Town Hall lights it red for dyslexia

EMPOWERMENT: Isla Matthews, who has dyslexia, is raising awareness. She will be part of a gathering at Ballarat Town Hall on Saturday night. Picture: Kate Healy

EMPOWERMENT: Isla Matthews, who has dyslexia, is raising awareness. She will be part of a gathering at Ballarat Town Hall on Saturday night. Picture: Kate Healy

On Saturday night Isla Matthews, 12, will stand outside Ballarat Town Hall with her family and friends as its clock face turns red. 

The Ballarat landmark will join buildings across Australia in lighting up to raise awareness for Dyslexia Empowerment Week.

Isla said she was seven when she found out she had dyslexia, which is a specific learning difficulty (SLD) that affects a person’s skills in reading, spelling and writing.

She has since made many adjustments in her life including using special glasses and different coloured pens and paper.

“My teachers (at Mount Clear College) do cater for me at school,” she said.

“If I have white paper I can’t read it because all the words jumble up so I need yellow paper and the teachers have to use blue whiteboard markers not black or else I won’t be able to read the whiteboard.”

Isla has taken part in a research project at Monash University in the hope of helping experts discover more about the condition. 

“(As part of the project) I had to look at the screen and notice things change and I had electrodes on my head that track my brain,” she said.

“It’s just to work out more about dyslexia so in the future they can hopefully find other ways that will help.”

The budding photographer noted many celebrities also have the condition and would not allow herself to be limited by the learning difficulty, but said awareness would help. 

Isla’s mother Kirsty Matthews has organised a gathering outside the Town Hall for when the clock face turns red. They will meet from 6.30pm on Saturday.

She said it would be an opportunity to meet and support other people in the community who had dyslexia as well as raise awareness.

Dyslexia Empowerment Week begins on Sunday, October 16 and runs until Saturday, October 22.

For more information visit www.dyslexiaempowermentweek.com.au