On Saturday November 23, the Pickens County Performing Arts Center hosted the world premiere of a newly released film “Written Off” at LABS for Dyslexia. The documentary, directed by filmmaker Collins Abbot White, discussed how parents navigate the public educational system when a child has dyslexia. It showed how schools like Lakes and Bridges Charter School in Easley, SC are paving the way by offering free education specifically directed at students with dyslexia to prepare them for success.
Mr. White said in his opening remarks that the documentary aims “to challenge the public education system to do better when it comes to serving the needs of all children, not just those without dyslexia. We aim to give hope to families affected by dyslexia, and show them there are alternatives. Through our documentary we hope to inspire other teachers, either inside the public school system, or by creating charter schools across the nation to address this serious failing by the public education system.”
State Senator Rex Rice (R) attended the premier; he explained that he recently discovered that he had dyslexia when going through old school papers. While reading and giving speeches has always been challenging for Senator Rice, he feels that dyslexia has allowed him creatively develop solutions for complex issues. Senator Rice along with State Representative Gary Clary (R) were key in getting the changes needed in the state school charter system to allow Lakes and Bridges to open.
The founding principal of Lakes and Bridges Charter School, Heidi Bishop, explained in the documentary that “Systematic multisensory instruction, such as Orton-Gillingham (OG)-based instruction, has proven to be successful in other schools for dyslexic children.” The curriculum at Lakes and Bridges uses an OG immersion curriculum which emphasizes language skills in every subject, in each class and through every grade. Students receive multisensory instruction in small flexible skill groups in all content areas.
Many parents, teachers, and students were in the audience for the premier. One parent described the documentary as “an amazing story of a group of heroes on a mission to change the face of education for dyslexic children and told through the lens of a talented group of amazing artists!”
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability; it refers to a cluster of symptoms which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Dyslexic learners can also experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment (from the International Dyslexia Assn., SC Branch). Lakes and Bridges Charter school was founded by four former educators women to give hope to upstate families by taking the bold steps necessary to teach students with dyslexia. In its second year, the school already has already a waiting list to get in.
To learn more about the documentary, please visit the film’s website at https://labsfordyslexia.com/. To learn more about Lakes and Bridges and how you can donate to the school’s building fund, please visit the school’s website at https://www.lakesandbridges.org/.