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Breaking the silence: October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

It’s an opportunity to move beyond misconceptions and dive into a deeper understanding of dyslexia
Whoopi Goldberg (r), pictured with director Norman Jewison in 1994, was diagnosed late in life with dyslexia. She is one of only 18 people to have won an Emmy Award, Grammy Award, Academy Award, and Tony Award for excellence in TV, music, film, and theatre respectively, described as the ‘grand slam’ of show business. (Photo credit: Canadian Film Centre)

By Elvenia Gray-Sandiford

The month of October holds great significance, as it is dedicated to raising awareness about dyslexia, a learning difference that affects millions of individuals worldwide. This Dyslexia Awareness Month is an opportunity to move beyond misconceptions and dive into a deeper understanding of dyslexia.

Alicia Smith, executive director of Dyslexia Canada, emphasizes that dyslexia doesn’t have to be a disability. However, when it is overlooked or ignored it becomes one. Breaking the silence and promoting early identification and intervention are crucial.

Early identification and intervention prevent dyslexia from disabling someone, and play a critical role in helping develop effective coping mechanisms. They also foster confidence and self-worth in dyslexic individuals. Dyslexia is not just a difficulty with reading, spelling, and sometimes pronunciation; it is a unique cognitive difference that affects information processing.

It is important to note that dyslexia is not related to intelligence or vision issues. However, with appropriate support and interventions, individuals with dyslexia can thrive academically and beyond. By recognizing the diversity in learning styles, we pave the way for a more inclusive society.

Parents, educators, and health care professionals have a pivotal role to play in early identification. By recognizing early signs such as difficulty in rhyming, letter recognition, and reading comprehension, we can provide timely support.

Dyslexia should be seen as a journey of resilience and triumph. This Dyslexia Awareness Month, let’s amplify the voices of those who have thrived despite dyslexia. Stories of individuals excelling in various fields underscore the message that dyslexia does not determine one’s potential. These narratives inspire and challenge preconceived notions about dyslexia, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and nurturing the unique strengths that often accompany dyslexia.

Dyslexic individuals often showcase remarkable strengths in problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking. However, misconceptions persist, perpetuating the belief that dyslexia is synonymous with low intelligence. This Dyslexia Awareness Month provides an opportunity to deepen our understanding of dyslexia and move beyond these misconceptions. By recognizing the diversity in learning styles, we can pave the way for a more inclusive society.

In our quest for awareness, it is essential to address the challenges faced by dyslexic individuals in educational and professional settings. Advocacy for inclusive practices, such as providing alternative learning resources and accommodations, is crucial.

Dyslexia Awareness Month is a call to action; a call to break the silence surrounding dyslexia. Alicia Smith’s words echo the sentiment that early identification and intervention can transform the narrative of dyslexia from one of difficulty to one of triumph. As we navigate this month of awareness, let’s commit to fostering understanding, celebrating diversity, and advocating for inclusive practises.

Dyslexia is not a roadblock but a unique journey; one that, with awareness and support, can lead to boundless success. Let this be a month of breaking barriers, dispelling myths, and embracing the strengths that dyslexia brings to our diverse tapestry of minds.

On Oct. 20 and 21, North Vancouver City Hall, Canada Place Sails of Light in Vancouver, as well as the parliament buildings at the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, will light up red in support of the Dyslexia Canada “Mark It Read” campaign for Dyslexia Awareness Month. Join in and help break the silence by displaying the #VoicesofTriumph on your social media platforms, and sharing your dyslexia success stories.