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Work of Parents, Advocates on Dyslexia Commended

Maori Party Commends Work of Parents and Advocates in Commanding Attention to Dyslexia

Te Ururoa Flavell, Education Spokesperson for the Maori Party
Friday 20 April 2007

“The perseverance of whanau, agencies with a focus on learning disabilities, the Dyslexic Foundation and child advocates has paid off today, with the Ministry of Education commitment to “improve understanding of dyslexia” said Te Ururoa Flavell, Maori Party Spokesperson for Education.

“The Maori Party believes that children with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, are entitled to the best possible education” said Mr Flavell.

“We also know that a high proportion of children requiring special needs support in schools are Maori”.

A survey in 2000 to evaluate Special Education Policy revealed that 35% of students receiving services from Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour were Maori.

"And we know, also, that Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour (Maori) are in huge demand" said Mr Flavell.

“Tamariki with learning difficulties deserve to receive a quality education – as does every child attending school” said Mr Flavell. “By quality – we would expect, culturally appropriate resources, assessment, services and personnel with both specialist education and te reo expertise able to work with students in Maori-medium education”.

“We are delighted that the Ministry is putting greater emphasis on assisting students with dyslexia” said Mr Flavell.

Dyslexics commonly experience great difficulty with reading, writing, spelling and/or mathematical symbols.

“The tragedy of this, is that Dyslexic children most often go undetected. They may be perceived as lazy, disruptive, daydreamers, or trouble-makers” said Mr Flavell.

“Is it any wonder, that international studies show children with dyslexia often end up on a path to offending – with as much as 50% of all prison inmates having been identified with the condition”.

“And when we consider also, that up to 50% of the prison population are Maori, the conclusions are inevitable” said Mr Flavell.

“We welcome the strong statement from the Ministry of Education that they will work with the Dyslexia Foundation to ensure that initiatives they will implement will focus on the strengths of students who experience persistent difficulties with reading and writing”.

“We hope that the Minister will follow their lead and recognise the impact and needs of dyslexia amongst New Zealanders" said Mr Flavell.

"It should be remembered too," said Te Ururoa Flavell. "some of the most creative intellectual geniuses of the world have lived with dyslexia including last year's Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop and Digital".

Dyslexia Awareness Weeks starts on Monday April 23.

Richard Taylor has personally received five Academy Awards and four BAFTA Awards to name some of his 32 international awards.


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