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35 million Americans have Dyslexia. Dyslexia is NOT a condition that causes a person to see letters and numbers backwards. It IS a condition that causes some people to have extreme difficulty learning to read.
Our movie follows dyslexic filmmaker, Harvey Hubbell, as he goes on a journey to understand dyslexia.
He starts by hitting the streets of New York City to find out what ordinary people know about dyslexia. Answers come in many flavors: an inability to sleep, a form of alcoholism, an eating disorder, a mental illness and even a sexually transmitted disease.
Harvey comments: “Perhaps dyslexia awareness needs a little work.”
During Harvey’s journey, he finds out that people like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Salma Hayek, Jay Leno and Richard Branson are dyslexic. In fact, 1/3rd of all millionaires in England are dyslexic. Harvey also finds out that 85% of juveniles in detention are functionally illiterate. So although there are many successful dyslexics, there are many more who are really struggling. Like Zach, a 25-year-old dyslexic who dropped out of school after his teacher called him retarded. He’s been in prison since he was 13.
In the hills of rural Connecticut, Harvey finds Wendy, a dyslexic teacher, scientist, explorer and organic farmer. He follows her to Costa Rica with a team of dyslexic student researchers, where they conduct experiments like harvesting spider silk, which is the world’s strongest natural fiber. He observes that, when placed in the right environment, dyslexic students excel.
Harvey meets up with a team of bright, young scientists and educators from Yale, Princeton and Georgetown. They study dyslexia in order to learn how to teach everyone how to read. Each is a fascinating character… the tall beautiful blonde with a soft English accent, the guy from Queens who lived as a monk in India for several years, and the scientist with the sly wit, who makes everyone laugh.
He meets Voncelle and her dyslexic daughter, JoVon. Voncelle struggled for years to find out why JoVon did so poorly in school, and then struggled even harder to get her into a private school for dyslexics. Harvey attends JoVon’s graduation, where there isn’t a dry eye in the house.
Finally, Harvey visits a 3rd grade class where every child is an enthusiastic reader. The kids are excited to show off their large vocabulary and their extensive knowledge of grammar. This is an experimental program where the kids are taught using the techniques discovered by the scientists we met earlier.
Surprisingly, this class isn’t just for dyslexics, it’s a mix of both dyslexics and non-dyslexics alike, and all are great readers.
This is how Harvey discovers that if we change the education system to teach every child as if they were dyslexic, everyone will learn how to read, and we will wipe out illiteracy, thus dramatically improving all of society.
“Dislecksia: The Movie” is a lively mix of first person interviews, 16mm home movies, computer animation, clips from vintage educational films, scenes from exotic locations, selections from old movies like “Gamera,” the giant fire breathing turtle that attacked Tokyo, and a voice over performance by two time Academy Award winning filmmaker Milos Forman as Benito Mussolini. Audiences who watch the film: laugh, cry and most importantly… learn.