What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is defined by an unexpected difficulty in learning to read. Said another way, dyslexia is a paradox—the same person who struggles to read quickly often has very high intelligence. Science and experience have shown that "dyslexics think differently. They are intuitive and excel at problem solving, seeing the big picture, and simplifying" (S.Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia, 2003, p. 366).
How many people does dyslexia affect?
One in five people will have dyslexia. This percentage is virtually the highest among all neuro-cognitive disorders. Dyslexia is the most common learning disability.
Why should we care about dyslexia?
Often dyslexia goes undiagnosed which means that smart kids are missing out on opportunities to succeed. Worse yet, they (and often their teachers) think of themselves as dumb and unable to have a bright future, thereby giving up on themselves. Identification brings with it self-awareness and self-empowerment, as well as proven interventions. We owe our children, their families and society a real opportunity to succeed and realize their potential.
Why do dyslexics need advocacy?
Education for all is the civil rights issue of today. Dyslexia takes away an individual's ability to read quickly and automatically, and to retrieve spoken words easily, but it does not dampen their creativity and ingenuity. Science has now demonstrated a neurobiological basis for a dyslexic's slow reading; given additional time, their comprehension is very high. Today many students with dyslexia, are not receiving accommodations, such as extended testing time, required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when they take high-stakes examinations such as the SAT, GRE, LSAT, or US Medical Licensing Examinations and others. Advocacy is important to level the playing field to ensure that science and the law are reflected in decisions involving accommodations so that all have equal access to demonstrating their true ability.
What can I do to help?
There are several simple ways that you can help.