Last week, I co-hosted a lunch here in Philadelphia with my good friend Colleen. We welcomed the National Center for Learning Disabilities to our city and introduced them to a group of some of our great Philadelphia Mom bloggers.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities strives to improve the lives of those who live with learning disabilities. They are raising awareness and empowering parents and educators to be advocates.
One of the things that blew me away from the information I read before the lunch and during the luncheon was how many people have and live with learning disabilities. And how many go undiagnosed until even the high school level. It’s scary! People with learning disabilities – and dyslexia specifically - can be very smart people. They know how to get through the system, get through testing and fly under the radar while they are at the lower grade levels.
They learn how to compensate for their challenges. Which in the end can be detrimental because the longer it goes on, the harder it can be to catch up.
My own husband was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child. He was in his early reading years and this was of course in the late 70s, early 80s when the term dyslexia wasn’t as well known as it is today. He was lucky enough to have a mother who was a reading specialist, otherwise I’m not sure it would have been caught at such an early age.
It’s funny – I tell people, I would have never known he had dyslexia. I remember him telling me when we were dating and I was shocked! There are so many misconceptions about what someone with dyslexia may be like – that they are stupid or that it’s obvious that they have a learning disability – but this just isn’t the case at all. You may think you would be able to obviously tell if someone has dyslexia but that’s often not the case.
Here are some really helpful links to learn more about Dyslexia and other learning disabilities:
And How to be a Learning Disabilities Advocate.
As a parent with no professional background in education, I will say this – my take away is that you need to be aware at the parent level. Your teachers may be wonderful but they have many, many other children to tend to day in and day out and they can’t always be focused on every child. Trust your gut.
Take action by visiting the NCLD.org website and getting educated. Even if you don’t have a child with a learning disability, you can be a voice and an educator to show other parents how to help get their children the help they need. And know that it’s not just about the learning disability but about the entire picture of a child. That there is much more to a child with a learning disability than just their learning disability. It does not define them.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Dr. Sheldon Horowitz, an expert from the National Center for Learning Disabilities, ”Learning disabilities are an island of weakness in a sea of strength.”