INSPIRATION: Isley Hermansen and her mum Julie appeared on Sunrise alongside Richard Branson and Samantha Armytage and Davie Koch.
INSPIRATION: Isley Hermansen and her mum Julie appeared on Sunrise alongside Richard Branson and Samantha Armytage and Davie Koch. Screen grab, Channel 7

Maclean girl spreads #likeadyslexic message on national TV

THERE is something important that 12-year-old Maclean girl Isley Hermansen wants people to know.

It is a message so powerful that even Sir Richard Branson has taken notice.

Isley wants to shake the social stigma off dyslexia, which affects about 10% of the population, and inspire people to use it as a tool to succeed.

"It's not really a disability, it's more of a gift," she said.

"They should see and use it that way and they can do what they want to do. They can be anything that they want to be."

The 12-year-old, who wants to become an interior designer, started to see her own learning difficulties in a different light after struggling through her first few months of high school.

Mum Julie Hermansen said it was overwhelming for Isley to suddenly have so many teachers at a much bigger school.

"One weekend at home I could see she was struggling and we sat down and watched a video called #likeagirl. It was an empowering thing for girls and we thought what about doing things like a dyslexic?

"She started finding all these incredible famous people had dyslexia and grouped them together in a video and put it up on YouTube.

"Her brother said 'you might get four people who are going to watch it'."

The next morning the touching video, called likeadyslexic, had more than 300 views.

It inspired Isley to pen a letter to Sir Richard himself, also dyslexic, asking him to help kids like her learn to 'fly' like a dyslexic.

"The question was how do we stop people feeling embarrassed or ashamed and help people feel empowered, so why not go straight to the top?," Ms Hermansen said.

"We didn't really expect him to reply."

They heard from him on Thursday and have since been thrown into a whirlwind of interviews and media attention, with an appearance on Sunrise alongside the Virgin entrepreneur yesterday.

During the Sunrise interview, Isley asked Sir Richard for his advice to children who were told they couldn't do anything when older due to dyslexia.

His response was to do what you're good at and find people to help you do the rest.

"You will be exceptional at something, so just enjoy what you're exceptional at," he said.

"One day I look forward to a kid writing to you in a poem saying how wonderful you've been and what wonderful things you've achieved."

To join Isley's campaign, share your own dyslexia stories using the hashtag #likeadyslexic.

Richard Branson has also written a blog about Isley's video



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