Dyslexia Awareness Month in Cobb County

Commissioner Lisa Cupid, Ericka Smith, and Dr. Scott Hamilton at the Board of Commissioners meeting at the reading of the Dyslexia Awareness Month proclamation.L-R, Commissioner Lisa Cupid, Ericka Smith, Dr. Scott Hamilton

The Cobb County Board of Commissioners proclaimed October Dyslexia Awareness Month at last Tuesday’s meeting.

The proclamation was presented by District 4 Commissioner Lisa Cupid.  Cupid said a conversation with Ericka Smith, the parent of a child with dyslexia, had moved her to put the proclamation forward.

Ericka Smith

Smith, in accepting a copy of the proclamation before the Board of Commissioners, said, “As a parent with a child that is dyslexic, I’m happy that we’re bringing awareness here.  There are a lot of things that I should have noticed early on or I could have noticed early on if I had the knowledge: rhyming, puzzles, things like that that you see that children do in preschool, and you think, ‘He just doesn’t want to do it’.”  But the more awareness that is brought to dyslexia, the more that you know, you can go out, get testing, do research, and help.  Also, it was something I wasn’t familiar with, other than writing backwards. But I’ve read now insane amount about it, and it has to do with the frontal lobe of the brain.  So I have a son that is very, very vocal, and very outgoing and it’s not what I would have thought prior to having a dyslexic child. So I’m just really glad that Commissioner Cupid and I got the opportunity to talk, and that we’re bringing awareness on this situation.”

Dr. Scott Hamilton

Dr. Scott Hamilton, a clinical psychologist and administrator at the Howard School was also on hand for the proclamation.  He said he thought the wording of the proclamation captured what students really struggle with.

“You’ve probably heard the word before, and hear dyslexia, and you immediately think about reversing letters or reading backwards, and that is one possible symptom of dyslexia,” he said.  “But dyslexia is broader than that.  It really just means difficulty reading, and our brains, as wonderful as they are, there is no such thing as a reading part of the brain.  Our brains are not naturally made to read.  We have to basically take parts of the brain that were designed for other things, and kind of coopt those parts of the brain to make them what enables us to read.  And some people can do that very easily, and for some people, it’s very, very difficult, and it has nothing to do with how smart they are or how hard they work or anything like that.  It’s just a process that takes some time to learn how to do.”

He said that identification and early intervention are the keys.  It’s important to intervene early rather than letting the students fail later, he said.

Dyslexia Awareness Month Proclamation

The proclamation, read by Cupid, stated:

Whereas dyslexia is a learning disability that affects approximately one in five Americans regardless of race, gender, age, or socioeconomic status, and,

Whereas, dyslexia is the result of a neurological difference occurring at all levels of intelligence and is not an intellectual disability, and,

Whereas, dyslexia affects the way the brain processes information and is characterized by difficulties with reading, writing, and spelling, memorizing, number facts, reading quickly enough to comprehend, trouble learning a foreign language, doing math operations correctly, putting things in order and following instructions despite normal intelligence.

And as persons with dyslexia must overcome challenges in school, work and personal growth, this learning difference can be made easier to overcome through early diagnosis and identification, along with support of family, friends, highly trained teachers, multi-sensory learning programs, and individualized instruction, and,

Whereas, we recognize that some individuals with dyslexia are gifted in learning and creativity, including notable historical figures that have changed the course of our world, and,,

Whereas, in an effort to help educate the public about dyslexia, and in an effort to support parents, teachers, and individuals with dyslexia, the International Dyslexia Association has designated October as Dyslexia Awareness Month.

Now, therefore, we the Cobb County Board of Commissioners do proclaim the month of October 2018 to be Dyslexia Awareness Month in Cobb County.

Watch the presentation of the proclamation