- Instant Reader
- October 8, 2018, 1:16 pm
The very first Dyslexia Awareness and Intervention Summit in the Philippines took place on 09 June 2018. Over a hundred teachers, school administrators, counselors, parents, and students gathered together to become more aware of reading challenges and better equipped to support children with learning difficulties like dyslexia.
Teacher Ma. Veronica “Vicki” Quintana-Arioder, the founder and dyslexia expert of Instant Reader™, led the summit that aimed to break myths and raise awareness about dyslexia and how dyslexics could still reach their fullest potential despite the difficulty. “If we do it one step at a time, a few people at a time, we can do it,” Teacher Vicki encouraged everyone. Below are five big takeaways from the event.
Dyslexia is real and common
Despite frequent misconceptions, dyslexia is not a phase children experience then outgrow. In fact, as Teacher Vicki mentioned, dyslexics never outgrow their difficulty naturally. “Waiting is the worst thing a parent or teacher will do,” she pointed out. Dyslexia is real, and it calls for immediate and appropriate interventions.
Dyslexia is not a lack of intellect
That dyslexics are “bobo” was one of the myths the summit aimed to dismiss. Although they are challenged by reading, they tend to be creative, artistic, and even good oral communicators. Dyslexics tend to have high intelligence quotient, Teacher Vicki said, but because of the society’s emphasis on literacy skills as indicators of intelligence, dyslexics are often unfairly stigmatized as dumb and even lazy. Unsurprisingly, a large percentage of children with learning difficulties also suffer adverse emotional and psychological conditions due to the stigmas they carry.
Reading is not a basic nor a natural ability
Another common myth is that reading is a basic skill any person can naturally develop. However, the reality is that acquiring reading skills take gaining a number of other complex skills like phonemic awareness, decoding, and comprehension among a few others. Furthermore, each person has his/her own pace in learning. Dyslexia is just one of the factors that make interpreting text and reading difficult for some people. It is not a disease but a learning difficulty strongly linked to one’s genetics.
Dyslexia can be overcome
Although it is not a condition to be cured, dyslexia can be overcome. By having the appropriate tools and an understanding and supportive environment, a dyslexic could learn to manage his/her difficulty and reach his/her full potentials. During one of the sessions at the summit, Teacher Vicki shared about some activities that could help dyslexics and that even non-experts could execute. Specifically, these were exercises that promote micro-learning skills development and are tried and proven effective by the Instant Reader™ program.
Expert intervention is accessible
One thing that Teacher Vicki heavily emphasized is the danger of labeling and self-diagnosing. A struggling learner is not automatically a dyslexic learner, and it takes a series of tests to find out if a person is indeed dyslexic. Instant Reader™ takes pride in having both human and material resources not only to diagnose dyslexia but also to help the affected person overcome the difficulty. Led by Teacher Vicki who earned her Diploma in Dyslexia with Distinction Award from the Blackford Centre for Dyslexia in the United Kingdom, Instant Reader™ is taking measures to make their assistance accessible even to those who cannot afford to pay. This is through the Project VIRAC: “Victory In Reading is Achievable for all Children” which was first successfully implemented in a remote public school in Virac, Catanduanes in 2017.
Instant Reader™ continues to expand its reach both in the Philippines and abroad. This year’s summit is the first of more events that they will do to continue to raise awareness, efface stigmas, and equip people about dyslexia. More Instant Reader™ branches are expected to open this year, and more children-- especially those with reading difficulties-- are anticipated to become successful readers and overcomers of dyslexia.