Kultur2000 College |

(dys)LEXIA: Don’t worry, we understand you!

We are delighted to share a blog written by student Dilara Isik from Kultur2000 College, who is part of a team delivering a Global Goals project for the 2019-20 Global Goals Competition.

Their project is among over 957 social action projects currently running as part of the GSL movement and we are excited to be supporting them to design and lead positive social change in their community. 

With the right support and diagnosis of their talents, our experience proves that Dyslexic individuals can become highly successful and their unique way of thinking can bring great value to our world.

Project Overview

At least 1 in 10 people are dyslexic. These students, whose language learning difference causes a deficiency with phonological processing when learning to read, are often mistakenly labelled as having a learning disability. But opinions need to change, and support improved... as these great young minds can bring tremendous gifts to the world.

According to YouGov, only 3% believe dyslexia is a positive trait. Moreover, according to a global survey by Made by Dyslexia, only 3.25% said their schools have an understanding of the emotional impact of dyslexia and most believe this understanding to be non-existent. Most importantly, 98% of parents and teachers think that teachers need more training in how to identify and support dyslexia.

Our team had been volunteering at Turkish Dyslexia Foundation for over three years. Some of our most creative and intelligent students had to leave 1st grade and start school again, because their teachers and parents did not have the resources or training to help them. Unfortunately, without the proper support, confidence and love of learning of a struggling student with dyslexia can fade.

In order to raise awareness of teachers and parents about Dyslexia and educate them about tools and materials to support special education needs of dyslexic children effectively, we created educative and entertaining workshops for dyslexic children, facilitated local seminars, organized large-scaled conferences all over Turkey by inviting psychologists, special education teachers, pedagogues, language therapists, and academicians from universities and used social media effectively to promote these. As a result, we impacted thousands of lives through our events in many different cities in our country.

Currently, we are creating a mobile application to provide Dyslexic children with technological tools that empowers them to excel in their academic journey in primary school. Our team aims to democratize dyslexia support so that every dyslexic child is understood and given the right support to realize their brilliant potential.

Our Journey

Thanks to our close interaction with Dyslexic children and their parents at Turkish Dyslexia Foundation, we became extremely aware of their special education needs and experienced in effectively using different tools and methods for their education. We completed courses from MOOC platforms like FutureLearn such as Supporting children with difficulties in reading and writing by the University of London to have an even greater understanding of Dyslexia.

To be socially conscious leaders who are prepared to take responsibility and collaborate their talents to contribute to Social Development Goals, we participated in education programs: Leadership through Emotional Intelligence by Case Western University and Young Guru Academy Leadership programs for social innovation. We took online courses to learn how to program our mobile application, and from the training by Google Play Academy for Kids-Friendly App Success, we created a framework of factors that can contribute to a high-quality app. Finally, we also took Design Thinking for Social Innovation and Product Design course by the University of Virginia and followed the model of Stanford University d.school K12 Lab’s framework to implement a user-centered design in our projects.

Our research skills and analyzing skills improved due to the large-scale surveys we prepared and executed. Moreover, our use of creativity in problem-solving was critical during the design process of the mobile application. But what this project really taught us was how to communicate and collaborate with each other and with other partners to realize our dream conferences, seminars and workshops.

The biggest challenge in this journey was trying to work together with people including educators with low-awareness about dyslexia, people who would consider dyslexic people as “lazy” or “incapable”. Our project itself was a solution for this challenge, as we first had training and workshops to increase their awareness about this learning difficulty before asking for cooperation. Most importantly, through this project, we develop self-confidence and trust to each other that we as the youth can take the lead to bring change to society.

The Next Chapter

When the global education system was transferred to online platforms due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, we realized that the need for edutainment mobile apps was even more than ever. Therefore, we accelerated the development process to finish the design of our application and have been working on it intensely to expand our vision globally. Currently, we are designing graphics for adapting our iconography to other alphabets like Cyrillic and developing more language options for our application. At the same time, we are planning to partner with NGOs in other countries to meet the special education needs of Dyslexic children not only in Turkey but all over the world.

In addition, as a DySlexia team in Turkey, we initiated a set of online series of educational online events as part of our Dyslexia Awareness project. We are hosting experts guest speakers in the fields ranging from special education and language therapy to musicology and linguistics using media such as Instagram, Skype, and Zoom. You can follow our live broadcasting educational training through our Instagram account, @3elmabilimanaokulu (in Turkish). We are advertising the Global Social Leaders Movement in each event we organize through speeches, posters, and social media posts and call people for action to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals. We are looking for global partners to reach out to more dyslexic people all around the world. Join us!

The 2019-20 GSL Global Goals Competition is now open and runs until June 2020. If you belong to one of the 700+ teams of students currently delivering a social action project as part of the competition we would love to hear from you and feature your blog and project photos on our website to inspire others.