What do Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, Mohammed Ali and Junee’s Lawrence Ryan all have in common?
Like 10-15 per cent of the Australian population – they suffer from dyslexia.
Mr Ryan, more widely known as famous stuntman Lawrence Legend, was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was in Year 6 – back in 1982.
It wasn’t an easy journey for Mr Ryan, who struggled to keep up with fellow students.
“I remember once in Year 6 a teacher snatched a book I was writing in out of my hand and read it out to the class,” Mr Ryan said.
“The way she read it made me sound like I had a mental disability, it was the worst thing a teacher could do.”
While Mr Ryan has always struggled to read and write, he never let it get in the way of his career and said he encouraged those suffering dyslexia to do the same.
“Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re stupid or not good enough,” Mr Ryan said.
“I hope teachers now realise how soul crushing it can be to ask a kid to stand up and read.”
It wasn’t until Mr Ryan started reading a stuntman book that the jumbled words started to become clear.
While teachers advised Mr Ryan should stay down a year – his parents disagreed and he progressed to Year 7.
“The only thing that saved me was that stuntman book – it taught me to read,” Mr Ryan said.
“I read the book over and over again and even though my brain would skip over words I didn’t understand, my mind would go back and figure out what the missing word was.”
Advanced Learning Centre’s Rachael Cornius Randall said that despite progress, people still struggle to understand dyslexia.
“Children are clever and those who have learning difficulties are quite adept at hiding them,” Ms Randall said.
“They are usually quite aware of their inability to perform certain tasks and their biggest skill is avoiding them.”
A free dyslexic seminar for parents who have children struggling to read will be held in West Wyalong on March 9.
Organiser Tom Mullally will reveal his personal struggle with dyslexia at the seminar, held at the Services and Citizens Club.