Dyslexia workshop

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July arrived and so did the sun, rain and wind, but no weather could deter from the enthusiasm and talent of the children I had the delight of sharing the Dyslexia worksop with.

As the children stepped through the door of The Barefoot Sanctuary into the workshop the energy rose up and excitement and nerves all started to bubble to the surface for the children and for myself.

The workshop was designed to explore what Dyslexia meant to each individual child and to look at the positives in being identified as Dyslexic.

Each day we started off with a high energy game, followed with a check in and then onto the art making process. The workshop closed with another high energy game, a check out, where one positive was shared from each child on how their Dyslexia had helped them that day and then a game of wink murder. The structure was to allow containment for the children’s feelings and for them to feel safe to explore and express their emotions in relation to their Dyslexia.

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Dyslexia was our main focus, so where better to start then the word itself, identifying that it is just a word and it does not need to define us. Each child chose a letter and designed it how they wanted it to look, with the idea it could be anything they wished.  As pens moved across the paper voices started to become louder and stories were being shared about how each child had come to be in the group. United by their Dyslexia voices that were once quite became louder, offering stories, suggestions and ideas of how they wished to use their time in the workshops.

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As I sat and witnessed the children work with their strengths, I was in awe of their ability to share their truth about their Dyslexia openly and honestly in the group. As they drew they discussed what was hard about being Dyslexic, the challenges they face in school, at home with siblings, with friends and parents. Amongst all the challenges there was clear strength and perseverance presence in the room as they continued to share ways of learning that worked for them and find the positives in being identified as being Dyslexic.

The children worked together to design new games, utilising problem solving skills and creative out of the box thinking to ensure everyone could take part. They worked together demonstrating listening skills, great communication, respect for one another as they created and drew ideas and designs for the last day expressing how they wished to bring everyone in the group together.

In one closing circle the questions was “what is the positive in having Dyslexia?” the child stated

“If I did not have Dyslexia I would not be in this group and met everyone here and had fun”

Parents noted in response to the question ‘Do you feel working in a small group of children also identified at Dyslexic supported your child with their understanding of her own Dyslexia?

“Yes, she is proud of herself. She sees her abilities differently now and looks to problem solving rather than despondency. “

“We all really think it helped him to understand Dyslexia more and he enjoyed talking about it with other’s as its not something he would necessarily talk about with his friends.”

I feel the children grew in confidence and their understanding of their Dyslexia. Through the art making process they were able to come together and share their narratives of their Dyslexia and to be heard, witnessed and understood by one other.

I believe my Dyslexia is a gift and with all the challenges it can present I wouldn’t be without it. To be able to share a space with children who are trying to understand their Dyslexia is a privilege.  To be able create a space where they can start to explore the postives and look to their Dyslexia as a gift and not something which will hold them back.

Dyslexia is amazing and I hope through further workshops I can continue to share this with children and help them to feel empowered by their Dyslexia.

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Zine submission

It’s been busy in the studio, juggling projects and tying up loose ends before my holiday starts on Saturday. In the busyness I decided to enter a competition for artworks for a zine focusing on chronic illnesses.

I decided to create a piece about my personal experience with chronic fatigue syndrome. Working in a different manner, I wished to create a more simple way of working, fast and effective and potentially be developed further into a animation.

I am delighted that I won a place in the zine which will be produced in September.

I am now working on individual stills for creating it into a animation, which I will share once complete.

Dyslexia Scotland Blog contribution

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I was invited by Dyslexia Scotland to contribute to their online blog “a life less ordinary”, and today it went live.

https://alifelessordinaryds.wordpress.com/2018/08/17/bear-with-me/

Through the process of thinking about what to illustrate and write I noted that it was taking me time to think of a good concept and one the what accessible to those with Dyslexia and those without.  The biggest challenge I have with my Dyslexia is the act of processing information, I can do it no problem, it just takes me a little while longer, and this is across the board, whether its in conversation, answering questions, or devising a idea or new concept for my work.  The best way for me to explain it is for you to imagine you come to the edge of a field, and you can see a path that clearly cuts through the middle getting you to your required destination, naturally you would take this path, as for me taking this path would not be as natural, I would walk the perimeter of the field or make up my own route wandering across the field, deciding a way that works for me.

It will just taking me longer, but this does not equate to me being slow or stupid. It is a proven scientific finding, that those with Dyslexia process information over three sectors of the brain whereas those without dyslexia process information over 2 ares of the brain.

So the final concept for the Dyslexia Scotland blog was called Bear with me, and so tank you for bearing what me as I have explained the process of the ,making of the concept,  I hope you will like the illustration and take the time to read the poem that I created to go with it!

Bear with me

 

Bear with me as I fumble for words,

it takes time, which may seem absurd

Bear with me as I doodle and draw,

I have the feeling I just can’t write anymore

Bear with me as I go for a walk to clear my head,

to try and lift this feeling of dread

Bear with as I get myself back on track,

to meet this deadline which I know I can crack

Bear with me as I doodle and draw, my head is full,

I can’t think straight anymore

Bear with me as I take my time,

find a pace that suits me fine

Bear with me as I pick up the pace,

I feel I can win this deadline race

Bear with me as the words transpire

Woohooo look at me I am on fire

Bear with me as my fingers tap away,

I am nearly done it’s the end of the day,

For this little rhyme,

it took a huge amount of time,

Bear with me as bring this to a close,

Scraping through by the skin of my nose,

As I sigh with relief,

I will keep this brief

Bear with me is my mantra in life,

its kept me out of certain strife,

Knowing I need that extra time

letting people know I am Dyslexic is fine

Dyslexia is part of me

so please bear with me and let me be me