“By conservative estimates, one in five people are dyslexic”
HBO Spotlight – The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia tells the story of four young people who strive to overcome dyslexia and surpass society’s low expectations. Filmmaker James Redford was inspired to make the film due to the challenges facing his son, Dylan, who was diagnosed as dyslexic after being functionally illiterate in the fourth grade. Many still think that being dyslexic is about seeing words in reverse this simply is not so. When an individual is dyslexic, reading is a difficult process.
Dys·lex·i·a /disˈleksēə/ A general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence.
The documentary reveals that dyslexia caused by a neurological issue and not an individual flaw. The film features the stories of four students and their experiences with dyslexia. Dylan, a dyslexic high school senior; Allison, a dyslexic graduate student at Columbia University; Skye, a bright dyslexic 7th grader from Manhattan; and Sebastian, a ski-racing 5th grader from Connecticut:
“A dyslexic high school student pursues admission to a leading college – a challenge for a boy who didn’t learn to read until 4th grade. Additional accounts of the dyslexic experience from children, experts, and iconic leaders at the top of their fields, help us to understand that dyslexia, a persistent problem with learning to read, can be as great a gift as it sometimes is an obstacle.”
The documentary will also focus on tips on how to manage dyslexia on a day to day basis, and will also dispel some myths about dyslexia by Overcoming Dyslexia (2003) author Dr. Sally Shaywitz and Dr. Bennett Shaywitz, codirectors of the Yale Center for Dyslexia. In addition, commentary from successful dyslexics Richard Branson, Charles Schwab, and the lieutenant governor of California, Gavin Newsom.
It wasn’t easy for filmmaker James Redford to feature his family in the documentary. However, it is an opportunity to assist other families and children who are dealing with dyslexia and also to get the facts out there and to dispel some of the myths that are out there about dyslexia, “the hidden disability.”
The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia premieres Monday, October 29 exclusively on HBO.
The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia, official selection at the 2012 Sun dance Film Festival.
Shaywitz, M.D., S. (2003). Overcoming dyslexia: A new and complete science. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.