1. The Science.
Say Dyslexia because of Science. Dyslexia is supported by over a century of basic, clinical, and educational research. Why shouldn’t we connect day-to-day experiences with scientific understanding?
2. A Dyslexia-Appropriate Education.
Say Dyslexia because of Education. Unless dyslexia is recognized by name in our schools, students have not chance of having their distinctive patterns of strengths and challenges and specific educational needs recognized. Dyslexia is not just reading. The intelligence and creativity of dyslexic children and adults needs to be recognized, children need to be challenged at their levels of intelligence, and in addition specific needs in reading, writing, spelling, processing speed, math, memory, and organization need to be addressed.
3. Dyslexic Strengths
Say Dyslexia because of Strengths. The intelligence and creativity of dyslexic adults and students have been recognized since the very first reports of dyslexia were created and they seem to be as integral to the fundamental features of dyslexia as its most common challenges. It’s vitally important to recognize cognitive strengths to build on student strengths and tailor education to the strongest routes of learning and memory. Dyslexic students shouldn’t have to wait until adulthood to discover their talents and abilities; strengths should be discover and nurtured and all students should learn about the positive heritage of dyslexic men and women throughout history.
4. Dyslexic Community
Say Dyslexia because of Community. Dyslexic students, adults, and parents of dyslexic children need to be able find each other to share, learn, help each other, and find support. For many across the U.S. today, dyslexia is invisible. But invisibility makes it that much harder to find advice from others who have “been there, done that” and it’s harder for young people to discover that their part of a ‘tribe’.
5. Positive Action and Change
Say Dyslexia because of Change. The invisibility of dyslexia in the past has contributed to the bizarre situation of dyslexic students comprising 80% of special education in public schools and 15-20% of every classroom, but school districts oblivious of the impacts and mistakenly violating the American for Disabilities Act by telling parents they do not recognize dyslexia at school. It is only last week that the U.S. Secretary of Education has clarified to U.S. school districts across the country that they should “Say Dyslexia” and recognize these students “often experience challenges in school related to reading, writing, mathematics, and focus; but (that) these students also have great strengths and enormous potential.”
This is a great development, but of course lots more hard work must follow to make sure that his policy is implemented and every dyslexic student receives the education they need.
Would you like to help? Join our community and sign up for your state’s advocacy group.