Nursing students Kiaya Chick and Kaynath Rahman, winners of last year’s King’s Civic Challenge in the category for Reduced Inequalities, have officially launched their prizewinning project. Working with London-based social enterprise, Neurodiversity Learning CIC, they developed dyslexia parcels with resources and information for children between the ages of 8 and 12, with diagnosed or suspected dyslexia, living in Lambeth, Southwark or Westminster.
The King’s Civic Challenge brings together teams of students, staff and local charities to co-create solutions to some of the challenges faced by the communities. Designed in collaboration with partners in the boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster, the Challenge invites local charities to work with the King’s community to develop fresh perspectives on local issues.
Kiaya and Kaynath’s project aims to creatively raise the profile of dyslexia, further empower and support the community to celebrate their differences, and to shine a light on the creativity of individuals with dyslexia. The project proposal was praised by the Civic Challenge judges for being highly innovative and creatively produced by, for and with people who have dyslexia.
To create the packs, Kiaya (BSc Adult Nursing) and Kaynath (BSc Children’s Nursing) delved into research on the most beneficial learning tools for children with dyslexia:
The parcels we created contain resources and tools that research has found to be useful for people with dyslexia in learning environments. For instance, we included pastel colouring pencils because this has shown to be beneficial to people with dyslexia for remembering information. We also included timers, as we discovered many people with dyslexia struggle with time management.– Kiaya
Families who receive the packs also get free access to dyslexia-friendly resources from Twinkl, a learning resource website.
Kiaya and Kaynath both have dyslexia themselves, although this went undiagnosed through most of their time at school. They feel a strong sense of empathy for children who, like them, go through school without the appropriate support.
The reason we wanted to develop these packs for children with dyslexia is because we have been in their shoes. We have an insight into what it’s like going through childhood without the appropriate support, and we wanted to improve this for the next generation. We don’t want them to be left to struggle later in life.– Kaynath
The packs were officially launched at the end of October this year, coinciding with Neurodiversity Awareness Month. Now, just a few weeks after the launch, Kiaya and Kaynath have sent out 45 out of the 250 parcels created.
“We’re really pleased that people have shown interest in the parcels. The majority have been requested by parents and schoolteachers, but we’ve also had community centres and extended family members request packs for children they know. We’re confident that this is going to make a real difference to children in these London boroughs.” - Kiaya
The decision to sign up for the Civic Challenge was not an easy one, being busy nursing students with a schedule full of lectures and clinical placements. However, reading into the charities who were taking part, the pair felt their contribution could make a difference.
“Nursing can be a tough course, so I didn’t really have any intention of signing up for the Civic Challenge. I thought it would add extra pressure, and the timings might not work out with my placement. However, I started reading into the neurodiversity charities and really resonated with their cause. The chance to work with them convinced me to take part.” – Kaynath
Originally a group of five working on the project, the final team consisted of just Kiaya and Kaynath. However, the pair said they received excellent support from CEO and founder of Neurodiversity Learning CIC, Navedia Young, as well as their assigned King’s alumni.
Looking back, it was a bit stressful at times – especially being just the two of us. But it was definitely worth doing and a great experience in the end. It’s something we can be proud of for a long time. I would highly recommend it for anyone who is interested.– Kiaya
I enjoyed being a part of the Civic Challenge. It was fun to combine creativity, researching about dyslexia and using business skills to create an idea and present it to judges. As we were dealing with Covid and lockdowns between 2020 and 2021, we had to record our pitches and upload them online. Being part of the Civic Challenge helped me take my mind off the clinical and nursing pressures. Even though the project was stressful, it was very rewarding and great that it helps the community around King's and for a great cause. Especially as the award given to us was ‘Reduced Inequalities’, it was a perfect way of summarizing our team's intentions of increasing awareness of dyslexia.– Kaynath