Dear Next President,
I wanted to write to you about a topic that is really close to my heart. Today in schools so many kids are struggling with so many different things and many of these struggles are overlooked. One learning disability that is widely overlooked is dyslexia. Schools across the United States should be more aware of how to help students who struggle with this learning disability. If we find a way to have teachers and school staff members be more aware of how to help students with dyslexia it can really help these students get better grades and reduce their anxiety in the learning environment.
I am a 15 year old sophomore student in high school in Michigan who is dyslexic. According to the International Dyslexia Association, ” Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.” Growing up and learning in school over the years have been a nightmare for me. I have always been horrible at reading and writing and I didn’t know that I was dyslexic until about fourth grade. Most People don’t know they are dyslexic for a long time and never understood why they would struggle so much. For most of elementary school I didn’t know I was dyslexic and got made fun of by other student because I couldn't read as well as the other students. I was put into a special reading class that made me feel different. They just thought I was a slow learner and needed more help and even then they still didn’t know I was dyslexic. Then when I found out I was dyslexic it suddenly all made sense. The backwards letters and mixing up words and crying and getting frustrated over homework finally made sense. I was one of the lucky ones that figured my learning disability when i was still young but other people aren’t always as lucky.
Even now I still have problems in school. Just last week I started crying and having a panic attack because I was asked to read a passage out loud in my civics class and I was embarrassed that I couldn’t read a paper so I freaked out. I don’t want other kids to go through what I’ve gone through. According to austinlearningsolutions.com it’s estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia and over 40 million american adults are dyslexic and only 2 million of them knew they were at a young age. Those numbers seem crazy to me because it’s so overlooked not many people even know what this learning disability is. I just feel like something should be done in schools across the U.S. to help kids because about 20% of school-aged kids in the United States are dyslexic. Even though that other 80% of kids don’t have these problems, schools say they want to help all kids in school succeed so why aren’t we doing more to help kids that need that extra help. That also goes for not only dyslexic kids but any other kinds of learning disabilities that could use more help.
I know it’s possible for there to be help in schools for dyslexia in schools because it was done in an elementary school in Texas. A parent named Jessica Bryant shared the story of her daughter and how she was tested in a public school and ended up getting the help she needed and it made a huge difference. Jessica Bryant stated in the article, “ You read right- a public school district that actually tests for dyslexia and then has a program specifically for it! I didn’t know at the time that this didn’t happen on every campus in the nation. I had no clue we were in the minority.” It really can be done and I feel like it should be done and not only in my state but around the nation. In Michigan, according to Dyslexia Reading Well, there are only three schools that really help with dyslexia and other similar learning disabilities. I just feel like that is such a low number and there should be something done about it.
Schools always talk about how they want to reduce anxiety and depression in schools, but for a dyslexic kid anxiety and depression are two very common emotional symptoms. Sometimes in school dyslexia can affect your own self image and lead to anger, depression, and anxiety which are all things that just make it even harder to learn and get better in school. If we figure out ways to help dyslexic kids it can help reduce these symptoms and save a lot of kids from a a lot of tears.
This topic really does mean a lot to me because I have frustrations everyday with homework and being in school and just trying to learn and I want to raise awareness and help other students like me. Every student deserves to learn and get help even if they have a learning disability. I’m asking for your help in raising awareness and trying to help the next generation's kids that have learning disabilities. I need your help because I don’t just want to help my district or just my state but I want schools to be aware of this disability across the United States.