By Paul Singer
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Oct 17, 2013
~~<div>As part of National Dyslexia Awareness Month in October, Honolulu will join more than 50 cities across the nation tonight in screening "Dislecksia: The Movie," to raise awareness and shed light on this learning difference so that we can begin a meaningful conversation about how to help children with dyslexia succeed. </div>
As part of National Dyslexia Awareness Month in October, Honolulu will join more than 50 cities across the nation tonight in screening "Dislecksia: The Movie," to raise awareness and shed light on this learning difference so that we can begin a meaningful conversation about how to help children with dyslexia succeed. The film will play at Kahala Theatre at 7 p.m. today. By a conservative estimate, there are approximately 15,000-20,000 dyslexics in Hawaii's schools each year. Unfortunately, many go without the help they need, and worse, without being fully understood by a well-meaning society.
I was born dyslexic and will always be dyslexic. By the end of first grade, I was well aware of the fact that I was unable to read as well as my peers. I didn't know why this was the case, but as a result, developed feelings of inferiority that haunted me for years. School life started out mediocre and remained so throughout my K-12 years. I'll never forget meeting with my high school counselor and being told that I shouldn't bother taking the SAT college admissions exam because "it would be best if I would focus my attention on learning a trade that doesn't require college." Fortunately, my mother was there to build me back up saying, "Everything will be OK; some people just need a little more time to realize their potential." She helped me believe that someday I would make it to college. School was a chore, but on the bright side, I excelled in sports, which became my outlet. Without them, I truly would have been lost. Because of sports, I always worked (and sometimes cheated) hard enough to maintain the "C" grade point average required for eligibility. My biggest obstacle as a high school student was attitude and lack of motivation. I was angry and rebellious, always finding ways to blame my mediocre school performance on poor teaching. I spent so much time in the dean of students' office that, in hindsight, I'm surprised I wasn't charged rent. Over time, he became a mentor and a friend. By the 12th grade, I had several very significant advocates: my mother, grandmother and the dean. Each, in their own way, provided exactly what was needed at important stages in my life. Their unconditional acceptance and sincere belief in me are what got me through high school and into a local community college. After struggling through freshman year, ending the year on academic probation, I eventually transferred to the local state university, where I earned a bachelor's of arts degree and two masters of arts degrees before completing doctoral studies at the University of Southern California. My reason for sharing this is that I know there are parents dealing with the same anxieties my parents faced. I know that there are kids who will make many of the same mistakes I made along the way. Most important, I know that all kids are deserving of the same level of unconditional support I had as a young person. The most valuable piece of advice I can offer is that remediation for dyslexia is much easier if it happens during the early childhood years. Dealing with the psychological impact of a learning challenge is the single biggest obstacle to remediation. Healing the wounds, unintentionally inflicted by a society that often doesn't understand the dyslexic, can take a lifetime. One must believe that there is a future before one is willing to work toward that future. Unconditional support, guidance and acceptance from significant adults are the keys to nurturing confidence, resilience and, ultimately, success. Login for more...