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Success story & tips at dyslexia meet

In Class II, she could barely read like a kindergarten kid. In Class VI, she failed in most subjects. In July this year, she graduated with chemistry from the University of Manchester.

Ishita Jalan, 22, will share her story of coping with dyslexia on the opening day of D.A.R.E. to Win, short for Dyslexia Awareness and Remedial Efforts, an international conference on dyslexia at International Management Institute from December 17-19.

“My spellings were horrible and my attention span would hardly stretch for 10 minutes and then I would switch off in class,” recalled the city girl, whose life changed after she went to Cobham Hall in the UK, a mainstream school where she took remedial classes that did wonders to her self-confidence.

Ishita was detected with dyslexia when she was in Class II. She was given a lot of concession in classes III, IV and V, but the academic pressure increased in Class VI and it became difficult to cope.

“In Cobham Hall I was taught to cope with dyslexia when not many people in India knew about it. You cannot overcome dyslexia but can learn how to cope up with it,” Ishita said.

Her mother Divya Jalan started the Dyslexia Trust of Calcutta because she “could see the change in her daughter and wanted to give back to the society and create more awareness. Divya is also the president, founder and trustee of Breaking through Dyslexia, a non-profit organisation that is hosting the three-day conference.

Reena Sen, the executive director of Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy, said it was the responsibility of schools to recognise the “invisible disability” and help children.

Consultant psychiatrist at Apollo Gleneagles, J.R. Ram, spoke about “the huge battle to convince everyone that it is a genuine condition which can be modified”. “Dyslexia is not in public consciousness in India and specifically in Calcutta there is a huge lack of awareness... not only regarding the fact that it exists but all of us, including professionals, have a very vague notion about what it is, how common it is and how do we manage it,” said Ram, who will speak at a session on the final day of the conference.