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The Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin Foundation

Posted by on 29/06/2018

Lost on flight MH17: the Maslin children. From left, Evie, Mo and Otis. Photo: Supplied Lost on flight MH17: the Maslin children. From left, Evie, Mo and Otis. Photo: Supplied

Lost on flight MH17: the Maslin children. From left, Evie, Mo and Otis. Photo: Supplied

Lost on flight MH17: the Maslin children. From left, Evie, Mo and Otis. Photo: Supplied

Today marks 100 days since the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine.

The Herald is launching a fund to support a foundation in memory of Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin – the three West Australian siblings who were among those killed in this tragedy.

The personal stories of those aboard MH17 touched a chord with all Australians, but perhaps none more so than the three bright and beautiful faces of the Maslin children.

We invite Herald readers and the wider Australian community to generously contribute to the fund.

It is the newspaper’s hope that, together, we can create a substantial and lasting foundation to honour the memory of Mo, 12, Evie, 10 and Otis 8, and the bravery of their parents Anthony (Maz) Maslin and Marite (Rin) Norris.

Maz and Rin want the foundation to focus on helping children with dyslexia and related learning difficulties through early childhood intervention. This is particularly fitting, with Dyslexia Empowerment Week drawing to a close on Saturday.

The hardships faced by young children with dyslexia and their families have a particular resonance for Maz and Rin because Otis had dyslexia.

“Otis’ diagnosis from the Dyslexia Speld Foundation of WA was waiting for us in the mail when we arrived home after our world ended,” Maz and Rin said.

“This was no surprise at all – Rin had known there was something amiss since Otis was at least four, But Rin and Maz, like many other parents, were told that a formal diagnosis was not possible until age eight.”

While DSF and other similar organisations do great things for children once diagnosed, in the Maslins’ experience there was little or no assistance for families for earlier intervention and many undiagnosed children can become frustrated and disinterested in school.

Like many parents of young children, Maz and Rin struggled to help Otis during his early schooling: “Otis did two additional literacy sessions per week, paid for at great expense by us as there is no assistance for families in this situation. But it was already ‘SO BAWING!’ … Otis language for ‘I hate it’.”

The Australian Dyslexia Association said dyslexia was resistant to traditional teaching and regular tutoring. Individuals with dyslexia have average to superior intelligence and can learn. They just learn differently and therefore need to be taught differently. Dyslexia can be seen as a language-based learning difference. What this means is a teacher must be equipped to teach more than one way.

Maz remembered Mo once saying to him: “‘You know, dad, I’m sure Otis is really, really good at something – I’ve just never seen what it is.’

“I couldn’t have said it better myself. Otis is the guy who can take a piece of bark, an old hair elastic, a bottle top and a feather – and make a ‘mobile phone’.

“When Otis showed the mobile phone to Rin, she said ‘Oti!  How did you do that?’  He answered ‘Because I’m magic.  And I think good’.

“Otis is incredibly funny, and is creative beyond belief. He was and is the happiest soul you’ve ever met – but the classroom was not a place for him, and his diagnosis clearly stated that it would only get harder for him as classroom difficulty increased.”

Maz and Rin would like to work with dyslexic associations to target the foundation’s efforts on early intervention activity.  “What we would like to do is find a way to encourage these crazy, amazing, creative little kids to engage in school through early intervention at the earliest possible stage: four- to five-year-olds or thereabouts”.

In particular, they would like the foundation to support educators to find new ways to assist children with this condition and other learning difficulties, and find fun ways children can address their own difficulties through “play”.

“We know this is something our kids would be very happy about. Both Evie and Mo would be really happy to see their joyful little brother happier, more of the time, and if they could do this for a huge number of kids, that would be a brilliant thing.”

Donations to the fund can be made to The Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin Foundation:  BSB: 092-009. Account: 12135-1. 

The Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin Foundation to honour lives lost 

The Herald will start this fund to support the Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin Foundation with $20,000, to be donated jointly with Ms Peta Credlin, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister.

The fund and initial donation is the brainchild of Ms Credlin who has been paid this sum as a result of a defamatory letter published in the Herald at the start of the MH17 crisis.

Ms Credlin has been working with the family for the past month to establish the Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin Foundation as a way to both honour the children’s memory and help other children in the future.

The Herald today repeats our earlier apology for the distress caused to Ms Credlin over the publication of the letter.

Together with Ms Credlin, we want something positive to result out of this and a Foundation to honour the lives of Mo, Evie and Otis, is one such way.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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