Media release 29 November 2006

Fantastic support for new dyslexia Foundation being launched by Ruth Dyson

Officials have been overwhelmed with pre launch support for the newly formed Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand being launched by The Hon Ruth Dyson at Cashmere Primary School in Christchurch on Wednesday 29 November.

Advocating change to New Zealand’s education policy to recognise dyslexia is a key goal of the newly formed Foundation that will give a voice to over 70,000 children aged between 5 and 18 who struggle with dyslexia with no resources or funding.

Increasing the awareness, recognition, understanding and acceptance of dyslexia as a way of thinking in New Zealand are the primary aims of the new organisation Spokesperson Guy Pope-Mayell said.

“We would like to have dyslexia recognised by the Ministry of Education so that dyslexia assessment, learning opportunities and resources can be made available to dyslexic learners throughout every school in NZ.”

“Feedback from many people and organisations around New Zealand interested in and affected by dyslexia has indicated the need for a unified voice to call for change to the current status of dyslexia in our community.”

Pope-Mayell said that the foundation has been overwhelmed with pre launch support and stressed what has been especially encouraging has been the number of schools that have joined prior to the official launch on Wednesday.

The Hon Ruth Dyson and three dyslexic school children will release 50 helium balloons to officially launch the foundation. The 50 balloons represent 10% of the 500 people at the function which is the approximate percentage of the population affected by dyslexia.

All the organisations, companies, individuals and groups that are members of the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand are unified in their mission to have dyslexia recognised and accepted throughout the New Zealand community and in our education system as a way of thinking.

“The dyslexic mind thinks primarily in pictures and is actually many times faster and can offer many advantages over thinking with the sounds of words,” he said.

International statistics indicate that 4% of all children are strongly dyslexic with up to 10% of children being dyslexic to some extent. Dyslexic’s commonly experience great difficultly with reading writing, spelling and/or mathematical symbols.

Cashmere Primary School has employed a very proactive approach to dyslexia and Principal Jacqui Duncan says recognising dyslexia in our education system is long overdue.

The Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand will provide a united voice for dyslexic people through its website that is intended to be the information portal and starting point for anyone searching for information and solutions concerning dyslexia in New Zealand.

The Foundation will build bridges between everyone working with and supporting dyslexic children and adults including parents, carers, schools, teachers and educators, dyslexia solution providers, private training organisations, central Government organisations and the Ministry of Education, social support agencies, community groups, the health & justice system, and information and resource providers.

To assist the foundation achieve this it has launched a new website - that outlines goals, invites (free) membership and provides the opportunity for organisations and individuals to show their support for dyslexic children and adults.

Popular New Zealand award winning band Everymore have agreed that their new single, Light Surrounding You, can be used as the theme song for the New Zealand Dyslexia Foundation.

Pope-Mayell said the chart topping single’s lyrics and ‘soul’ connected emotionally with the foundation and its objectives.

There are many successful and famous people who are dyslexic. They include Tom Cruise, New Zealand’s Weta Workshop’s Richard Taylor and Virgin high flyer Richard Branson.