U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro recently honored Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz with a statement published in the Congressional Record. The text of her statement is below.
The Hon. Rosa L. DeLauro
Honors Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz
2019 Recipients of the Liberty Science Center Genius Award
Madame Speaker: At this year’s Liberty Science Center Genius Gala, two outstanding members of my district, and my very good friends, Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz were recognized with a 2019 Genius Award in recognition of their invaluable contributions to the study of dyslexia and its impact on those afflicted with this frustrating learning disorder. Two of five visionary men and women of science bestowed this prestigious honor this year, this is a remarkable tribute to the lifetime of good work that Sally and Bennett have done.
The world’s leading experts on dyslexia, Sally and Bennett are the Co-Founders and Co-Directors of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. Academic physicians, Sally specializing in developmental pediatrics and Bennett a neurologist and neuroscientist, they worked together to discover dyslexia’s scientific basis, pioneer effective therapies, and change public attitudes. Afflicting one in five people in the United States, dyslexia is our most common learning disorder and it has been through the leadership of Sally and Bennett that we better understand this disorder — why it happens and how it can change over time.
Lab partners for thirty-five years — a partnership is only outmatched by their marriage of fifty-five years — Sally and Bennett made it their life’s work to understand how reading behavior might change from childhood to adulthood. Over the course of the last three and a half decades, they have continuously studied four hundred fifty-five people from the age of five. Their research has definitively demonstrated that dyslexia affects boys and girls in equal numbers is not something that is outgrown, and is not linked to intelligence. Brain scan studies that Bennett conducted reveal a neural signature, a particular brain abnormality, is responsible for dyslexia. The results of their dedicated effort have debunked the myth that those with dyslexia are simply less intelligent and has enabled physicians, scientists, teachers, and policymakers to better understand how to best help those affected by the disorder.
The Liberty Science Center is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers and to exciting learners of all ages about the power, promise, and pure fun of science and technology. Each year their Genius Awards Gala honors pioneers in science, technology, and innovation. It is a fitting recognition of the lifetime achievement of this special couple. It is with great pride that I stand today to join the New Haven community in extending my heartfelt congratulations to Sally and Bennett Shaywitz on this very special honor.