International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Can you see me?

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I have a learning disability difference. You can’t see it, but it’s real.

I felt its sting when I was a child in school, when you asked me to read out loud, when you told me I’d never learn math, when you said I’d never go to university. As an adult, I see it every time I pick up a book, read a recipe, write an essay, fill out tax forms, drive my car or go for a job interview.

It hasn’t always been easy, but I have adapted.

The hardest part is how you see me – and how you don’t.

My disability difference is dyslexia, the most common learning disability difference in the world. It affects an estimated 15-20% of the population across every race, culture, class and gender.

And yet, dyslexia is largely unknown, unsupported and ignored. Some days, I feel we are invisible. Other days, I feel we are completely misunderstood.

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Why our schools need to say dyslexia

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Me at three.

I remember this day clearly. I insisted on dressing myself. Mismatched mittens and wrongly buttoned sweater — it didn’t matter. I was pleased with the results. My father took this photo, a celebration of his fiercely independent child.

Me at three.

Happy, free, loved, accepted.

My life before school. At home with a mom and dad who let me be me.

All that changed, I changed, when I entered the Ontario school system.

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My #dyslexia story. Something lost. Something found.

I was identified as dyslexic at the age of 49. It was like finding the missing piece of an unfinished puzzle (to paraphrase Steven Spielberg). Finally, my life made sense. In the days that followed, I did what I always do: I wrote it out. Then, I published my story on my book blog Lost and Found Books.

Here is my dyslexia story. Something lost, something found. Continue reading

How i didn’t learn to read

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I’m a child and this is how I learnt to read or you could say how I didn’t.

When you think about giftedness you think that reading would be like a first sense, but it’s not. I didn’t learn the way the school teaches, here’s the summary:

Teacher: “Here kids this is how to pronounce the alphabet, now go read.”

Me (in my head): “teacher, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, that was so vague TEACH ME!”

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2017: It’s time for change!

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As a parent, I struggle daily to ensure my daughter gets the help she needs to learn and be happy at school. Some days I succeed, other days are a miserable failure. It hurts to see her suffer needlessly.

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Photo essay: Understanding dyslexia—the first Canadian conference

More than 200 parents, students, educators and advocates attended the first Canadian dyslexia conference on Nov. 12, 2016 in Toronto. If you missed it, here’s a chance to see what the day looked like:

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Annette Sang, a founding member of of Decoding Dyslexia Ontario and Elaine Keenan, president of the Ontario Branch – International Dyslexia Association, set the tone for the day with a powerful opening statement: “It’s a human right to learn to read.”

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Support children with dyslexia: Sign the petition!

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With early identification and effective teaching, dyslexic children can learn to read and succeed at school. Without it, they suffer the stress and shame that comes with struggling to read and write. Without it, they won’t reach their full potential.

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New video: Faces of dyslexia

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After spending most of my life living in the shadow of undiagnosed dyslexia, I am starting to feel really hopeful about increasing dyslexia awareness and support in Canada.

This–the first–video by Decoding Dyslexia Ontario is a sign of the changing times:

“These are the faces and wise words of some of our young people in Ontario who are spreading the word about dyslexia and helping us understand what we can do to help them succeed in school and in life.” ~Decoding Dyslexia Ontario
Take a look at the inspiring faces of dyslexia in Ontario, Canada. And share!