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Rhode Island Advocacy for Children and Decoding Dyslexia RI helps parents be advocates

Decoding Dyslexia RI, along with Rhode Island Advocacy for Children, hosted an informational night at the Warwick Public Library last Wednesday for parents to learn how to be the best educational advocate for their children with dyslexia. A panel of speakers included educators, doctors and legal and legislative representatives discussed issues concerning those with dyslexia.

Decoding Dyslexia RI is the 34th local chapter of a national grassroots movement of families who are concerned about their children’s educational interventions concerning dyslexia, which attempts to empower families with information as well as raise awareness for the condition.

Suzanne Arena, founder of Decoding Dyslexia Rhode Island along with Joanna Scocchi, said the chapter began out of necessity.

“It was just two moms meeting in crisis and needing to connect to keep our sanity,” she said.
Representative Eileen Naughton, a member of the Legislative Commission to Assess and Make Recommendation on the Educational Needs of Children with Dyslexia and/or Reading Disabilities, said nearly one in five students have dyslexia nationally.

She noted that with such a prevalent condition this country has seen an “action gap” in ensuring teachers receive proper training and students receive the tools they need for academic success.

“It is crucial for students that we ensure early detection and successful intervention,” she said. “Rhode Island students are indebted to Decoding Dyslexia.”
Dyslexia, as explained by Dr. Julie Wilson, one of the speakers, is a neurobiological learning disability. Most often dyslexia is associated with difficulty reading.
Nearly 8 million students in grades 4th through 12th struggle with reading according to Wilson and 32 percent of high school graduates aren’t prepared for a college level English composition course.
Those suffering from dyslexia have an issue with “phonological decoding,” connecting the sequence of printed letters to their corresponding sounds.
Part of the reason is because when children with dyslexia are reading a word they are using multiple areas of their brain. Brain function when discerning a word, “bounces around the brain like a pinball machine,” where others can quickly, almost instantaneously see a word using very little in comparison.

This is a reason many students dislike reading for pleasure because it’s “so much work trying to understand the words on the page.”
These students can see an improvement however with “intense and systematic instruction.”
Chris Brodeur, CEO of ACCESS! Education Consulting, said it is a parent’s responsibility to advocate for the proper instruction and education for their children with dyslexia.

ACCESS! believes that parents do know what is best for their children and hopes to empower them to be the best advocates for them. To be the best advocate, parents should learn about their children’s education day to day and be able to talk about it objectively.
“When kids have a learning difference school is hard for them academically, socially and emotionally,” she said. “Know when to ask for help. If a child breaks an arm or gets sick you wouldn’t feel bad about seeing a doctor because that’s not your expertise. So why would you feel guilty about making the wise choice to seek help in this situation.”

For more information on Decoding Dyslexia RI visit their Facebook page or their website at, www.decodingdyslexiari.org.

For more information on Rhode island Advocacy for Children visit, www.riadvocacyforchildren.org.

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Email. joanna@riadvocacyforchildren.org