In 2018, the dyslexia community planted the seeds of change.
In 2019, we saw the fruits of our effort: last year, we made huge gains in dyslexia advocacy and awareness.
Here in Ontario (and across Canada), we saw first-hand the power of grassroots advocacy. 2019 saw more people acknowledging dyslexia discrimination in our schools and calling for change — specifically, the need for early and effective instruction and support for students with dyslexia. No curriculum change yet, but a massive shift in thinking that I hope will bring about needed change in the long run.
I was honoured to be part of this journey as a dyslexic adult sharing my story, a parent helping my daughter navigate the school system, and as a volunteer advocating for change with Decoding Dyslexia Ontario (my third year in this role).
My journey is also a family journey. My wonderful husband and daughter supported me and contributed many hours of their own time and energy (and money) to the cause.
The Dyslexic Library’s top 9 in 2019
- Remembering: On a sad note, we lost a friend, hero and community builder Paul Dewar. We also started a list to remember members of our community
- Advocating for curriculum change: We had our first meetings with Ottawa MPPs — Joel Harden and Marie-France Lalonde
- Launching the Right to Read inquiry: We applauded the announcement of the Ontario Human Rights Commission Right to Read inquiry, and were honoured that Decoding Dyslexia Ontario was included in the launch
- Growing our audience: Our blog topped 70,000 views; our most popular post was “everything you ever wanted to know about being dyslexic in 20 Peanuts cartoons” and we expanded to Instagram where we found an incredible community of creative dyslexics
- Creating awareness locally: We organized a Dyslexia Awareness Month event with structured literacy expert (and dear friend) Nancy Young. Nancy’s visit opened up an important dialogue in our community; it’s clear that many parents and adult dyslexics are struggling to get the support they need. We also also applied, and got approval, for the first ever dyslexia month proclaimed by the City of Ottawa
- Advocating for a provincial dyslexia awareness bill: We took a mother-daughter trip to Queen’s Park for launch of dyslexia awareness month Bill 149 2019 by our MPP Joel Harden. We both spoke at the press conference — our first time telling our stories publicly — and attended the introduction of the bill in the legislature…I was a proud momma that day (and every day!)
- Advocating for causes we care about: My daughter used her voice to speak out on issues that matter to her, including taking part in the climate change protest on Parliament Hill; I completed my certificate in inclusion and leadership from the Centennial College and the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (connecting the dots between inclusion strategies and dyslexia and learning disabilities)
- Getting to self-acceptance: I put one foot in front of another in my personal journey to self-acceptance
- Reaching out: I made it a priority to connect with and learn from our friends in the global dyslexia community. My community gives me strength — Made by Dyslexia (England), Dyslexic Advantage (US), and individual advocates like
We start the year with humility: though the dyslexia community is making gains, we have a long way to go to make real change in the lives of children and adults with dyslexia.
Personal and political goals for 2020:
- Prepare for the Right to Read inquiry to come to Ottawa
- Keep advocating for Bill 149 2019
- Amplify dyslexic voices to help people understand what it’s like to be dyslexic. We believe in focusing not just on what we can’t do, but what we can do
- Find/learn different (non text-based) ways to tell stories–with a focus on visual story telling (hopefully through film)
- Read more and profile more books and writing-related resources on the blog
- Keep working on self-acceptance & self-advocacy skills
- Continue to work with our friends to advocate for real change — curriculum change and accessible schools — you’ll see progress posted here on on our other social media accounts (Twitter and Instagram)
- Make connections with other communities
- Prioritize fun and fresh air!
What are your goals for the new year?
Happy New Year! Thank you for taking this journey with us.