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‘High number of inmates suffering with Dyslexia’

Wednesday 18 May 2022 | Written by Sian Solomon | Published in Local, National

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‘High number of inmates suffering with Dyslexia’
The Ministry of Corrective Services sign in Arorangi. Photo: CI NEWS/22051220

Dyslexia advocates are calling for better care of inmates dealing with the disorder.

A recent meeting between Ministry of Corrective Service staff and the Dyslexia Society highlighted the future of inmates suffering from Dyslexia - a condition that advocates say hasn’t received enough attention or awareness in the Cook Islands. 

Dyslexia is a learning condition that affects a person’s ability to read and write.

“They are keen to start something,” said Jean Francis, chairwomen of the recently formed Cook Islands Dyslexia Society, which is a non-profit organisation.

“We went to the prison and gave a presentation to them about how we could work collaboratively in the future with their inmates.

“What we want to do is have a look at all of them, so there was a suggestion that we look at the staff (as well) and we are really happy to do that,” she adds.

“Because that’s one of our objectives, is to help the adults in our community, as well as our younger Cook Islanders.”

According to Francis, there is a high number of inmates that have some form of Dyslexia.

The “learning difference” ranges from mild to severe, and affects all racial and ethnic groups.

People with dyslexia have difficulty learning to read and write and often fall behind academically, even though the condition has nothing to do with intelligence.

About 20 percent of the population has some degree of dyslexia, often undiagnosed, according to the World International Dyslexia Association.

“The speed that the society has come about so quickly has been phenomenal,” said Francis, referring to the Cook Islands Dyslexia Society.

“It’s due to the team of people pushing this along and getting in there.  

“Also, the success of this and any new initiatives has been because of the people we have approached, who have been so supportive of what we are doing,” she added.  

“I think that the more we get out, the more information and the more we talk about it, the faster we can help.”

Cook Islands News reached out to the Secretary for the Ministry of Corrective Services, Teokotai Joseph, who said: “The meeting between the Ministry of Corrective Services and the Dyslexia Society was to inform the senior management of the Corrective Services as to what is Dyslexia.

“Nothing has been decided as to whether there will be new programmes implemented in the near future.

“(Also) the meeting did not include the Minister for Corrective Services,” he added.