Made in Croatia

Team 7: Croatian Students Develop Guide for Dyslexic People

By 28 August 2021

August the 28th, 2021 - A group of Croatian high school students called Team 7 have developed a guide for dyslexic people, a group of people who suffer with an issue that is still severely misunderstood.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, even today, society is still not sufficiently informed about dyslexia which is faced by about ten percent of the population, especially because of the stigma that dyslexia is an "obstacle" that refers only to difficulties in reading and writing. On the contrary, this issue is much more than that.

This was the thought of the leader Anja Cvetkovic, one of a group of Croatian high school students attending the Sibenik Medical School, who, together with Antonija Crnogac and her younger sister Ivana founded Team 7. They launched a project called Public ignorance about dyslexia/Neinformiranost drustva o disleksiji, as part of which they published a guide for dyslexic people.

As Anja herself has dyslexia and from her perspective can more easily bring others closer to the challenges, but also the positive sides, it was a springboard to spread awareness and knowledge about dyslexia through the project and to encourage their local community to cooperate and make positive changes.

"Our project currently includes the publication of a simple information guide for dyslexics - ''Reading should be available to all''. We also held a cycle of four online workshops ''Dyslexia in four steps - What should every parent know?’' Which was attended by about 160 participants.

The workshops were realised in cooperation with the master of speech therapy Mihaela Lulic from the speech therapy cabinet ''From A to Z'' in Pula, who joined us with her professional knowledge and volunteered on this project.

The workshops were divided into two parts, professional and personal, presented by Anja in order to bring the world of dyslexia closer to parents, teachers, speech therapists and other participants from the point of view of a person with dyslexia,'' the girls behind Team 7 explained.

One mother realised that her daughter might have dyslexia owing to these workshops, which was later confirmed.

The Team 7 girls presented this project for the first time back in March, when a new round of applications for UPSHIFT for the Sibenik-Knin and Zadar counties started.

This is a three-day workshop for young people aged 13 to 19 as part of the unique programme for young people and adolescents called ZABUM (For the Future of Youth) launched by the UNICEF Office for Croatia and implemented in cooperation with the Croatian Office for Creativity and Innovation (HUKI).

The Team 7 project was among the winners, and the girls won 15,000 kuna for implementing their praiseworthy solution in their local community. ''We used the funds to create our guide for dyslexics (editorial, graphic design and prepress, printing), and to create promotional materials related to our project.

As for our further plans, we're continuing to work through the ''Norda Dyslexia'' Association, through online workshops, counselling and education, primarily for dyslexics and their parents and others who want to learn more about dyslexia. We have a lot of plans,'' stated the Team 7 girls, adding that right from the very beginning they had the great support of their school, family and friends and the local media, and there was no lack of cooperation.

''With the great support of our mentor Andrej Hanzir from HUKI, who was always ready to give us guidelines and advice, throughout the project, we achieved a number of quality collaborations. We had collaborations with Mihaela Lulic, MA, from the speech therapy cabinet ''From A to Z'', our editor Marijeta Matijas from ''Manuscript to Reader'' and graphic designer Maja Skiljaica from ''Creative Wheel'', who guided us through the process of creating a book from editing, proofreading, and graphic design to prepress.

We also had collaboration with the University Printing House in Zagreb. Then the collaboration with the Croatian actor and drama champion of the Croatian National Theater Bojan Navojec, who, in our book, shared his own inspiring experience with dyslexia and his support with the desire to continue to cooperate and act in the field of dyslexia.

Mungos Split is responsible for the production of our promo material. We were also supported by our local media Info Vodice and the team of Radio Ritma Sibenik. We're grateful to everyone for their wonderful cooperation, support, advice, and for coming out to meet us and giving us their time, experience and affordable prices due to our limited resources. Thank you all. We plan to establish cooperation with the city libraries of Vodice and Sibenik in connection with our book promotion. We'll publish the book in digital form and it will be free. We'll then donate it to libraries all over Croatia to reach as many people as possible and arouse people's interest in dyslexia, we'll also try to distribute it through publishing houses,'' the Team 7 girls noted.

They also referred to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and this was especially emphasised by Anja, who, as a dyslexic, said that following classes was more demanding due to online lectures, as there is a lot of copying and time constraints when trying to take exams online. The Team 7 girls believe that the Croatian education system generally needs refreshment, and they believe that, in connection with dyslexia, a multisensory form of learning should be introduced that would be useful to students with and without dyslexia.

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