Friday, October 5, 2012

The New News on Dyslexia: Steven Spielberg, New fonts, and HBO

Last month, Steven Spielberg opened up about being diagnosed as dyslexic five years ago.  While he was diagnosed as an adult, Spielberg speaks about the struggles of learning to read and being bullied in school.  What helped him overcome his struggles?  Making movies and his parents’ dedication to ensuring that he received the education that best fit his needs.  Every night, Spielberg says in his first interview about his dyslexia, his parents worked with him and reviewed his homework. 

And while James Redford, not Steven Spielberg, is the director of a new HBO documentary on dyslexia called The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia, which premieres on Monday, October 29, both have a lot to say on the subject matter.  The film profiles students and famous faces including Richard Branson, Charles Schwab, and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, all of whom have thrived despite—and sometimes in part because of—their dyslexia.

Today, we still don’t know a lot about dyslexia.  But we do know that people with dyslexia have normal and healthy brains that work differently. There are more tools nowadays to help students struggling to learn to read, including a new font called OpenDyslexic, which weighs letters down to make them easier to read.  And of course, there is a private school voucher program in Mississippi that began this school yearfor students with Dyslexia.

As we learn more about dyslexia, we likely will see more educational options for students with special needs.  In the meantime, we’ll be tuning into HBO on October 29 to check out The Big Picture.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

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