There is something to be said about a modern society that bafflingly refuses to fully acknowledge an issue that affects its children and in consequence its future labor force. As it is the case in any righteous cause, ignorance is the fiercest enemy, a fact that filmmaker Harvey Hubbell realized as he asked regular citizens on the streets about their knowledge on dyslexia. The level of misinformation is perhaps the reason why what should be a learning difference is classified as a disability, Hubbell, a dyslexic himself, deciphers the mythical misconceptions of the condition in his documentary Dislecksia: The Movie (notice the titles is spelled out phonetically as dyslexics would more easily understand it).
First and foremost, defining dyslexia can be hard, but it is simplified as a neurological difference that makes it harder for people with the condition to read. The dyslexic brain learns more effectively in a visual manner, and though it doesn’t mean a dyslexic individual cannot learn to read, it is something that is a greater struggle and needs to be approach differently from the earliest stages of the learning process. Harvey intertwines his research with his personal journey growing up in a system that deemed him “retarded” or unable to learn. Given that most of the teaching/learning tools are based upon written material, it is no surprise dyslexic kids fall behind in an educational system that doesn’t cater to their specific needs.
Besides attempting to uncover the abysmal gap there is to fill in terms of research and developing new ways to help children with this and other learning differences, the film exudes a sense of pride for the dyslexic community. Hubbell conducts interviews with widely successful figures that have overcome the predetermined expectations of their capabilities to excel in their fields. Such is the case of director Billy Bob Thornton or Stephen J. Cannell, whose prominent careers surpassed anyone’s’ hopes proving that although reading is not their particular strength, their condition allows them for unparallel creative thinking.
Classically structured, the documentary itself is nothing truly innovative, but makes up for it via the great informative value it contains. It approaches the subject from more angles than the average non-dyslexic person would have thought existed. Hubbell tackles the governmental side of it by exploring the lack of funding for research and special education, but he also highlights those who have supported him and who do their part in allowing all kids to grow in an environment that doesn’t disqualify their talents by focusing on their differences. Teachers, scientists, advocates, and families are the heroes recognized in his film.
Above all Dislecksia: The Movie removes the stigma associate with the condition and empowers dyslexics to embrace what could be a disability as a potential advantage that can positively set them apart from the rest.
DISLECKSIA: THE MOVIE
opened in Los Angeles Friday, October 11th and will be followed by a nationwide one night only screening event on October 17th, followed by a
city by city theatrical tour with Director Harvey Hubbell through early 2014.