WILLIAMSBURG – Dyslexia is a struggle, but it doesn’t mean a child lacks intelligence.
Doug Bowman and Beverly Burgdorf, both parents of dyslexic children, believe a recent film that paints a picture of hope for dyslexics struggling with the disorder might help give people a new perspective and shed light on signs for those who aren’t aware. To share the resource they worked with Walsingham Academy to bring “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia” to the Kimball Theatre later this month.
“People think your kids are dumb or lazy or stubborn,” Burgdorf said, citing a popular misconception.
Burgdorf, Bowman and their families combat the stigma daily. They’re hoping that offering a people a chance to understand the facts will go a long way to enlighten people and show them exactly what dyslexia is and what it does or, more important, doesn’t mean.
Bowman said he stumbled across the film through an educational website he frequents while looking for new and better resources for his son, a ninth-grader at Walsingham. It aired on HBO a few times, but Burgdorf said it was fairly difficult to find.
Bowman researched how the film would be distributed, eventually contacting the producer to find out how he could get a copy. He said one of the most important things when you have dyslexic kids is to find positive influences and successful dyslexic role models for them.
“It shows dyslexic people are bright and that as long as they have the right tools, which are often very simple tools, they will be successful,” Bowman said.
Burgdorf said everything has to be simple when you’re dyslexic. She explained dyslexic individuals often have great ideas, but when putting them on paper they have to be very simple. Her children often help each other to understand in ways that work for them.
Bowman said academically dyslexia is a challenge, but noted there are simple ways to improve performance. It can be as easy as utilizing audio resources and ensuring your child sits up front in class. He and Burgdorf both have numerous academic texts on audio, including foreign language tutorials.
The real challenge often lies in assessing the individual. Bowman said it was a long journey for his son. Burgdorf said her eighth-grader’s journey has yet to end.
Both parents are hoping the documentary film, directed by James Redford, will help people gain a better understanding of what dyslexia is and how to recognize the signs.
Burgdorf said, “Early intervention is key.”