The Story of DyslexiaLand
DyslexiaLand is not just an imaginary place. I am a writer and the mother of a 17-year-old son with dyslexia. Since he started Kindergarten, I have spent uncountable hours, days, weeks, months, yes, years, stretching into more than a decade focused on helping him with his school struggles with reading, writing, spelling.
And have also celebrated his outstanding strengths as a person with a great heart, wonderful leadership qualities and amazing athletic abilities. Like so many kids with dyslexia he has a great time outside of the school day, and has had too many miserable times in the classroom.
Throughout our journey, I have written about dyslexia; advocated for him and other students with his learning style; and agonized over why it’s been like this for so very long—and what I could do about it.
My husband is The Trailmaster a hiking expert who spends a lot of time on the trail, both for health and fitness and research for his projects. One beautiful morning he was off for a hike, and I had a long day of meetings with school administrators. “Have fun out in the real world,” I said, “I’m stuck here in DyslexiaLand.”
We both looked at each other in amazement. Yes, that is it! DyslexiaLand feels like a separate place where so many of us live without a guidebook, a map or understanding the jargon used by gatekeepers who hold the future of our children in their hands.
Creating a map would be a way to visualize the swirl of dealing with dyslexia—and the bright pathway to success that understanding brings.
I began working with the brilliant graphic artist and expert mapmaker Helene Webb, and it took us more than a year of collaboration on the map of “DyslexiaLand.”
At about the same time I was working on “DyslexiaLand,” the Decoding Dyslexia grassroots movement was born in New Jersey, and it spread swiftly across the country. At the annual EdRev meeting in San Francisco, I met Deborah Lynam, one of the original members of DD-NJ. When I showed her my prototype, she encouraged me to continue working on it.
“DyslexiaLand” evolved into a small guide to help parents convey the positive aspects of dyslexia in discussions with educators and administrators. It also offers many positive suggestions about how to work together to help students with dyslexia in areas where they next extra support.
We all live in DyslexiaLand, only some of us know how to navigate!