Liz Dunoon is a teacher and a mother to three children all with dyslexia. It was through her own research to help her children that she discovered a huge divide between what is known by researchers about dyslexia and what is happening to support children with it in our schools today.
Liz graduated from teachers college in 1987 and taught in both the state and the private school system. During this time her passion was always the teaching of reading and writing, yet based on her teacher training, she had no real knowledge of dyslexia or how it could impact on a child’s ability to learn and to be successful.
In 2004 her oldest son started school. After 4 months he was unable to read any of the basic words being sent home on flashcards and was not capable of reading any of the words in his readers. After speaking to his teacher about her concerns Liz came to the realisation that his teacher was totally unaware of his plight and could not offer strategies to help him. Fear, worry and anxiety crept into her family and the future began to look very uncertain. She knew her son was intelligent, yet she did not know why he wasn’t learning at the same rate as the other children in his class. Not one to sit around and dwell on what might have been. Liz started to research how she could help her son to learn and to be successful at school. With the teachers approval she began to tutor 6 students from her sons class, who were also struggling to read and with 3 short sessions per week over 6 weeks she had every child in her group reading and smiling once again.
Her dyslexia research continued and just as well, because her second son was diagnosed with dyslexia in 2009 and her youngest daughter in 2010. Liz sought the advice of some of the world’s leading dyslexia researchers to help her children to succeed at school. According to their studies approximately 10% of the English speaking population could have dyslexia. Liz came to the conclusion that there must be many other families who could benefit from access to her research as well.
A survey site posted on the Internet confirmed her thoughts as it became obvious many concerned parents of struggling school children were also searching for answers. This resulted in her writing the book ‘Helping Children with Dyslexia – 21 Super Strategies to Ensure Your Child’s Success at School’. Liz is so passionate about this cause she even enlisted the help of one of the world’s most famous business entrepreneurs, Sir Richard Branson who is also dyslexic and a wonderful role model for all families affected by dyslexia. He willingly offered his support by writing an inspirational foreword for the book.
Liz believes it is time for change; children with dyslexia are as intelligent as all other children, yet it is formal schooling, which seems to hold them back. A majority of teachers are not educated enough to identify a child at risk of dyslexia, which leaves parents unsure of what to do to help a child who is struggling at school. On top of this there are limited diagnostic services available and it can become an expensive extremely confusing minefield as parents strive to seek solutions. Scientific research shows that early identification of dyslexia and the instigation of timely appropriate support systems will change many lives. Ongoing education is the key and Liz is determined to create a complete and thorough educational support system to ensure parents and teachers can help all their children to reach their full potential at school and in life. Liz assists this process by providing a huge free resource website to families worldwide affected by dyslexia. She is in regular contact with State Education Ministers and Federal Politicians who have the power to bring about education reform. She does this by providing hundreds of personal accounts of living with dyslexia which are collected via another website titled The Australian Dyslexia Trust.
Currently residing in Melbourne Australia, Liz is married to Andrew who also struggled with reading and spelling at school. Now a successful business entrepreneur he supports her all the way and helps behind the scenes with their educational business. Her three children tackle each school year confidently and successfully and Liz continues to research and write offering support to those families affected by dyslexia. ‘Transformation’ is Liz’s chosen keyword. “I want to help to transform people’s lives so they can be the best they can be.”