Lifelong Learning Programme

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Title of Product
Dyslexia told by a dyslexic
Name of Author(s)
Giacomo Curtrera
Name of Producer
Speech of Giacomo Cutrera, member of the AID youth committee and author of the book “the white demon” at the meeting “Dyslexia: instructions” organized by the AID of Matera the 5th march 2011
Date of Production
Published on 18/apr/2012
Language of the review
Language of the product
Type of product
Thematic Area
Students with learning difficulties
Target Group
Headmasters, Teachers
Description of Contents
The video reports the speech of the young adult Giacomo Curtrera who took part in a meeting about SPECIFIC LEARNING DISORDER; the audience is mixed but mainly formed by teachers. The speaker uses self-made slides to support and emphasize some aspects of his speech. He starts by telling a particular episode of when he was at primary school, of his problem to memorize the times table and the strategy he found to compensate for the defect (the use of the cads).
He reveals that he only discovered to have dyslexia at the end of junior high school. He tries to explain the nature of the problem both though his experience as a student with recognized dyslexia and as a student with difficulties not recognized by doctors.

He goes on analysing the typical maths mistakes, paying attention to
“the avalanche effect of the no distinction of the (plus or minus) sign” as
Intensification of the complexity of the demand. He underlines how his maths teachers used the compensative tool of the oral tests to integrate the result of the written tests and how it was possible, though the lack of repetition of the mistake, to evaluate the coherence and the preparation level reached. He also remembers how his negative evaluations often derived from the incompetence of the written tests because he needed a lot of time to decode the text. When he had more time or the text was divided into two parts, he could complete the test and the teacher could better evaluate the level of knowledge/competence reached.
With the effective metaphor of the route uphill using a bicycle instead of a motorbike, he introduces the matter of using compensative or dispensatory measures and at the same time warns the teachers at the meeting to be prepared to answer to the protests of the pupils that think dyslexics are privileged pupils.
The last slides show a top 10 list of “horrifying” arguments told by teachers that ignore what dyslexia is and that reduce the learning difficulties (objectively and scientifically proved) to a simple lack of study and of willingness to learn.
The speaker ends his speech by saying that he succeeded in getting an engineering degree with brilliant evaluations.
- Clarity of structure, logical sequence of contents :
- group

The sequence of the presentation doesn’t follow the standard rules of the conferences/seminars which normally goes from theory to practical didactic.
The clinic and assessment language is absent; the speaker tells his arguments following the chronological order of his personal experiences. He first tells his difficulties as a pupil with no medical certification, and underlines the strategies he adopted to solve the problems he found in his school path; he briefly reminds the audience the clinical aspects of dyslexia and then reports some didactic-methodological actions adopted by some teachers after he was recognised by doctors.

- Educational and learning value
The video has a high educational value as the pupil is the “teacher” and not the person who has been taught; he focuses on the practical aspects of the didactic and the use of compensative and dispensatory measures.

- Quality and relevancy of content
The video stresses the aspect that usually is not related with a student with specific disorders: his normal capability to learn.
In this context the speaker is a symbol of school success at medium-high levels. This is the message he wants to pass on.

- Compatibility of the content with the target
The audience is mixed but the speech is mainly aimed to the teachers and in particular to those who don’t know what dyslexia is and are still skeptical when they are informed about it.

Please also give an overall evaluation of the product

In the video the protagonist wants to show himself as a tangible result of educational success; very often, in conferences about learning disabilities, theoretic situations are analysed whilst in this case some methodological applications used to better face the learning disabilities difficulties are illustrated and then examined from a didactic point of view.

Please dedicate a specific section to:
- The transferability potential
The content of the video presents very pertinent, essential promptings of best practice; the clarity of the way the compensative and dispensatory measures have been executed in this particular case, to underline the “specificity” of the disorder.
It is a clear message for the teachers to never stop when faced with a school failure, but always to evaluate though different ways of testing, in order to guarantee, above all to themselves, the objectivity of the evaluations
- Points of strength and of weakness (if any)
The strong point is made up by the overturning of the role of the student-relator. In teacher trainings, teachers often complain about an excessive emphasis on the psychological component of the problem.
Moreover, in this video, the stress is on the possibility to use the same methodology also with the other pupils (not only with those who have low school success caused by dyslexia).
The speaker emphasizes the necessity of an individualized didactic, but also the importance of the compensative measures as flexible work tool, useful for the whole class.

20 December 2014

Final Partners’ meeting

The fourth partners’ meeting took place in Florence (IT) on 15 December 2014. The meeting had the objective to check the activities carried out since the third meeting of the project and share and assess the in progress results. A special focus has been dedicated to the presentation of the strategies to solve the case scenarios.