It has only been in the last decade or so that conditions such as dyslexia have begun to be understood. Before that a lot of people - including teachers - didn't even know what it was, and those who suffered from it were considered illiterate, dumb, or inattentive to their studies.
Since I have dyspraxia, a condition similar to dyslexia, I only know too well the difficulties it can cause with handwriting, spelling, and reading. I also know how it feels when teachers don't think you are trying hard enough. When you see others doing well at simple things, while you lag behind, you can't help but feel stupid.
Fortunately, upon leaving primary education, I was able to go to a school that supported pupils like me, and supported children with dyslexia. It really helped me improve, and excel in my studies. Sometimes only a few minor changes can help a person with dyslexia: one-to-one tuition, tinted glasses, etc.
DYSPLA is a non-profit organisation with the aim to make more people understand dyslexia, and to prove that it can be as much a gift as a hinderance. For example, dyslexics are often more creative, can see solutions outside the box, and can be more able to adapt to situations.
Despite what people think, dyslexics can write, and are sometimes better storytellers because of it. DYSPLA hold an annual festival to celebrate creative dyslexic storytellers, which is now running at Camden People's Theatre until the 17th November. This year the theme is Monsters, Mavericks, Mothers, and focusses on female protagonists and ideas about containment.
Tickets are £12 in advance or £15 at the door. Highlights of the event include Y&P, a play written by Yvonne Ridley, a journalist who tells her story about being captured by the Taliban in 2001. Dysplamentary is a film documentary about dyslexic writers, directed by Kazimir Bieleck.
If you have dyslexia, and would like to get involved, you can take part in The Letters Project. All you have to do is handwrite a letter, send it to DYSPLA, and they will post it on their website. If you have children with dyslexia, take them to The Caretaker where they can help prepare a new children's play for 2014. They will be supported with script reading, and learn acting techniques.