When I read Indigo Wallace-Knight’s story Indigo Solves the Pzulze, I realised that while my role as an Ambassador this year was an important, and valid one, it did not take into account those with dyslexia who, rather than sharing the common joyful experience of reading, often experience a troublesome one. An experience which could at times lead to not only low levels of self-esteem and loneliness, but also bullying from those who are inconsiderate, unkind, and largely uneducated.
As an Indigenous Literacy Day Ambassador for many years, I have long been conscious of a whole group of Australians in our poorest areas, not only without access to beautiful resource like Indigo Solves the Puzlze, but also without the skills to read such books because of their own low literacy levels. The causes of illiteracy in remote Indigenous communities range from English being spoken as a second, third or fourth language, to the fact that in remote communities there are no libraries as we know them here in the city. There are often no books in homes and in many instances a child might not even hold a book before going to school. Alarmingly, 70% of Indigenous children in remote communities suffer from chronic Otitis Media, a serious middle ear disease that can cause permanent hearing loss and inhibit language and literacy development.