To foster a community that celebrates, educates and empowers those with Dyslexia
In 2019, Celebrate Dyslexia was founded by Tricia Cantwell and Jasmin Dean, with the purpose of being a resource for parents and educators looking for information and community for their Dyslexic students. In addition, with a strengths-based approach to outreach, Celebrate Dyslexia found that this would make their advocacy work unique and solidified the mission to build a community that celebrates, educates and empowers the 1 in 5 people affected by Dyslexia. By raising community awareness and encouraging advocacy, Celebrate Dyslexia will have a positive influence in changing the narrative around Dyslexia and have a direct impact on the educational and medical processes for the next generation.
One in five children who cross the school threshold everyday have Dyslexia, diagnosed or not. Dyslexia also does not discriminate by gender, class or creed. Understanding that children do not want to fail and expecting them to stay in a situation that they cannot succeed is also counterintuitive to human nature. So, if school is uncomfortable, they will find a way out…bathroom, frequent visits to the nurse, Principal’s office.
We know that most innovators/inventors that changed the way we live (Einstein, Tesla, Wright Brothers, Alexander Graham Bell, Steve Jobs) all had dyslexia…80% of the prison population has it, too. This is a socio-emotional issue as well.
The problem we have discovered is that Dyslexia is being under-identified in San Antonio at a disproportionate rate compared to the national average. Using reporting data (PEIMS) from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) from a cross section of the school districts, we have found that San Antonio school districts fall significantly below the national average. We pulled from higher socio-economic schools and compared to lower socioeconomic schools. We compared large school districts with smaller school districts. We compared charter schools with traditional schools as well. The information we found was astounding. Of the 16 schools we reviewed, across the board schools reported that only 2-6% of their students were identified with Dyslexia.
We also found that there was a significant need for access to vetted information and positive support for families and teachers about Dyslexia. There is a need to change the narrative surrounding Dyslexia from that of hardship, turmoil, and misunderstanding to one of strength, empowerment and celebration.
Celebrate Dyslexia has three initiatives to provide solutions. Between the medical, educational, and social (high profile celebratory) components, a change in the narrative of Dyslexia in the community will be ignited, with the goal of positive life changing impact on the educational and medical processes for the next generation.
Medically the focus will be on changing the ICD 10 code of Dyslexia from a research symptom to a definitive neurological condition. Not only will insurance companies cover diagnosis and treatment, but clinical practice guidelines will be enforced at well child visits to greatly contribute to earlier diagnosis and treatment.
Education has many facets of growth and opportunity. Celebrate Dyslexia has outreach events with the Experience Dyslexia simulator in a variety of environments for parents, teachers and community members bringing awareness to the symptoms of Dyslexia. In addition, a teacher scholarship has been established to stipend Qualified Instructors and scholarship teachers to earn their Certified Academic Language Therapy license. This is a collaboration with the South Texas Scottish Rite Learning Center.
Finally, Celebrate Dyslexia commissioned Whiteboard Exhibits LLC to create the traveling exhibit “Beautiful Minds: Dyslexia and the Creative Advantage.” This exhibit was gifted to the DoSeum by Celebrate Dyslexia and will show October 2020-January 2021. With this platform, many community program events featuring local successful Dyslexia entrepreneurs, as well as local students, and Dyslexia teachers will take place and highlight Dyslexia in our community. After our announcement October 2019, organizations from 47 other states requested the exhibit.
With a more robust awareness across the medical, educational and community platforms that affect Dyslexic individuals, more children will be identified earlier. Teachers will use best practices when teaching the science of reading kindergarten through third grade so that all children, including dyslexic children will read well enough to accomplish academic goals and thrive within the academic community. Success will also be destigmatizing Dyslexia so that parents will encourage testing at earlier ages. Success will also include medical code change to unlock additional education for the parent from the physician as well as make more federal funds available for more research.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Kimberly Cornwell, Ed.D.
Kara Mowrey, Ed.D.
Jasmin Dean, MM
Katie Evans, M.D.
Tricia Cantwell, M.S.
We’re ready to celebrate. Are you?