-week Teachers' Training
Course, July 7-25
• One-week course in August:
Foundations for Speech, Language,
Reading and Spelling, the study of
in-depth phonological awareness
leading to efficient acquisition of
literacy skills, with Dr TW Conway,
The Dyslexia Association
31 Alberto Street, Woodbrook, Port-
Tel: (868) 625-5869
Need schools to provide effective
remediation for dyslexic students
"For dyslexics, school is a miserable place. I am not sure that people really
recognise how much children want to do well, want to please their parents
and their teachers, and how much misery these children carry around. It is
no wonder that they come up with these tummy aches (which are real, by
CATHRYN KELSHALL, CHAIRMAN OF THE DYSLEXIA ASSOCIATION OF T&T
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