The Vision Australia Library isn’t just for people who are blind or have low vision.
It’s become a haven for people with print disabilities who regularly access books, magazines and newspapers in accessible formats.
Children with dyslexia are some of the most popular users of the Vision Australia Library, said Sarah Bloedorn, the coordinator of children’s and young adult’s library services.
“A lot of parents of children with dyslexia have told me about how audio books have changed their child’s life and they say being able to keep up with their peers makes them more confident,” Sarah said.
“I’ve heard from young people with dyslexia about how much they enjoy having so many things to read, everything from the classics to books they’ve never heard of before.”
Struggling to read means children might not be able to develop their vocabulary as quickly as their peers, or build up their general knowledge.
Without an early diagnosis and the right support, it can also impact a person’s self-esteem and ability to succeed in their studies.
The library service has opened many doors for parents and created bookworms out of their children.
Sarah said the library has helped students stay up-to-date with what’s popular and trending, so they don’t feel left out.
“There’s nothing worse than seeing your friends enjoying a book and not being able to access that book yourself,” Sarah said.
“Fantasy is very popular with young people and 20 years on, Harry Potter is the series most read by children using the library.
“We try to keep tabs on popular authors and make sure we get their books into our library as soon as it’s physically possible so there’s not a situation of all the other kids being able to read it months before the child with dyslexia can.”
Accessible books come in all different forms. Books can be converted into braille or into audio, or come in large print or simple English.
Young people with dyslexia can use the library without the need for an official diagnosis.
“We know it can be expensive to get a diagnosis, so all we need is a referee to confirm a child has dyslexia,” Sarah says.
“This could be a teacher or medical professional.
“I’m glad we are able to make so many beautiful stories accessible and help children with dyslexia explore new worlds.”