Maine Recognizes Dyslexia Awareness Month

October 16, 2013

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, Oct. 16 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA – In an effort to raise awareness about dyslexia, Governor Paul R. LePage will join members of Project D.E.B.U.N.K., which provides educational resources, workshops and tutoring to children in Maine, at the Maine State Library at 10 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 21. The Governor has proclaimed October as Dyslexia Awareness Month.

Dyslexia, a language-based learning disability, refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. The International Dyslexia Association estimates that 15 to 20 percent of the population has a language-based learning disability, in which people have difficult spelling, writing, or mixing up similar words. Many individuals will not qualify for special education, but are likely to struggle with many aspects of academic learning without intervention.

“Dyslexia does not have to hold back anyone. With an early identification and evidence-based instruction, children and adults can lead very productive lives,” said Governor LePage.

Linda Goodness leads the organization Project D.E.B.U.N.K, which aims to improve the lives of dyslexic youth. The organization debunks myths still surrounding what dyslexia is not, and supports dyslexics through education, understanding, special group activities and tutoring.

“By providing educational awareness of dyslexia in our community, we can help people understand what it is, what it is not, and share how people with dyslexia can reach their goals and lead successful lives,” she said. “Our organization does a variety of activities that engage individuals, families and communities, including workshops, tutoring, and hosting Decoding Dyslexia-ME, a parent-led grassroots movement working to make changes for our dyslexic students in Maine.”

For more information about Project D.E.B.U.N.K, you can visit http://www.dyslexiamaine.com.

The proclamation language is as follows:

WHEREAS, Dyslexic men, women, and children experience difficulties in learning to read, write, spell and in some cases, to use numbers because of a neurological, genetically-based learning difference; and

WHEREAS, the symptoms of Dyslexia include a delay in spoken language development, difficulties with concepts of sequence, time, and space, and is characterized by difficulty with learning to read fluently and with accurate comprehension despite normal intelligence; and

WHEREAS, Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in children and persists throughout life with 20 percent of the population or one out of every 5 people in the United States; and

WHEREAS, when Dyslexia is not identified early, the emotional and social cost to the individuals and the economic cost to society are significant; and

WHEREAS, children with untreated dyslexia suffer devastating personal consequences as it is the primary reason teenagers drop out of school, is a contributing factor to juvenile delinquency, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide and can lead to adults unable to achieve at their fullest capacity; and

WHEREAS, Dyslexia is identifiable with over 90 percent certainty in children ages five and one-half to six and one-half; and

WHEREAS, proper diagnosis, early and appropriate intervention and support from family, teachers and friends will greatly increase a child’s academic success and self-esteem, however it is never too late for adults with dyslexia to learn to read, process and express information more efficiently; and

WHEREAS, children with dyslexia who are identified as dyslexic and provided with effective, scientifically proven reading instruction in kindergarten and first grade, will have significantly fewer problems learning to read at grade-level than children who are not identified as dyslexic or provided help until third grade or later; and

WHEREAS, Dyslexia affected some of the world’s most famous artists, innovators and leaders, including Lewiston born actor Patrick Dempsey and Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, the forty-first Vice President of the United States, and born in Bar Harbor, Maine; and

WHEREAS, October is National Dyslexia Awareness Month, reminding students and their parents that difficulties encountered in living with dyslexia can be overcome with early intervention and proper support which can lead to successes in adulthood; and

WHEREAS, during the month of October conferences are held around the United States promoting awareness, research, and early identification of dyslexia.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, PAUL R. LEPAGE, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby proclaim October, 2013 as
DYSLEXIA AWARENESS MONTH
throughout the State of Maine, and urge all citizens to recognize this observance.