A wonderful blog by doreenjank.

I have just seen “The Big Picture” documentary film; which reminded me of how important different viewpoints, understanding and perspectives of a learning difference can be. I don’t want to say anymore as I would like you to watch the film; and not just take away my interpretation.

Also whilst volunteering in the office I realised why I always made mistakes (as a child) with the small functional words when reading (which had my parents pulling their hair out). I heard the following description of dyslexia. Dyslexics can’t make mental pictures of the functional words in the same way as they can with a word like ‘car’. And that dyslexics don’t have the innate skills to learn to read (i.e. associating sounds with letters).


*Everyone has their own

    Influenced by:-

        > Emotional intelligence

        > Up bringing

        > Present environment (both home and work)

        > Education

        > Abilities/inabilities and their perception of these (which in turn may be influenced by others views about how valuable their talents are).

        > Physical health

        > Understanding of others

        > Willingness to learn/listen

        > Ability/willingness to use imagination. How much reflective thought one engages in.

 Use/misuse of perspective within teamwork 

*  A team can achieve almost anything, if there are enough different viewpoints; but each individual must be able to relinquish at least some of their opinion to allow for others to be incorporated.

* Each individual must be respected enough (but not too much) for their views to be heard and considered.

* People must achieve, the extremely difficult task of listening/understanding and co-operating with others views (into a larger plan): whilst also being able to articulate their own views in a way, that each individual (or at least the majority of the people) in the group can comprehend.

 Given all that has been said above how-on-earth can anyone (or even a group of people) create a single resource that everyone will find useful. I’ve been thinking about this; since I saw that there was to be round table event, to discuss the creation of a adult toolkit, on the Dyslexia Scotland’s Facebook page (which is extremely interesting and has right up-to-date info).

Some people really relate to words and others to pictures/symbols; what works for one individual may not work  for others (even for those within the group of individuals who have been labelled as dyslexic). Even within the category of those who relate to a picture/symbol there may be different reactions to the same icon, and individuals may even interpret the meaning differently. The english language and its usage (along with many other languages, I’m sure) is living and evolving so much that all but the most basic functional words like: a, the and at are subject to different interpretations (either wider or narrower than any dictionary definition, which themselves may not entirely agree). Once (or if) a toolkit (for example) has been created how can everyone in a country, region or place be made aware of its existence. We have a wonderful choice of media these days, how could any one advert , cover them all. And if that’s not enough colour-schemes are likely to be beyond contentious.

 But then again where would we be if none of us had any perspective!!!    


‘Think Differently’

Dyslexia isn’t the obvious inspiration point for a collection of interior fabrics, yet for our final degree project we were encouraged to choose a subject close to our hearts, and learning how to support our daughter through school with dyslexia remains exactly that.

‘Think Differently’ was my title, reflecting both how a dyslexic mind operates and to encourage a wider viewpoint regarding dyslexia in general.  I wanted my collection to stand alone aesthetically, yet dig a bit deeper and the designs tell a story.

Dyslexia Scotland was an obvious starting point for my research, as well as many other inspirational organisations all working to promote a similar message.  Visual research and developments naturally started with imagery such as the brain and brain cells, yet 6 weeks into a 16 week project I was going nowhere, until, I too started ‘thinking differently’ about my approach.  Revisiting my research I started to develop abstract visuals representing the 1:10 known to be dyslexic and thankfully the creativity began.  The next ‘eureka’ moment came in week 8 after watching ‘The Big Picture – Rethinking Dyslexia’, screened by Creative Stirling and Dyslexia Scotland. One comment, ‘crack the code’, immediately conjured up one of my 1:10 designs featuring dots and dashes and I couldn’t wait to get home and write ‘dyslexia’ in Morse Code.

After experimenting with various Morse Code ‘messages’ regarding dyslexia I chose to have a design which told both sides of the story.  The negative design read ‘dyslexia – a learning disability’ and the positive design read ‘dyslexia – a gift in life’, and so it grew from there.

Colour is all important and having researched the psychology of colour I adopted strong lime greens, and oranges which represent energy, enthusiasm and excitement; emotions I felt strongly that anyone with dyslexia who can crack their own code can enjoy. The choice of grey was a ‘happy accident’ – discovered when I quickly printed off some design ideas in black and white in the absence of a colour printer and it was decided that soft grey provided a good contrast. Unusual colours for anyone’s home I agree, although a final degree project is thankfully a chance to choose ‘concept’ over ‘commercial’.

I continued to develop designs that featured the Morse Code and 1:10 concepts and after many developments and samples I eventually settled on 4 designs I was ready to get digitally printed, leaving me to work on the designs I wanted to hand screen print.  At the same time I was learning how to screen print, navigate Photoshop and also sourcing furniture, fabrics, paints, dyes to create the final collection and equally thinking how I was going present my designs in the context of the interiors market.

The final deadline loomed and it was done, a curtain panel featuring a hand screen printed design embellished with hand embroidery accenting the morse code message, 2 digitally printed upholstered chairs, a hand printed side table and 4 cushion designs featuring both digital and hand printed designs with various stitch embellishments.  I was delighted with how the collection developed and how well it was received, and even more delighted to get a pass with distinction.

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All images and designs : © Caron Ironside 2013 All rights reserved

Challenging preconceptions, Rethinking Dyslexia

So we have come to the end of our series of screenings of The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia (don’t worry if you have not managed to see it yet, there are still showings in some of our local branches, look here for details) and we have to say its success has exceeded our expectations. While we knew there was a great demand for this to be shown again after its success in Dyslexia awareness week 2012, we never expected the type of response we have received.

We showed the film to a packed house in Dumfries, Stornaway and Stirling, with an additional showing held in Glasgow organised by our wonderful volunteer Jamie-Max which sold out in record time.

The feedback we have received has been overwhelming, both from those who were involved and those who came along to see it.

“the feedback from last night’s screening in Stirling has been amazing. So positive.

Just want to know if we will be able to purchase a copy of this to use as CPD for all our staff and anyone who was unable to attend. It seems to have been a real eureka moment and it would be great to share it with an even wider audience”

“This is a great film and wish it would be shown to all schools, administrators, and decision makers! I took my 7 year old daughter, who has dyslexia, to see it in Indiana. It is really encouraging”

“This film was realistic and incredibly inspiring – a definite must see!”

“My 13 year old was happy to see it, but in truth I probably got more out of it as a parent. I would love my daughter to see it again in a couple of year’s time when she’s considering her next educational step. Having said that there’s definitely a strong argument for general viewing as it beautifully dispels the myths and uncertainties about what dyslexia is and isn’t, as well as presenting a ‘think differently’ approach to dyslexia, for both those with dyslexia and those who know very little about it.”


Panel members at our Stirling showing said:

“Having suffered from dyslexia all my life I was very unsure of what the film would be about but after the first 5 minutes I was hooked and it was a most enjoyable experience. I have to say at point I was brought to tears as it brought back a lot of bad memories of childhood and the struggles that I had to overcome. As the film moved forward it was great to hear so many positive stories and it brought a lot of hope and motivation to other young people. Being a member of the panel was great and it is so good to see so many families in the audience as it bring hope that people are really keen to help young people become the best they can”. Paul McNeill

“I was grateful to Dyslexia Scotland for asking me to be on the panel after the showing of the film. As chair of Unite Scotland Youth committee I engage with young adults on work related issues – people who are trying to find work or speaking about rights in the workplace and things that can affect people from day to day. During the panel discussion, the question that stands out to me was ‘I’m just finishing uni and the jobs I will be going for involve a lot of reading and writing – do I put it down on my CV that I have dyslexia?’

I have heard this question a few times – sometimes about dyslexia and sometimes about other disabilities. My answer is usually the same – it is your choice whether you do this. You could also tell them at a later stage, again this is your choice. A company should not discriminate against you if you have a disability of any shape or form – but whether this happens is another matter.

I find that lack of knowledge about what dyslexia means in the workplace is usually the problem. Usually less informed Human Resources staff think it means that someone can’t read or write. (This is the answer I have got back on more than one occasion.)

I think this is the thing that needs to be tackled for the sake of people like the young man who asked the question. He has run the same race as everyone else but with massive hurdles and has managed to overcome them. But there is a problem that the company or profession that he wants to go into won’t look at his form and say ‘Dyslexia – great, an out of the box thinker with the ability to connect ideas and problem solve – we need someone like that on the team!’

They might ask what they can do to help him – and he might say he needs more time. To lots of companies time is money and all his other talents will be overlooked.

I hope he doesn’t face discrimination for having dyslexia. More awareness-raising needs to be done and companies challenged on their application process” Jamie- Max Caldwell

Creative Stirling (Read the interview with Lena Gillies our National Development Officer and Creative Stirling here)

We are overwhelmed by the response and the popularity of these events, but know that there are still many people who could benefit from seeing The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia.