NEW HAVEN– About 200 teachers, students, scientists and other advocates gathered at Yale on Monday to call for changes in the nation’s classrooms, standardized tests and culture to help dyslexic people succeed.
Dr. Sally Shaywitz, who co-directs the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity with her husband, said dyslexia is not a condition in which people simply have trouble reading because they see letters on the page as reversed.
In the view above, you can see Dr. Shaywitz, high school student Joseph Harris and Singer Henry Belafonte Jr. talk about what dyslexia is and how they think it should be viewed.
Attitudes toward dyslexia are slowing shifting as more famous and successful people reveal that they have struggled to read, including businessman Sir Richard Branson, actress Whoopi Goldberg, investor Charles Schwab and even Connecticut’s governor, Dannel P. Malloy.
Dyslexia advocates have had some success in the nation’s capital. In Washington, 55 lawmakers are currently part of a bipartisan Dyslexia Caucus. Rep. Joe Courtney, who represents eastern Connecticut, is part of the group but who is not dyslexic, said Monday that he would like Congress to require that standardized testing agencies to give students with documented cases of dyslexia more time on exams.
“Clearly it is the right approach to make sure that people with documented cases … be given the opportunity to have a fair test,” said Courtney, who represents eastern Connecticut. “You can help dyslexic students without turning classrooms upside down.”