This October, National Learning Disabilities Month, set aside time to learn about dyslexia from a powerful, poignant movie about a misunderstood 8-year old. “Like Stars on Earth” (Taare Zameen Par) from Bollywood, directed by Aamir Khan, gives all of us a chance to walk in the shoes and see the world from the perspective of a dyslexic. The movie has won many awards and nominations.
Ishaan Awasthi, played by Darsheel Safari, is failing miserably at school and getting into trouble. His papers are a mess and his grades horrible. He’s a very bright boy, but his teachers don’t know it. He simply views the world differently. His parents struggle with anger and confusion because they don’t understand why he has so much trouble. With an older son who was a top student, Ishaan’s own father lost faith in him. It’s very sad to watch.
The parents decide to send him to a strict disciplinary boarding school thinking that the environment would straighten him out. But Ishaan’s life only got worse. Dyslexia was not commonly understood in his world; his parents had never heard of it. In fact even today, many parents don’t understand dyslexia and can’t accept the fact that a son or daughter has it.
Without revealing too much more about the plot, a new art teacher, played by Aamir, arrives at the boarding school with a creative new approach to teaching. He sees Ishaan in a new light. Change begins to happen for Ishaan.
Regardless of what you think you know about learning disabilities and dyslexia, this wonderful movie that takes you inside the thoughts and life of a misunderstood dyslexic will change the way you think forever. Students like Ishaan are everywhere including schools that understand dyslexia. Even if you don’t usually cry in movies, you may find yourself reaching for the Kleenex.
It’s a readily available movie; I found it at Amazon and through Netflix.
After you watch, tell us what you think.