ACTOR, Orlando Bloom concisely summed up what it is like to suffer from dyslexia when he said: “One of the greatest struggles for me was that I couldn’t write fast enough for the words, so I would have all these ideas and things that I want to put down on the page and I could never get them down, and when eventually I did, it wasn’t quite as it had been in my mind. It’s still a problem now because even when I’m talking my mind moves faster than the words can come out.”
Prior to the 1980’s, Dyslexia was seen as ‘consequence of education rather than a neurological disability’ (to quote Wikipedia).
As a result, this misconception has led to society misjudging those with the disorder to the point where dyslexics can be stigmatised and marginalised despite sufferers having normal intelligence and mostly regular vision.
Though generally diagnosed between the ages of 5 to 6 years of age, many people reach adult hood before realising they have the disorder.
However, with the correct resources, well-trained and qualified instructors, emotional support and an attitude of perseverance it is possible for dyslexia sufferers to succeed regardless of age.
Recently, I had the privilege of meeting two 17-year olds who are prime examples of how beneficial these factors can be.
Sarah-Jayne Johnson is a learner from Clarendon High School for Girls, an active member of her community, a Miss Teenager South Africa 2020 Finalist and brand ambassador for PNA Stationers East London.
Parklands Special School learner, Nathaniel Hassim, is a talented young artist and soccer player who will be leaving school at the end of the year.
He copes well with his ailment and has improved to a point where the next ideal step was the acquisition of a device to further empower him.
The C-Pen ReaderPen was the obvious choice as it has proven to be of invaluable support for individuals with reading- and language-related barriers.
Portable, light and simple to use, it would enable him to learn, and have the ability and independence to read self-sufficiently, participate in literacy tasks throughout his daily living activities and help meet his vocational needs.
The Page Group Directors and owners of PNA Stationers East London, Darrel and Gussie Eberhardt unhesitatingly agreed to donate one to Nathaniel when approached by his 2019 class teacher, Juanita Myburgh, and speech and language pathologist, Aimee de Jager.
In the presence of Johnson, some members of his support team and other guests, Hassim recently received his ReaderPen from PNA mascot Penny and proudly demonstrated the pen’s capabilities.
Though some research is being done about dyslexia, currently there is no known process to correct the underlying brain abnormality that causes it. Dyslexia is a lifelong condition.
Considering this, Hassim, Johnson and others like them should be commended for their tenacity.
BY: Wendy Kretschmann