2:00pm Monday 15th April 2013
By Alexandra Womack
AN 11-year-old girl from Coalpit Heath has been praised by a national television programme for her efforts in raising awareness of dyslexia.
Alexandria Ward, who was diagnosed with the learning disability five years ago, has been given a Blue Peter after writing to the long-running children’s TV series in the hope the programme’s makers could help her cause.
In her letter Alex, a pupil at Winterbourne International Academy, wrote: “I am writing to you because I am dyslexic and I would like to raise awareness for dyslexia.
“Although it does hold me back others do get held back and I thought by writing to you could help raise awareness all over the country.”
Blue Peter editor Tim Levell also sent Alex a personal letter praising her determination to help others.
He said: “Thank you for your letter about your dyslexia and how you’d like to raise more awareness for dyslexia. We thought it was so interesting, we’re awarding you a Blue Peter badge which we hope you’ll enjoy wearing.”
Alex told the Gazette she was thrilled with the response.
“I was really happy they actually replied and said my letter was interesting,” she said. “I feel really proud of myself and getting a Blue Peter badge is so cool.
“Since I’ve showed people a lot of them have asked me about dyslexia and I have told them all about it.”
Alex struggled in her Year 2 SATS exams whilst at Manor Primary School in Coalpit Heath and after receiving private tests through Dyslexia Action, she was diagnosed and started receiving extra help.
“I didn’t know the alphabet at all until the end of Year 5,” she said. “I couldn’t remember it or understand the letters.
“But when I started at the academy I got a lot more help. There’s a special West Wing where I go every Friday for extra help and every teacher knows I am dyslexic so if I make several mistakes they understand a bit more – they don’t just think I’m stupid.”
Winterbourne International Academy has appointed a new specialist dyslexia teacher, Alison Carmody, who works with the students and provides useful advice to other teachers. The academy is also looking to introduce dyslexic-friendly paper in the student planners by September 2013.
As for Alex, the youngster said if other opportunities arise to raise more awareness of the problems dyslexic children face she will do all she can to help.
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