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Nov 30, 2001

Teachers get training to deal w/dyslexic students

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Most Belizeans might have heard the word dyslexia before, but it should shock you that authorities now estimate that as many as three children in every classroom in Belize are affected by the disorder. Today, teachers from every district attended the first training workshop aimed at helping them deal with dyslexic children.

Margaret Enriquez, Belmopan Junior School

“It’s mostly boys, it’s a problem with mostly boys. The ratio is four boys to one girl. In Belize we don’t really have statistics to show how much we have, but we know from speaking to teachers it is a problem and usually you’d have about two to three of these children in your class class.”

Janelle Chanona, Reporting

With most classrooms in Belize averaging thirty-five children, do the math, a significant number of our students are having serious problems reading, one sign of dyslexia.

Emily Williams, Teacher, St. Peter Claver School, P.G.

“Many of these children are quite smart in other ways, they do very well in math, they are very good at group work, they’re athletes sometimes. But when it comes down to doing reading that’s when it shows up. But many times they fool you because they seem to be doing everything very well.”

Francelia Cantun, St. Peter’s Anglican School, O.W.

“They reach up to like let’s say standard six and when they sit their P.S.E., they don’t pass due to the same reason. And the teacher doesn’t know what to do, so they just pass on the child and the problem gets worse.”

Emily Williams

“The problem arises in every area. In the beginning, when children begin reading, they become embarrassed at times when they can’t read as well as their peers. So gradually as they grow up it becomes a problem in sitting tests, taking exams, doing simple projects and assignments, it’s a problem all over.”

So today, the only Belizean trained to deal with dyslexia in the classroom, teacher Margaret Enriquez, hosted the first workshop aimed at teaching her peers how to deal with dyslexic students.

Margaret Enriquez

“I think this is the first step, getting the teachers to be aware of the problem and ways in which they can help them. We also need parents to be aware of the problem, because whatever we do, with the children, we also need the parent’s help. Education is a three-way thing, we need the teacher, the student and the parent and community.”

Francelia Cantun

“I’m so excited about this workshop, and I’m looking forward to go back to the school and have a similar workshop in my school so that we can be able to help the children in the proper way.”

Reporting for News 5, I am Janelle Chanona.

The Belmopan Junior School is so far the only institution in the country with a resource room designated to deal with dyslexic children. The teachers hope this type of program will become standard in all schools. If you would like to have your child tested for dyslexia, please contact Margaret Enriquez at the Belmopan Junior School or the Special Education Unit in Belize City.

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