A national competition organised by the Dyslexia Institute and the British Dyslexia Association aims to "help boost the confidence of people with dyslexia and to underline their creative strengths", says Ken Follett, president of the Dyslexia Institute and best-selling author.
In its 20th year, now with the support of Sony, BT and The Vision Charity, the competition is called "As I See It" and includes a strong visual element. Entrants this year have a choice of themes: either "The Millennium - My View", or "A Letter of the Alphabet". They are asked to submit prose or poetry of between 100 and 1,000 words; or paintings, drawings, photographs; or a film or video, no more than three minutes in length. A new category is designing the home page of a website. Overall prize money totals pound;6,000, and first prize in each category and age group is pound;300. The rest is divided up among the children and young people whose projects are highly recommended.
Last year the competition received 1,000 entries and now the organisers want to attract even more from the estimated 350,000 children of school age with dyslexia in the UK. In 1999 entries were diverse and imaginative. Prize winners included Rose Dixie, then aged 10, who won a first prize for a poem called A Secret Place. In the poem, a stream provides a metaphor for living with dyslexia. This is an extract: (Other people) ... seem to flow so smoothly over the constant hurr of life, only stopping to clash once or twice.
My mind is bubbling and splashing, trying to keep up with the tide of confusion.
Also a first prize winner last year was Peter Lowe, then aged 12, who made a short film using animated characters made out of modelling dough. Peter had made one for the competition before and won a regional award. "I wanted to make a better one, and finished it over Christmas," he said. This year he will enter again: "I'll improve on the storyline this year, and the sound track and I've got a new camera which will make it smoother."
Age categories are 10 and under, 11-14, 15-17, and 18 and over. A painting or drawing can be in any medium; the video can be in VHS or 8mm format, and photographs can be in black and white, colour or be a digital image. Websites should be submitted initially as A4 full colour printouts. The closing date is August 31. Regional judging will be completed by the second week of September and final judging by the second week of October. The presentation will be during Dyslexia Week at the beginning of November.
Entry forms are available from The Dyslexia Institute, 133 Gresham Road, Staines, Middlesex TW18 2AJ, tel: 01784 463851, or The British Dyslexia Association, 98 London Road, Reading RG1 5AU, tel: 0118 966 2677.
For more information, including the addresses of regional competition centres, check out website: www.asiseeit.co.uk