Collaboration. The dictionary defines it as the action of working with someone to produce or create something. The second definition listed is traitorous cooperation with an enemy. In Celebrate Dyslexia’s 1st year, the partners that you see in the image above have all joined Celebrate Dyslexia in educating, empowering and inspiring the 1 in 5 who have Dyslexia.
I learned early on that collaboration was going to be key in educating my Dyslexic son. I could not do it alone. As my husband and I began to navigate these waters, we were prepared to see this journey through with the second definition as our theme. Very quickly, though, we learned that we were not alone in the trauma of many years of undiagnosed Dyslexia and all the comorbidities that had affected our son, and that many of the early key players fit better in the first definition as our focus and drive.
It began with our school’s administration knowing us, learning of our experience, and taking action. That opened the doors to solid collaboration with the reading specialist, classroom teachers, support staff and PTA. What we also learned along the way was how important it was to collaborate with our son and learn from him what was and wasn’t working.
Additional collaborations in the early years included state dyslexia groups that were years ahead on this road. They educated us on the lingo, and we learned that we weren’t alone. Sometimes it felt like we were veering into the less pleasant lanes of cooperation with the stakeholders in our Dyslexic journey, but we were quickly finding that many were joining our conversations confirming our experience and speaking out more on theirs.
As Celebrate Dyslexia celebrates its first birthday, collaboration has been the heartbeat of every step taken. The mission itself of celebrating, educating and empowering the 1 in 5 that have Dyslexia (and all those that love them) cannot happen in a vacuum. It is imperative that the known stakeholders are included in our conversations and steps, but just as crucial that other key community stakeholders are welcome to the table and learn why they need to be stakeholders in this conversation. I may be partial, but I believe there is no better place in the United States to do that than San Antonio. Our city has taught me how to collaborate. I knew that if this narrative could change for the Dyslexic community, it could happen here well.
It is not okay to have this conversation with a single school or district in mind. This encompasses every district and campus whether public, private or charter. It can’t be something we only discuss with administrators. Every stakeholder in education needs to know how they can change the trajectory of a Dyslexic student’s life.
Education isn’t where the conversation stops, either. A cohesive effort between the medical community and educational community begins to broaden the canvas. Places that entertain, feed, or employ members of the Dyslexic community are just as important. Anywhere caregivers go for information needs to have a seat at the table.
We have learned that there is always room at the table and we are happy to welcome others. Regardless of where you are on your Dyslexia journey, will you join us this year is educating, empowering and inspiring the 1 in 5? We look forward to having you join us.