‘Llais Dyslecsia’ – A Creative Project to highlight the voices of children with dyslexia
The project was devised by the artist, Shari Llewelyn, after she discovered that her daughter has dyslexia. The intention was to raise awareness of dyslexia issues relating to the Welsh language through the power of the arts. This was to try to gain a better understanding of the condition in Wales – its effects and benefits, and to instill confidence and pride in children with dyslexia,
Funded by Arts Council of Wales Lottery fund; Miles Dyslexia Centre, Bangor University; Literature Wales, and with the support of Ysgol Tryfan, Bangor, a series of workshops were held at Pontio over the February 2023 half term. The workshops were carefully planned to increase the confidence of the children involved by celebrating their strengths, their creative voices and their success. The musician Elin Taylor and the dancer Angharad Harrop also joined to inspire.
Shari Llewelyn, producer of the project said “The partnership will be an important legacy for similar projects of its kind for neurodiversity in the future. It will be an opportunity to ensure that everyone can enjoy words including the 15-20% of the population with dyslexia. Through the arts it is possible to make a difference in people’s lives and change attitudes.”
A short documentary film was produced by Ffion Jon Williams from the workshops, which includes interviews with the children, parents, and project partners. The poem video ‘Tu Draw’ features Casi Wyn and Nanw Jones, one of the children who took part in the project, reciting a poem penned by Casi in response to the children during the workshops. There is also a layer of animation by the designer Dan Parry Evans interwoven with Shari Llewelyn’s illustrations.
Casi Wyn, Bardd Plant Cymru said: “My intention when creating the poem ‘Tu Draw’ was to create something that the children would own… my aim was to listen as much as possible. What ‘Tu Draw’ is referring to, is that we respect and honour the power of words to help us communicate with each other, but that things are not so black and white ‘it does not mean if you can use words then you are clever’ – that we measure beyond that.”
Dr Manon Jones Director of the Miles Dyslexia Centre and Ruth Elliott the coordinator of the centre and this project said “Hopefully in the future there will be more projects like ‘Llais Dyslecsia’ to give everyone a chance to have somewhere safe to develop and the skills to be successful with dyslexia.”
The information is often misleading around dyslexia and there is very little attention and consistency available in Welsh. There are often concerns of failure among children and adults, which can cause other conditions. Because there is not enough understanding about dyslexia available, with information and resources in the Welsh language in Wales often difficult to find and costly, there is a need to act, There should be free, bilingual training for all teachers in Wales, so that teachers do not have to pay for training themselves during their own precious time.
The Miles Dyslexia Centre recognizes problems linked to late diagnosis for children and a lack of resources and training for educators, specifically in the Welsh language. As a result of the ‘Llais Dyslecsia’ project, the Centre invites people with dyslexia; people who have children, partners, friends, or parents with dyslexia; and people who work with those with literacy difficulties and dyslexia to share their
experiences. Experiences can be shared by following this link. The information collected will support the work of the Miles Centre to make the path to diagnosis and accessing support easier.
Where to see the films:
Visit the AM website to watch the films, for further information and background: https://amam.cymru/llaisdyslexia