Update 1/18/18: After several trusted colleagues reviewed a “rough cut” of the documentary, we’ve made some adjustments and completed another production day of recording. Now to see if it all fits together and think about what comes next.
Update 11/13/17: We are looking to complete work in December 2017 and share this forty-five minute documentary with the world in 2018!
Update 2/19/15: Thanks to a our new editorial support Brianna, all of the interviews are now transcribed. We could turn this into a book! The information from our filmed conversations is so insightful that is difficult to know where to start with the editing, but we are aiming for a documentary, not a miniseries, so we will begin to piece this documentary together in spring and summer 2015.
Update 12/21/14: We have completed the research stage and preproduction stage of development, and moved into production and have interviewed seven families about their experiences and insights. We look forward to bringing you stories from Angela, Faith, Holly, Jessica, Peter, Delano, and Jacari.
Update 2014: As it is with any visual work, the research is never completely over because it continues throughout the production process. We are completing conversations right now, and will continue through early Fall 2014. Some people might call these documentary production shoots “interviews,” but we have found that our time with families really feels like a recorded conversation. We have learned much and look forward to sharing our film with you.2013: “The International Dyslexia Association says that dyslexia affects 1 in 10 individuals, many of whom remain undiagnosed and receive little or no intervention services. For some individuals who have never been diagnosed, dyslexia is a hidden disability, which may result in underemployment, difficulty navigating academic environments, difficulty on the job, and reduced self-confidence . . .. Dyslexia is a specific reading disorder and does not reflect low intelligence. There are many bright and creative individuals with dyslexia who never learn to read, write, and/or spell at a level consistent with their intellectual ability.” http://www.interdys.org/AreYouDyslexic_AdultTest.htm
Raising Faith: Stories About Dyslexia, is a thirty-minute documentary that explores issues around reading difficulties associated with developmental dyslexia, through the eyes of school aged students and their parents. My daughter Faith is one of these children.
This documentary gives voice to their diverse and varied stories in a unique way that is not currently available in visual or written literature about dyslexia (Grant, 2010), (Marshall & Inanely, 2009).
After searching through most of the available dyslexia materials on our educational journey with Faith, we have discovered that this area needs to be further explored and documented. My doctorate in education, my producing experience in television, and my trials as a mother living in a family engaged in dyslexic learning informs this visual inquiry.
WHY THIS FILM?
Dyslexia affects close to 20% of the school-aged population (Christi, 2009), (Armstrong, 2009) and can create difficulties not only with reading, writing and spelling but also with listening, thinking, talking and arithmetic which can lead to emotional and self-esteem problems. With early appropriate instruction and strategies, these children can learn at their own age level. This documentary is the story about the dyslexic journey, in the words of the children who have traveled it.
National organizations like the American Dyslexia Association and Davis Dyslexia Association International support this project. My hope is that the film will unfold to reveal early signs and struggles so educators and parents can be earlier advocates for developmentally dyslexic children, and learn strategies families have used to help their child or children (Fawcett, 2001), (Fulton, 2010), (McDonald, 2009).
What is special about this film, is it’s aim to achieve four distinct objectives; Share experiences of children with “classic” developmental dyslexia, allow dyslexic children to explain their stories and remembrances, visually illustrate specific “signs” of dyslexia based on interviews, and help educators and parents better understand early advocacy for dyslexic children based on these “signs” explored and revealed in the interviews.
The dyslexia community has been so forthcoming with information and interview opportunities that additional visual projects and a web project will most likely continue after this initial documentary is completed.
A large body of research and a variety of website resources are available to better understand the specifics of dyslexia. Most definitions share that dyslexia is neurological in nature, and an abundance of research is currently focused on the area of visual and auditory processing.
This film does not aim at dispelling current or past research, or share new research about dyslexia, but tries to share experiences and insights of young peoples specific and singular struggle with developmental dyslexia, a brain based learning difficulty that specifically impairs the ability to read and interpret written signs, though the reader has normal intelligence, an adequate learning environment and normal educational opportunities.
My family’s story will be introduced at the beginning and weave through the narrative. My daughter Faith drives much of the questioning throughout the film. She has created a list of questions she would like to ask other young people about. These central questions will serve as guideposts throughout the film. Additional snapshots will be added to this section as interviews occur.
I am an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Theatre at Millersville University. Previously I was assistant professor in the Department of Electronic Media and Film at Towson University. She has been involved in visual production and digital storytelling for twenty-five years and have worked in television and radio, and with a variety of prestigious corporate clients, in Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. I am passionate about telling this story to create a visual work into existence where there is a void in the literature of dyslexia understanding to make a contribution that helps others.
This visual work is about dyslexia, through the stories of young people who are dyslexic. The documentary aims to be holistic in view and authentic in its storytelling, without adopting one specific strategy for coping or correction. Anyone touched by Dyslexia, or who thinks they might be dyslexic, will find this documentary useful and touching. Dyslexic students, parents and educators, or those who hope to find visual literature that resonates with their experiences, will expecially be captured by these stories.
Raising Faith: Stories About Dyslexia, aims be available to local, regional and national markets via a multi-platform strategy including website and social networking, partnerships with key regional and national dyslexic and educational organizations, educational distributors, festivals, screenings, conferences and broadcast. You may direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The film does not have one specific sponsor and still seeks funding for production and postproduction components of the project. Millersville University has provided a one-semester sabbatical to allow for time to travel and complete the interviews for the film. The Millersville University Center for Civic Engagement and Regional Partnerships (CCERP) has provided a “start up” grant of $ 2,000 to provide essential digital storage equipment and lighting equipment, and student post-production help.
(detailed budget available upon request)
One year from complete funding, with a projection of Fall 2013.
Armstrong, Thomas. Neurodiversity: Discovering the Extraordinary Gifts of Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Other Brain Differences . Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2010.
Christo, Catherine, John Davis, and Stephen E. Brock. Identifying, Assessing, and Treating Dyslexia at School. Springer, 2009.
Eide, Brock, and Fernette Eide. The Mislabeled Child. Hyperion, 2007.
Fawcett, Angela. Dyslexia: Theory and Good Practice. University of Michigan, 2001.
Grant, David. That’s the Way I Think: Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and ADHD Explained. Taylor & Francis, 2010.
Fulton, David, Supporting Children with Dyslexia, Hull Learning Services, 2004.
Macdonald, Stephen James. Towards a Sociology of Dyslexia: Exploring Links Between Dyslexia, Disability and Social Class.
Marshall, Abigail, and Vincent Iannelli. When Your Child Has Dyslexia. Adams Media Corp., 2009.
For more information, please email email@example.com
Raising Faith: Stories About Dyslexia CONTACT
Stacey O’Neal Irwin