About Us

Who We Are

Zahra Nawaz

Hello beautiful people! I’m Zahra Nawaz from Melbourne (Australia). While I’m not chasing after my boys or cooking up a storm in the kitchen, I work with dyslexic and additional needs children. I’m an Orton Gillingham trained practitioner registered with the Australian Dyslexia Association. I’ve also undertaken advanced OG morphology and multisensory mathematics training with Ron Yoshimoto. I’m a passionate advocate for children with dyslexia and additional needs. I trained to be a dentist and completed my Masters in Health and Human Services Management. I’m currently studying to be a counsellor specialising in child development and expressive therapies.

Check out Zahra’s Linkedin profile here.

Ashaz Shafeeq

Hi I’m Ashaz. I’m 9 years old. I like playing chess and soccer. I love drawing pokemon and illustrating books with mum and dad.

Adheen Shafeeq

Hi, I’m Adheen. I’m 7 years old. I love bird watching, beyblades, pokemon and taking care of my garden. I also like to go fishing. I illustrate books with my brother Ashaz and help mum practise her OG resources.

Shaf Azam

I am the tech and marketing guy behind our initiative. When he isn’t troubleshooting for Zahra, you can find him consulting to the airline and healthcare industries.

Check out Shaf’s Linkedin profile here.

Heidi Gregory

Heidi is the Chief Advisor provides mentoring support and guidance to Zahra on rolling out the Dystinct Book 2021 initiative.

Check out Heidi’s Linkedin profile here.

What is Dystinct?

Dystinct was launched in 2021 as a resource for the families and educators of children and young people with learning difficulties. Not every dyslexic child is magically a genius. Oftentimes, parents spend hours looking for the genius or outside-the-box thinking in their dyslexic children, failing to realise that it was in them all along, hidden in plain sight under the years of self-doubt and shame that the society ingrained in them for not matching up to their peers. Dystinct aims to peel back at these negative layers of damaged self-esteem and provide children with a platform to truly appreciate their uniqueness, take pride in their differences and revel in the knowledge that within their difference lies their strength.
Dystinct has the commitment to empower people with learning difficulties and their champions so that they can discover the strengths within themselves and appreciate the uniqueness that learning difficulties have offered them. This is done through:
  • Providing multiple opportunities for children with learning difficulties to get involved in the production of the magazine. Inspiring children to follow their passions and pursue their strengths is one of the main missions at Dystinct.
  • Sharing evidence-based information in an easy-to-understand format so parents can advocate for their children.
  • Sharing the voices of children and parents so educators can do better by knowing better.
  • Spreading hope and inspiration through sharing the journeys of ordinary people with learning difficulties who have found their special places in their lives despite their initial struggles so children have relatable role models to look up to. It’s wonderful for children to hear about famous role models in the hopes that they can imagine what they’re capable of once they get out of the school system that isn’t designed to cater for their differences. However, for a child who is struggling to match up to their peers in the classroom and feeling ‘less than’, giving them examples of faraway celebrities or telling them to view dyslexia as their superpower often doesn’t work to build their self-esteem. Rather, they need recognition for what strengths they have and what they are instead of what they can become. They need to hear stories of people just like them going through the same struggles as them to find it within themselves to plough through the hard years at school.
  • Publishing an annual coffee table book featuring content from the bi-monthly digital magazine used to fundraise for Dystinct’s Not-for-Profit partners working in the space of learning difficulties around the world.

The Need to Change the Narrative

One in five children who pass through our one size fits all education system are on the dyslexia continuum, diagnosed or not. They are repeatedly dismissed as too dumb or unaidable, leaving desperate parents with very few avenues to turn to.
Our beautiful children are broken by the very system that is meant to nurture and raise them. These are promising young minds who are made to feel worthless over and over again because the system has failed to recognise their differences.
Their struggles are often brushed under the rug or the system recognises their existence but lacks the capacity to make the changes necessary to accommodate their uniqueness.
There is a need to change the narrative around dyslexia from that of ‘slow’, ‘not working hard enough’, ‘lazy’ to one of hardworking, passionate, uniquely different and worthy.

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