It’s estimated that 15 to 20 percent of children struggle with dyslexia - a learning disorder characterized by difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and how they relate to letters and word recognition.
In the past, these children were sometimes considered slow or “stupid,” but we now know that dyslexia occurs in children with normal vision and intelligence but they may be held back simply because the condition sometimes goes undiagnosed for years.
That’s why we were excited to see that the state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of legislation requiring teachers to complete a course of study and undergo supervised practicum hours in the detection and recognition of students with the learning disability. The bill previously cleared the House of Representatives so it now moves to the desk of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who himself was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child.
And he’s not the only famous figure advocating for a better understanding of dyslexia.
Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Airlines, told The Huffington Post that his disability was “treated as a handicap” in school. However, the symptoms of the condition ― like slow reading, confusion with math and difficulty processing words ― are precisely what Branson says enabled him to build his business empire.
“Once freed from archaic schooling practices and preconceptions, my mind opened up,” he explained. “Out in the real world, my dyslexia became my massive advantage: it helped me to think creatively and laterally, and see solutions where others saw problems.”
He now advocates for support for kids with dyslexia - and that’s exactly what this bill aims to do.