Dyslexia Discovery Exhibit Background
Dyslexia is often referred to as the hidden disability. Hidden because it is not physical, a disability because it so often presents in the form of learning difficulties.
The primary motivation behind the creation of the Dyslexia Discovery Exhibit is to confront this reality, challenge the views that create this reality, and offer a seed of hope that may grow in power to shift mindsets and remove the shame that so often surrounds dyslexia.
By moving earth, pouring concrete, laying bluestone, planting trees and shrubs, and then installing artistic elements created or inspired by the dyslexic mind we confront and reflect dyslexia in three dimensions. We make the hidden visible and able to be experienced.
By telling the stories of four gifted individuals we demonstrate the ability of the dyslexic mind and offer an alternative view to those that are engaged in the struggle either directly or as parents, caregivers, teachers and friends.
Based on international statistics, approximately 10% of New Zealand children are dyslexic. This is over 70,000 children and young people aged 5-18 years throughout New Zealand.
Dyslexia has been most widely assumed to be a disability or more exactly, a specific learning disability – however dyslexia is now understood by leading researchers to be an alternative way of thinking and perceiving the world. It offers diversity to the human race and thus needs to be respected and nurtured.
The Cookie Time Charitable Trust has worked over the past few years to raise awareness and increase understanding about dyslexia. It has also offered a scholarship program for families of dyslexic children not able to afford the help that they so desperately need.
In November 2006, the Trust sponsored the establishment of the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand. This has created a unified voice for all dyslexic people in New Zealand.
Our original goal was to create the circumstances to allow a paradigm shift to occur in New Zealand about dyslexia, particularly in the education sector. With the recent (19 April 2007) change in policy by The Ministry of Education we are well on the way.
In New Zealand, we can now look forward to specific support and assistance for dyslexic students.
This is why the Dyslexia Discovery Exhibit is such a critical part of our work in New Zealand.