By Alandra Johnson

The Bulletin

If you go

What: “Dislecksia The Movie” and panel discussion including filmmaker Harvey Hubbell

When: 6 p.m. Thursday, doors at 5 p.m.

Where: McMenamins Old St. Francis School

Cost: $7

Contact: www.disleck

It’s a learning disability that affects up to 20 percent of the population, according to Linda Balsiger, a certified speech-language pathologist and owner of Bend Language & Learning. But, she says, many people are not familiar with the details of dyslexia, nor do they understand how it works or how it affects people, particularly children.

That’s one of the reasons why Balsiger decided to bring “Dislecksia The Movie” to Bend on Thursday (see “If you go”).

The screening of the documentary will also include a panel discussion, led by filmmaker Harvey Hubbell.

Hubbell is an Emmy-winning filmmaker who has dyslexia. The movie is about his own life and also includes interviews with celebrities who have dyslexia and delves into how dyslexia works in the brain.

The panel will include local educators as well as families who will share their personal perspectives.

Balsiger hopes local educators, parents and pediatricians attend the screening. She also hopes that it can help raise awareness about dyslexia.

Balsiger says many people believe dyslexia is a reading disorder, but in truth, it can affect the way a person understands written or spoken words. Symptoms of dyslexia can include poor spelling and writing, mixing up similar words, and slow or inaccurate reading,

Early intervention can make a big difference.

Balsiger hopes to “help kids who think they aren’t smart because they are having trouble reading. I hate seeing kids lose confidence in themselves.”

If a bright 5-year-old struggles to grasp letter sounds and struggles to read, that can spiral into a dislike of school, Balsiger says.

“It’s really never too late, but outcomes are better if you receive interventions early.”

Red flags for dyslexia may include a 4-year-old who struggles to rhyme or a 5-year-old who can’t identify words that start with the same letter, says Balsiger.

— Reporter: 541-617-7860,