"I'm going to change the world when I grow up!"
It's a lofty goal that many children dream of accomplishing. It's also one that, when stated, parents often try to bring their children back down to reality. Can the world really be changed? It seems impossible.
Yet, 8 New Jersey parents will have a different answer when their children set that goal. Not only will they encourage it, but they will act as inspiration. Because ....
It was October 2011, just 3 short years ago, when those parents were sharing a train to New York City to attend a luncheon held by the National Center for Learning Disabilities. They began to share stories, as parents do. With the topic of the luncheon being dyslexia, their conversation naturally turn to school ...and reading ....and frustrations. All had the same story. All from different districts. "Why has no one done anything about this?" they declaired. Then, it hit them.
We are someone. We are 8 someones. Together, we can do something.
Decoding Dyslexia was born.
[caption id="attachment_28571" align="aligncenter" width="543"]
Left to Right: Andy Kavulich, Donna Cosgrove, Kathy MacCausland, Kathy Sullivan, Deborah Lynam, Cheryl Envoy, Jeanne Michael, and Liz Barnes[/caption]
It turns out, there were a whole lot of other someones out there just waiting for inspiration. As I type this, Decoding Dyslexia groups are in 47 states as well as British Columbia with a reach of over 50,000 people!
So, what have they been doing in all of this time? Sitting around complaining? No. Changing.
Together, they have worked to pass at least a dozen state laws, many more proclamations, and countless district policies. They serve as a beacon of hope to parents who thought it was hopeless. They attend IEP meetings together, laugh together, cry together ...get mad together.
And raise awareness together.
They've held parades (DD Kentucky):
Art Shows (DD Tennessee):
And lit entire towns red (DD Alabama):
They've even written the 1 in 5 message on highways for all to see (DD Oklahoma):
"Everybody that we have is a volunteer," says Kari Huskey from Decoding Dyslexia-OK. In order to do something like a billboard campaign on a zero dollar budget, she had to get creative. And brave. "I looked online for billboard companies. I told them who we are, and what we are doing," Huskey recalls. "I asked if they would rotate ours in with their PSA's (Public Service Announcements). Three of the big ones called me back!"
This is just the beginning.
As a group, Decoding Dyslexia gathered in Washington, DC to rally for co-signers on US House Resolution 456, a measure on dyslexia awareness. There are currently 111 signed on.
We can't wait to see what the future holds.
It's a huge grassroots movement, literally from sea to shining sea.
To find a Decoding Dyslexia Chapter in your state, click here.
If you would like more information about dyslexia, including access to parent support
, audio books
, and a free dyslexia screener
, check out all we have to offer at www.LearningAlly.org