It's Time

Peggy Hendrix
Peggy Hendrix, Director of Admissions

This past weekend, over 500 folks connected to our school came together to raise money for dyslexia awareness at the Dyslexia Dash 5-K. It was a wonderful day, filled with proud, smiling faces.  Everyone was happy to come out and celebrate dyslexia. It was easy to see the excitement of the participants as you looked out over the crowd, and I loved reconnecting with so many alumni and parents.  Everyone was so happy to be together on that very early, very rainy Saturday morning. 

After I got home, I continued to think about the event, and I remembered a conversation I had last week with a prospective parent.  This parent had accepted her child’s dyslexia diagnosis and was eager to get her child the remediation she sorely needed. As she talked, she mentioned that a couple of other children in her daughter’s class had also been recently diagnosed.  One, she said, was also applying to our school. The other child’s parent, unfortunately, was in denial. She didn’t want her child to be “labeled,” so she was not going to seek help for his reading difficulties.

I was shocked at first to hear that some parents still feel that dyslexia is something to be ashamed of.  We celebrate dyslexics here at my school and revel in their creativity and out-of-the-box thinking skills.  We understand that dyslexia can be remediated and know that our students will go on to achieve their full potential.  

But of course, this isn’t the experience of most dyslexics in this country.  Schools like ours are very rare, and remediation is completely out of reach for millions of dyslexic children and adults.  The academic life of an unremediated dyslexic is difficult at best. Children who struggle to read are left behind by today’s school systems.  Even though it is possible to screen four-year-olds for potential reading disorders, most states have chosen to ignore this fact. 

There is hope for children in Massachusetts, however. On October 19, 2018, Governor Charlie Baker announced his support of Senate Bill 2607, “[a]n Act relative to students with dyslexia.”  Massachusetts Senator Bruce Tarr said, “Parents have told us time and again about the hardships as a result of failure of the proper recognition of dyslexia.  You cannot help but be compelled to act . . . When dyslexia is properly recognized and confronted, there can be a remarkable difference in a student’s learning career.  This is long overdue and absolutely imperative . . . It’s appropriate that we in the Senate do our part and stand up and say for once in the commonwealth of Massachusetts that we will recognize this issue, make a bold decision and take appropriate action . . . this is not a partisan issue, a geographic issue or a socioeconomic issue.  It’s about responding to a group of students who have been ignored for too long . . .”

Let’s hope that legislatures across the country will recognize the wisdom of the Massachusetts legislature and provide the children of this country with the tools they need to be successful.  It’s way past time.