Dyslexia

Reporter: Andrea Burns

A few years ago, Dyslexia would have made the simple act of reading a recipe too much for 12 year old Hannah Mangano. Mum Jane, "as a parent it was devastating to watch that change happen from Hannah watching other people begin to crack the code of reading and she just wasn't able to" So Jane - a teacher of children with special learning needs, and her husband Phil, a computer programmer, devised a programme to help their daughter. It's called Read on. "Just as someone with a visual impairment might use Braille or whatever to access print, someone with dyslexia or something like a learning difficulty can use read on"

With the programme, students can complete reading exercises their parents used to have to help them with. It also allows text from books, worksheets or the internet to be put onto a computer, Read On helps students understand it. "When you're in read mode you can just go through and highlight each word so it's easy to see where you're up to and if there's a word that you don't know you can just listen to it"

Students can insert picture reminders to prompt them with words they don't easily recognise. And it'll even read back reminders the child's written. This is how Hannah recognises the word "bloom". "I wanted to take this picture because the flowers were together making a pretty group of pink" Hannah says "it's a lot easier to do projects cos I don't have to just read it straight off the internet cos read on can read it for me"

Hannah takes a lap top with the read on programme installed, into class and says it helps her keep up with her peers. Phil how gratifying is it to see that? It's wonderful. Did you ever see a time when Hannah would be that comfortable with reading and writing? I'd hoped so but I was never sure. And now? I don't think it's going to be restrictive for her at all.

Creator of "Walking with dinosaurs" William May says he loves the "read on" programme. Also dyslexic, he calls the condition, a gift. "I've been able to create 35 shows, I sing in a tape recorder, the London philharmonic use my music, I can go into science, I can go into maths, I can go into many different worlds that would not normally be open to me without a degree or comprehension"

A single read on programme costs just under three hundred dollars, more licences can hook up a whole school. Already WA jails have bought some, the New South Wales Education system bought one hundred of them.

For more information on Read On to help with Dyslexia -

http://www.readonsoftware.com.au/