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Lewis: Dyslexia is a gift

Thursday, March 8, 2018
Atlantic Sports Ambassador Andrew Lewis, third from left, back row, with participants from the Andrew Lewis Sailing Foundation "Succeeding with Dyslexia" seminar on the weekend at the Hotel Normandie in St Ann’s.

Andrew Lewis Sailing Foundation teamed up with Atlantic LNG Company of T&T once again to hold a seminar for some 100 children with dyslexia on the weekend at the Hotel Normandie in St Ann's.

By the end of both days it was very clear to all that the event had achieved what it was set out to do, which was to empower the young ones and to make them understand that having dyslexia is in fact a gift.

The “Succeeding with Dyslexia” seminar was the dream of two-time Olympian and Atlantic Sports Ambassador Andrew Lewis. Being dyslexic himself Andrew was able to quickly connect with the attendees to share his challenges and more importantly share his successes.

“I am extremely grateful to Atlantic for helping me make this dream a reality and for opening the eyes of the children who came this weekend to realise the great talent that they have. There is a lot of work still to be done however and I am deeply committed to championing this cause and making a difference to help children with dyslexia,” said Lewis.

Toni Sirju-Ramnarine, vice president, Corporate Operations at Atlantic who addressed the seminar on Saturday was pleased to partner with Lewis to make the seminar a reality. She noted that when he told her some five years ago that he had dyslexia, Atlantic immediately set out to find ways to assist Lewis in raising a greater awareness about dyslexia.

The first collaborative effort was a movie premier fundraiser for the Dyslexia Association of T&T, the movie was suitably, “Man of Steel”.

Dyslexia is widely misunderstood and while having dyslexia makes it difficult to read, it certainly does not mean that the person cannot excel. Some of the many famous persons with dyslexia include: Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Richard Branson, Walt Disney, Tom Cruise, Orlando Bloom, Henry Winkler, Stephen Spielberg, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and the list goes on and on.

The children were thrilled to know that they were part of a very special group of people and that having dyslexia often meant that they are very creative with above average IQs.

The seminar was split over two days, Saturday for secondary school students and Sunday for primary school students. The attendees had a full day, they had motivational and inspirational talks from Vivian Wall and Don La Foucade and they did exercises and activities to stimulate their brain led by Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapist students from the University of the Southern Caribbean who were with them for the weekend.

Also present was the head of the Dyslexia Association of T&T Cathryn Kelshall who addressed not only the participants but their parents and shared some valuable learning tips and tools.

Reflecting on the weekend, Lewis was indeed very satisfied with the turnout and enthusiasm of the children. There was no bigger smile in the room than Lewis’ when a 12-year-old boy in replying to a question as to whether a banana can make you powerful, he said, “Anything can be powerful, it depends how you use it.”


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