Over the past six years, more than $60,000 has been introduced into the local community by a small group of parents that together, form the Lower Mid North and Light branch of Dyslexia SA.
The group of parents got together to discuss their children’s learning difficulties and how they were struggling at school.
Before long, they formed a group and decided to support families and educate teachers and schools on Dyslexia and other learning difficulties and the group has been advocating ever since.
The group (formally known as the DASLD Support Group) worked tirelessly to fundraise and apply for grants to send specialist presenters to their small town of Eudunda.
Chantal Diener, chairperson of Dyslexia SA, LMNL said: “We were very fortunate to secure a grant from Medicare Locals and met with the CEO, we were expecting maybe a few hundred dollars to help get us started and were blown away when we were offered $10,000!”
“That first grant enabled us to bring world renowned International Dyslexia Expert Neil MacKay to come and run a workshop in the Mid North as well as to send several people from the community to attend Neil’s series of seminars further South.” Chantal said.
“The grant rolled into an annual $10,000 and we were very grateful when the contract continued during the merge from Medicare Locals to Country SA PHN.
“The money and information we have been able to put into the community would be been impossible without the support from Medicare Locals and Country SA PHN and I could not have kept up this momentum without my team and everyone who helps us at fundraisers and events.”
Dyslexia SA, LMNL have been providing public educational workshops and teacher training in the Mid North town of Eudunda, as well as sending people from the Lower Mid North and Light areas to further training in the city for SSOs, teachers, parents and specialist tutors.
Natalie Nolan, treasurer of Dyslexia SA, LMNL said their workshops have always been very popular and new presenters are always eagerly anticipated by the community.
“We have had parents and teachers come from far and wide to attend our workshops in Eudunda, some as far as Port Pirie, Hawker and Millicent,” she said.
Another great service the Dyslexia SA, LMNL branch offers is donating resources to local schools. Last Friday Dyslexia SA, LMNL attended St John’s Lutheran Primary School and the Eudunda Area School to present them with some more resources worth approximately $1,500 to use in their classrooms.
These resources included white boards and markers, magnetic letters, letter and sound tiles, learning bricks and foam letter cut-outs.
The two schools were also both presented with a prepaid $220 ticket to the Dyslexia SA 2018 Literacy Expo which is coming up on October 13.
Previously, LMNL has donated to local schools decodable readers, books on Dyslexia, magnetic letter kits, white board kits, wooden letters, line readers, number lines, coloured line books pencil grips and much more.
“Our goal since the beginning, has always been to raise awareness of Dyslexia and Specific Learning Difficulties and to improve the lives of children and families living with these challenges,” said Leanne Villanueva, secretary of Dyslexia SA, LMNL.
“These resources have been a big hit with kids in the classrooms. I have been able to see them in use first hand and it has been very rewarding to see the resources we’ve provided being used in everyday lessons.”
Leanne continues, “We have asked St John’s Primary and the Eudunda Area School to select a teacher to use the tickets but we have our fingers crossed that they will send as many teachers as possible.
“We also have also purchased seven more tickets that we will be offering to schools further north that wouldn’t have the same opportunities to attend such events as the Literacy Expo because of their remote locations and the expense of travel”.
Another big project LMNL has been working on is a collection of Dyslexia related books and resources that they plan to donate to rural libraries later this year.
“We are hoping this will allow families further North the opportunity to access these materials and find some support and guidance,” Mrs Diener said.
“We have been trying to come up with ways to send presenters further into the Mid North but the task has proven difficult due to our group being so small and being busy parents ourselves.”
“The task to push further north will now be hindered even more due to our regular grant ceasing. 2018/2019 will be our first year without financial backing in six years so it will hard to deliver the same support we have been able to in the past.
“We have greatly appreciated the support from Country SA PHN, it was very sad to hear they could no longer contribute annually due to government cuts in the health sector.”
Despite of the government cuts, Dyslexia SA LMNL will continue to fundraise and support the community.
In October, LMNL celebrate ‘Light it Red’ which is the International Dyslexia Awareness Day.
Around this time, the local Eudunda and Robertstown schools support our cause by wearing red and sometimes donating cold coins.
LMNL gift all of the children with red balloons, red frogs and info on Dyslexia.
LMNL also hold their annual Kapunda and Eudunda Cake and Resource Stalls at this time to fundraise and keep their small group running.
If you would like to know more about Dyslexia SA LMNL, or the 2018 Literacy Expo, or you just like to have a chat please go to the website www.dyslexiasa.org.au or find the facebook page Dyslexia Support-South Australia.