It is Dyslexia Empowerment Week, and the movement in Australia is getting bigger, our collective voice, louder. Munchkin and I attended Light it Up Red last Thursday night in Sydney. The State Library, Sydney Town Hall and the teeth on the iconic entrance to Luna Park were lit red for the occasion.
I struggle to find words to describe what it meant to the kids to see our beautiful landmark’s lit up in honour of them. I have heard many stories of the hell these families have endured. I know first-hand. I know what it is to be called stupid, and be dismissed. I know what it takes to rebuild yourself. I talked with a teacher who had been educated overseas, and she said that Australia is around thirty years behind the rest of the world regarding awareness of dyslexia in our schools. We started off at the State Library, and walked around to Sydney Town Hall. The kids walked ahead as a group, all dressed in red, having snatched the colour away from the entrenched symbolism of the dreaded corrective red pen. I saw these kids make a bus out of a discarded cardboard box, and then turn the cardboard into a plane which was sound and actually flew. These kids are creative and downright extraordinary. Things are slowly changing, and I am proud to bear witness to the advent of a new way of educating these kids. Early intervention in our schools, more funding and installation of programmes that have been proven to work overseas… These are some of the steps required to ensure that these kids aren’t left behind. It was a magical night out in Sydney, made more so by the following interaction. There was a big event on inside Sydney Town Hall, and a red carpet had been rolled out on the steps leading to the grand venue. When we showed up to see the red lighting, some of the kids posed at the top of the red carpet. A fellow smiled and said that they must be important. “They are mate,” one of the dad’s smiled. “These are dyslexic kids.” It isn’t a label for these kids. It is a title to be proud of.