Reading Clinic’s “Understanding Dyslexia” Event

November 4, 2013

What do Sir Richard Branson, financier Charles Schwab and former Premier Sir John Swan have in common? Apart from being highly successful businessmen, they are dyslexic.

On Friday, November 22, their experiences of how they overcame the condition will form part of Understanding Dyslexia, a special education and awareness evening hosted by The Reading Clinic at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute.

The event, open to parents, health and education professionals, and anyone with an interest in dyslexia, features a special screening of the acclaimed documentary film The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia in the Tradewinds Auditorium. The film includes personal and uplifting accounts of the dyslexic experience from children, experts and iconic leaders, such as Sir Richard Branson and Charles Schwab.

Afterwards, Sir John Swan will take part in a panel discussion along with Kimberley McKeown, Policy Analyst with the Ministry of Education; Psychologist Dr. Janet Kemp; former Attorney General Kim Wilson, who is a parent of a child with dyslexia; and Holly Richardson, Principal of Port Royal Primary School. The panel will be moderated by ZBM TV news anchor Dianne Brewer.

Directed by James Redford, The Big Picture not only clears up the misconceptions about the condition, but also paints a picture of hope for all who struggle with it.

The film has won a Parent Choice Gold Award, was an official selection for numerous film festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival; and was among 35 films selected by the American Film Showcase, a programme which tours American documentaries to worldwide audiences.

Mr. Redford says the hour-long film shows that dyslexia is a neurological issue and not a character flaw. “The film explains that the struggle with the written word is not an indication of one’s ability to think, to create, or to solve problems – all valuable skills in the world outside the classroom. This film also reveals that some of our greatest leaders in business, law, politics and medicine are individuals with dyslexia who succeeded in spite of their learning challenges.

“The film also shares some of the more practical – and occasionally humorous – tips on how to deal with dyslexia on a daily basis. Hopefully, this film will help dyslexics and their families realize that the challenges of early education will be behind them one day, and that the future can – and should – be brighter for dyslexics.”

The film also highlights the work of Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz, co-founders and co-directors of the Yale Center of Dyslexia and Creativity to illuminate the hidden origins and implications of dyslexia.

Dr. Julie Dunstan, Executive Director of The Reading Clinic, said: “We are excited to be able to bring this wonderful film to Bermuda. Along with our guest panelists, it offers an opportunity for people to learn more about dyslexia from those with first-hand experience and how, through awareness and intervention, it can be overcome and allow children to realise their full potential.

“It promises to be a fascinating and inspiring evening that will truly enable people to get the ‘big picture’ about dyslexia.”

The November 22 event starts at 5.30 p.m. with a cocktail reception in the BUEI lobby. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased from The Reading Clinic at 54 Serpentine Road, Pembroke or by contacting Carmilita Curtis on 292-3938 or

Free childcare will also be provided during the event. Please contact The Reading Clinic for details. For more details about The Big Picture film, go to their website.

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