It is ''inevitable'' that the number of applications for
special assessment conditions under NCEA will increase when a
documentary directed by the son of a Hollywood actor about
dyslexia is made widely available, Dyslexia Foundation of New
Zealand chairman of trustees Guy Pope-Mayell says.
The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia had its New Zealand
premiere in Arrowtown on Saturday, attended by an audience of
schoolteachers, dyslexia service providers, tutors, parents
of dyslexic children, people with dyslexia and the film's
producer, Jamie Redford.
Redford is the son of Robert Redford and Lola Van Wagenen. Mr
Pope-Mayell helped host the red-carpet event and said the New
Zealand Qualifications Authority processed a high number of
special assessment applications for last year, which shows an
effort by schools to close the learning gap.
''With our plans to make this movie available to New Zealand
schools and parent groups it is inevitable that the number of
applications for special assessment conditions will continue
to increase,'' Mr Pope-Mayell said.
''Trials have also shown that extra time does not benefit
other students and often works against their results, whereas
for a dyslexic student extra time simply levels the playing
The documentary first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival
in January 2012 and has since screened on HBO.
More than 10% of the global population has some form of
dyslexia, which typically affects a person's ability to read,
write and spell, though many dyslexics excel in other areas.
Redford's son Dylan, who has dyslexia, features heavily in
the documentary and Redford said with such a large percentage
of the population having dyslexia, he was surprised there was
such a low number of films.
''You could think there would be 50 films, not five.''
He said there were three things dyslexics needed: more time,
assistive technology, and to be allowed to express their
intellect in optional ways.
''More dyslexics than not need extra time [and] there were
plenty of times where my son was denied that.''
Redford regularly comes to New Zealand to holiday as his
mother lives here for part of the year.
He had been in the country since December 24 and was due to
fly back to San Francisco today.
Mr Pope-Mayell said Dorothy Brown's in Arrowtown was chosen
as the premiere venue by the Dyslexia Foundation because of
the positive advances made in Central Otago schools.
These could include not putting pressures on dyslexic
students and providing notes in a photocopied format rather
than copying from a board.