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Dyslexia documentary focuses on common, misunderstood condition
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Screening: ‘The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia’

When: 7 p.m. Jan. 10

Where: First Presbyterian Church, Swetenburg Hall, 800 S. Enota Drive, Gainesville

How much: Free

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A critically acclaimed documentary on the pain and struggle of dyslexia will be screened tonight at First Presbyterian Church’s Sweetenburg Hall in Gainesville.

“The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia” provides personal accounts from children, experts and iconic leaders, such as Sir Richard Branson and financier Charles Schwab, who have endured the condition. Directed by James Redford, son of film star Robert Redford, the film clears up misconceptions about the condition while painting a picture of hope.

It also focuses on the latest scientific and psychological research, highlighting the work of Drs. Sally and Bennet Shaywitz, co-founders and co-directors of the Yale Center of Dyslexia and Creativity. In showing that dyslexia is a neurological issue and not a character flaw, “The Big Picture” illustrates that while the condition is an obstacle, it also carries some unique advantages and can be overcome.

Director Redford approaches a subject in which he is familiar; his son, Dylan, is dyslexic.

“By conservative estimates, 1 in 5 people are dyslexic. Although very bright and often highly creative, they have a difficult time making sense of written language,” Redford said of his film on the website

“Like many dyslexics, Dylan is intelligent, thoughtful and intellectually curious — a ‘big picture’ thinker. But at the age of 10, he was barely able to read and write. To say that school was difficult for him is beyond understatement. Now that he is grown and thriving, there are many things that I wish I had known about dyslexia at that time, things that would have helped me understand that his struggle in lower and middle school was not the final verdict on his academic or intellectual ability or ambition.”

“When I was given the extraordinary opportunity to make a film about understanding dyslexia, the mission was simple: make the movie I wish my family could have seen when Dylan was functionally illiterate in fourth grade.”

The film, broadcast on HBO, was selected to be screened at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 17-23 in Park City, Utah.

The screening runs from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Afterward, a Q and A panel discussion will be held with Ava White, Gainesville City School Psychologist Dr. Josh Hall, Lakeview Support Services Coordinator Linda Sloyer and Hall County special education teacher Carol Lynn. Director of High School Programming Ron Walker will serve as facilitator for the panel.

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