…Reading must be at the forefront of our educational plan. Statistics tell us that Mississippi children confront a wide range of obstacles during their primary education. I know this challenge firsthand. As a child, I struggled with dyslexia and believed I was a failure until the fourth grade. I then had a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Henley, explain to me I simply did not see the letters on the page like other children. I had to practice my reading and work hard to keep up, but I had a desire to succeed. I did what was expected of me and soon began to see the world of the written word, and in doing so, learned to love reading. Thanks to the love of that wonderful teacher and the support of my parents, I have obtained three college degrees, have served as a professor of American government and have been honored with a successful career in public service. Reading is personal for me, and I want every child in Mississippi to have that same opportunity.

    The solution to this problem is complex and challenging. It would be easy to ask every parent to make certain their child has a proper eye exam. That should be done. But identifying and managing the complications of dyslexia is something we must confront. I would encourage teachers and parents, who believe a child is dyslexic, to seek assistance from the Mississippi Dyslexia Program at the Department of Education. Awareness of this learning disability can often help a teacher or parents understand their child’s difficulty in reading and spelling. As governor, I will work to improve our response to this challenge to success….

For the full address, click here.

DARE Comment:
While it is indeed crucial to identify and treat visual problems as they arise, we stress that dyslexia’s underlying cause lies more in the processing of auditory information. We refer to our statement here.

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DARE Trustee Antonia Canaris is concerned about the number of people who have appeared to be diagnosed and/or treated for Dyslexia via eye exercises, listening therapies, and related approaches.  DARE wishes to emphasise that dyslexia has been increasingly shown to be a cognitive/processing difficulty that is best remediated through targeted multi-sensory language approaches.

We wish to advise any interested readers of this Joint Statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Section on Ophthalmology, Council on Children with Disabilities; the American Academy of Ophthalmology; the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus; and the American Association of Certified Orthoptists, which was published in 2009.