October marks Dyslexia Awareness Month; yet for our CHAT team, empowering diverse learners is an ongoing commitment. While this month was only recently recognized by Congress in 2015, dyslexia affects as many as 43.5 million Americans, or 15% of the national population! Rather than a vision impairment or intellectual disability, dyslexia is a learning condition that can affect decoding, or the ability to connect speech sounds with their appropriate letters. Dyslexic learners face particular challenges with learning new words, spelling, writing, and reading fluency.
As speech therapists, we are well-equipped to support children with dyslexia by developing their underlying phonological skills. Activities from rhyming, to sound manipulation, to blending and segmenting syllables strengthen their phonological awareness and prepare them to decode larger words and phrases. CHAT’s Language to Literacy programs address all of these skills and more!
At the same time, the most effective and curiosity-driven learning does not come from fixating on children’s “weaknesses,” but through amplifying their strengths. Those with dyslexia offer an imaginative and holistic approach to problem-solving, being particularly adept in big-picture thinking, spatial reasoning, and identifying patterns and relationships. In fact, the dyslexic community boasts artists and changemakers such as Whoopi Goldberg and Steven Spielberg, and purportedly even Pablo Picasso!
This Dyslexia Awareness Month, we advocate for the necessary special education resources and classroom accommodations that uplift dyslexic learners and build on their strengths. Those with dyslexia offer a creative, dynamic, and artful perspective to their classrooms and careers. This month, CHAT resoundingly affirms that they deserve an environment that not only accommodates, but also celebrates this learning difference!
Image Source: New York Times