Celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Month

If you are reading this article effortlessly, then consider yourself lucky. Nearly 20 percent of the population does not read anything with ease. They have a reading difference such as dyslexia.

They are not able to sit down and read a newspaper article, magazine or book with such ease. They may see swirling letters, letters that are not shaped correctly, or not see the differences between some letters. These readers must work twice as hard or more as other readers. Dyslexia can be managed, but it does not go away.

Dyslexia can make every aspect of life difficult for those who have this reading difference. Many of us do not think twice about following a new recipe for dinner, reading the directions for a new medication from the pharmacy, completing a job application or reading bedtime stories to children. A dyslexic is thinking about those things. He or she is feeling frustrated and fearful.

Every October, Dyslexia Awareness Month is celebrated to acknowledge the struggle many people face every day in school, work and life. The International Dyslexia Association began the idea of celebrating dyslexia every year in October, and the United States Congress recognized October as Dyslexia Awareness Month in 2015. The reasons for a month-long celebration are many.

Dyslexics do NOT have a lower IQ than other students. In many cases, they are highly intelligent. While they may struggle to read, they have other positive attributes such as critical thinking and problem-solving skills and concept formation. They also can be creative in the arts and gifted in athletics. Many successful businesspeople are dyslexic, including Richard Branson, Walt Disney, Barbara Corcoran and Charles Schwab. I doubt many of us would say they are not bright because they are dyslexic!

So, what can you do to celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Month? There are many individuals who have stories to share about how they utilize and work with their dyslexia every day. Read some of these people’s stories. Review state laws that affect students who show the characteristics of dyslexia. Be a volunteer at a local school because many need people to be readers. Call a local school and see what ideas they might have for you to help promote dyslexia awareness.

Most importantly, if you know someone or work with someone who has told you he or she is dyslexic, be mindful. See how you can be supportive. If you need more information about dyslexia, please contact me at the University of Houston-Victoria.

Carol Klages is a professor of literacy at the UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development and is a certified dyslexia master therapist.

Learn more about the Dyslexia Education Certificate program.