Dyslexia Awareness Month : What A Mother Wants You To Know


The more parents, caregivers, and educators know about Dyslexia, the better. The more we can identify, treat, and even celebrate, the more we will have a stronger nation of readers who feel really good about themselves. 

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month and as a mother of a dyslexic child, here’s what I want you to know. 

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a language-based disability caused by differences in brain wiring and NOT a vision problem. When you have Dyslexia you don’t see or read backwards. Scientific research shows differences in brain connectivity between dyslexic and typical reading children. Dyslexics’ brains just work differently. 

There is no “cure”.

Dyslexia is not a disease and can’t be “cured” – it is lifelong. With the right supports, dyslexic individuals can become highly successful students and adults. There is a genetic component to it and often runs in families. 

Dyslexia often has company.

Dyslexia often partners with other learning and attention problems such as ADHD, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. It is found across all backgrounds and intellectual levels. 

A more glaring and concerning fact is that children with Dyslexia and other learning disabilities are also far more likely to develop mental illness. Plus, there is much shame about struggling to read, write, and spell. Studies show that those not reading proficiently by 3rd Grade are more at risk of dropping out of school before they receive a high school diploma.  

Dyslexia is common.

It is estimated that up to 20 % of the population has Dyslexia. While this learning disability is so common, using the word “Dyslexia” isn’t. This may have been part of our problem all along. If we can’t say it and know the science behind it, how are we going to create solutions?

And even if your child doesn’t have a reading disability, you should know that in New Hampshire, less than 50% of our 4th graders are still not reading at a proficient level. Nationally, only about 34% of our 4th graders read proficiently. 

Early detection is KEY. 

Early detection is most successful before the third grade. A trained school specialist or an outside specialist like a private neuropsychologist are often the ones who diagnose dyslexia in children. They can help your child get the support they need in school. And remember, you the parent work alongside all of these specialists– it’s a very important relationship I write a lot about. 

The New Hampshire legislation just passed a set screening criteria for Dyslexia. Children are screened no later than November 30th of a child’s Kindergarten year or First Grade. 

Gaining support to read fluently should be a civil right.

As I mention above, one in five children have Dyslexia. And 70-85% of children placed in special education are dyslexic. So they require explicit, systematic instruction in the five components of literacy: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. This instruction should involve many senses (hearing, seeing, touching) at the same time.  

Gaining the support an individual needs to read fluently is a basic civil right. Think about it: if you are unable to read you are unable to vote, understand written information about your health, interpret tax and financial statements. 

Dyslexia is hard. But it doesn’t mean failure.

Having Dyslexia does not have to mean failure. Many successful people have dyslexia! Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs, for example. In fact, people with Dyslexia are often more creative and have higher intelligence than the average person, as well as superior spatial reasoning skills. 

As a mother of a sensitive, creative out-of-the box thinker and Dyslexic, I have some asks this Dyslexia Awareness Month.

I want more teachers trained to identify and support kids who have dyslexia.

States should train teachers in programs that require explicit, systematic evidence-based instruction like Orton-Gillingham. I also want them to provide time and financial assistance in order to ensure those trained teachers are also certified as practitioners in these programs. The New Hampshire Department of Education offers the LETRS program for free to parents, caregivers and educators. 1,000 educators signed up for the program, isn’t that amazing? Each course can count toward a graduate level degree. 

I want to see early and often, proactive screening measures for children.

We should know the signs and symptoms of dyslexia in preschool and kindergarten. Future educators who are in college should train in assessment tools and the science of reading before they are on the job. We also need to be looking at our current curriculum and be open to making change to ensure we are really able to follow the science of reading.  

Need more support for your dyslexic child?

If you are looking for more additional support for your Dyslexic Child in New Hampshire contact Seacoast Learning Center and become a member of The International Dyslexia Association. You may sign up for the SCIENCE OF READING & THE ROAD TO EDUCATIONAL RECOVERY happening October 28th and 29th virtually. 

For related books about Dyslexia for Children and Podcasts for Adults

Books about Dyslexia

NPR Special Series: Unlocking Dyslexia

Sold a Story Podcast


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When I was 12, I received a coveted writing award at my 8th grade graduation. So right about now my 12 year old self is super pumped to be writing for Seacoast Moms! Writing loads of poetry helped get me through many challenges as a preteen. Even as a poet, I also write in advocacy and about deeper challenges as a parent and as a woman. Expressing my feelings and writing about what I've learned while becoming a grown up may hopefully be relatable to others. In college I was set on a law career but took one intro to education class and fell in love. I received my Master's in Education from Lesley College through a life changing program called "Art Integration in the Classroom". During my years teaching 4th grade, I also coached for The Girls on the Run program and witnessed the importance of extracurricular activities, teamwork and movement for children. Once my daughters came along, I made the tough decision to pause my career and focus on motherhood. I became the organizer of my family (and chaos) as a stay-at-home mama. The trick I found to support my extrovert passionate personality was to not "stay-at-home". My children and I quickly became involved with our community in Portsmouth, NH. I suddenly found myself as a master non-profit volunteer, becoming skilled at event planning and fundraising and eventually social media marketing and management. I helped lead a nature playground committee at our local school which successfully raised tens of thousands of dollars over several years. Within our PTA, I've planned many events and led our group members to think of outside of the box while using ways to connect with the community and secure sponsorship for The Ecology School Fund as well as The Nature Playground Fund. I've dived in to Social Media management promoting kindness, connection and celebration. Motherhood has found me coaching a youth sport that I knew nothing about, navigating the health and special education field for both my daughters and advocating for enhancing special education and for invisible disabilities such as Dyslexia and PANS/PANDAS awareness. Over the last 12 years as a Seacoast Mom the one thing that I've learned is that kindness can go a long way and that you truly never know what another mom or family could be dealing with. So offer a helping hand when you can, a compliment or an unexpected smile. It can and will change someone's life. I like to speak up when it's important and believe we should skip the small talk and get to the grit of life. I love my family, friends and community fiercely.