October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

Did you know 1 to 5 people have dyslexia... this includes such famous names as: Agatha Christie, Channing Tatum, Cher, Henry Winkler, Jay Leno, Keanu Reeves, Kiera Knightly, Magic Johnson, Muhammad Ali, Richard Branson, Salma Hayek, Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Whoopi Goldberg, Winston Churchill. Someone you know and love?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) describes dyslexia as a brain-based learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read. Other definitions (e.g., First Step Act – § 3635International Dyslexia AssociationMayo Clinic) describe dyslexia in a similar way. The reading impairments associated with dyslexia are also unexpected in that individuals with dyslexia typically demonstrate otherwise typical intellectual functioning and developmental growth.

In preparation of Dyslexia Awareness Month, The Maine Department of Education Office of Special Services hosted a webinar with Dr. Nadine Gaab, an Associate Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Gaab’s work focuses on developmental cognitive neuroscience, particularly in language-based learning disabilities. Her research in the GaabLab examines the development of typical and atypical language and literacy skills in the pediatric brain and pre-markers of learning disabilities and the development of screening tools for screening literacy milestones and dyslexia. The Webinar was titled “Screening for Early Literacy Milestones, Dyslexia, & other Reading Disabilities: The WHY, WHEN, WHO, HOW and WHERE,” the recording is available here on the Maine DOE Office of Special Services Professional Learning Page.

Be watching for additional information and resources throughout the month of October.

For additional information please contact, Anne-Marie Adamson (anne-marie.adamson@maine.gov), Dee Saucier (danielle.m.saucier@maine.gov), or Tracy Whitlock (tracy.w.whitlock@maine.gov).