FOCUS - NOVEMBER 2018 13 ur daughter, Emma, was diagnosed with a “Specific Learning Disability in Communications Reading and Writing” when she was in Grade 1.As a parent and an ed- ucator, those words are a whole lot to swallow! The educational psycholo- gist explained to us that Emma would have a life-long Learning Disability. As an educator, I knew that this meant we would be going through processes at school to help her with her specific learning needs (IPRC meetings, de- veloping an Individualized Education Plan). As a parent, I knew that I would need to start searching for spe- cialized tutors and technology appli- cations that might help our daughter to access written information in an alternate form (books on CD, Google Read & Write, and so on). But, deep down, I knew there was more about my daughter that didn’t show up in any testing. I wanted to dig even deeper. So, I started to research the term “Dyslexia”. I learned SO much! There have been so many scientific studies done all over the world on Dyslexia basi- cally since … the invention of written language. In recent years, Ontario educators and medical professionals have been required to use the term “Learning Disability” which focuses mainly on children’s struggles with reading, writing, and sometimes math. I feel like most parents of children who struggle in school don’t even consider that their child may be a Dyslexic Learner – which is SO MUCH MORE than just a label of “LD”. Basically, while my daughter and so many other intelligent Dyslexic Learners must work at least ten times as hard as other students to decode and spell words, she now knows that shecanexcelinsomanyotherareasof school and learning. As a parent, I’ve let her know that her job is to work extra hard at learning to read and spell, but also to always realize her strengths. I’ve also told my daughter that as long as she works hard at her jobs, then I will also work hard at my job which is to advocate for her and help others to better understand what being Dyslexic really means. That is why I took the time to write a letter to the Durham District School Board requesting that Dyslexia Awareness Month in October be added to their Dates of Significance calendar and that Dyslexia Awareness be further recognized and promoted within our schools. My daughter and I also decided to design a t-shirt that each of our family members could wear on October 15 to recognize the approximately 1 in 5 people with Dyslexia. Since she was brave enough to agree to wear this t-shirt to school, I chose to send a text message to some friends who knew Emma, tutors who have worked with Emma, and other parents who have chil- dren with Dyslexia. I asked if they Amazing Support by Dyslexia Awareness T-Shirts Why did I walk into the Focus on Scugog office at the beginning of October? Mainly because I wanted to share the amazing feeling of support that my daughter and I received when we decided to design a t-shirt for Dyslexia Awareness Month this October. ............. Please turn to page 14 1. Often highly creative 2. Persistent 3. Can easily grasp new concepts 4. See patterns, connections and similarities that others don’t see 5. Excellent at solving puzzles 6. Strong reasoning skills 7. Excellent comprehension of stories read or told to them 8. Holistic: they see the big picture and don’t get lost in details 9. Understand abstract ideas 10. Inclination to think outside the box I knew my daughter had Dyslexia when I read this list of Dyslexic Strengths: PHOTOS BY MARYANN FLEMING