Antioch University Midwest Event Raises Awareness, Advocacy for Dyslexia

Tess Maxwell shares about the challenges and rewards of being the parent of two dyslexic children

Tess Maxwell shares about the challenges and rewards of being the parent of two dyslexic children

Documentary and panel discussion ‘… bring light to critical need for quality dyslexia instruction.’   

YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio—“I felt like I was never going to be normal,” said Dylan Redford, one of several people featured in the award-winning documentary, The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia, featured at Antioch University Midwest Thursday evening, February 12. Redford went on to a very successful college career after getting help for his dyslexia.

As part of the School of Education Professional Workshop Series, The Big Picture screening brought together a diverse group of people concerned with and affected by dyslexia. Following the film’s presentation, a panel of experts, including a young dyslexic student and his father, explained their experience with dyslexia and answered many questions from audience members.

The panel also included Donna Donahue, director of the Neil and Willa Jean Smalley Children’s Dyslexia Center. The Center provides free tutoring and free training for children with dyslexia as well as certification for teachers who work with dyslexic students. She introduced Charlie Wallace and his father, who lauded the help they have received from the Center.

“The difference was night and day," said Adam Wallace about his son, Charlie, once he was diagnosed with dyslexia and able to benefit from the proper support.

“The difference was night and day,” said Adam Wallace about his son, Charlie, once he was diagnosed with dyslexia and able to benefit from the proper support.

Adam Wallace said his son, Charlie, was diagnosed with dyslexia during the third grade and was helped greatly at the Children’s Dyslexia Center.

“The difference was night and day. He really is excelling now,” he said. Wallace added that there is a strong need for parents to know what to ask at their child’s school with respect to standardized testing and the classification of their child’s progress. He said that dyslexic students do not do well on written tests unless they are allowed extra time to adjust for the difficulty they have reading.

The allowance of extra time for dyslexic children should be no different than efforts typically made via Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for children with other types of learning challenges, said Al Early, a 40-plus-year veteran school administrator who now serves as a dyslexia consultant for parents.

Though one in five people has dyslexia, there is not as much attention paid to helping students who have dyslexia in school as there is to children with ADD or ADHD and other issues such as autism even though those issues affect far fewer students, he said.

“I saw tonight as a call to advocacy. You had teachers, advocates, parents, a student, and even a former principal. Everybody was represented. If anybody asks me about where to go for resources, I now feel I have some concrete, helpful information to share with them,” said Susan Connolly, a Montessori teacher and Antioch University Midwest student.

Amy Parks, a parent of two dyslexic children, said, “I felt the film gave parents an assurance that dyslexic children can be successful, which is very important.”

Genya Devoe, chair of the Reading Endorsement Program at Antioch Midwest, moderated the event.

“Bringing light to the critical need for quality dyslexia instruction was certainly a goal of the evening, and I think that was accomplished,” Devoe said. “Parents and educators were affirmed and, hopefully, empowered in their journey to be advocates for children with dyslexia.”

The School of Education will offer professional development courses specifically designed for educators who work with dyslexic students. Information is available by contacting Genya Devoe at gdevoe@antioch.edu.

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Antioch University Midwest: Antioch University Midwest is one of the five campuses of Antioch University, an institution proud of serving adult learners and their specific needs for twenty-five years. Antioch University is a not for profit 501c3 multi-campus university of more than 4,000 students who study at the Antioch Midwest campus in Yellow Springs, OH, and at campuses in Seattle, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Keene, New Hampshire, online and around the world!

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