Decoding Dyslexia movement gains momentum in Michigan

Local parents are pushing for more awareness and policy changes for Dyslexic children.

Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities in the country. One in five people has it.

"Dyslexia is a processing disorder within the brain," said Shawn Collick, whose daughter has Dyslexia. "They use their brain differently to read and understand and that's what takes them longer". Shawn's daughter, Katlin, was diagnosed in first grade. "It was really frustrating," Katlin said. "I felt like I was stupid". Fifteen to twenty minutes of homework would take Katlin close to one hour. In that hour, she was in tears several times. Katlin doesn't qualify for special education, but she needs help. She has a 504 Plan that allows her to take more time on tests. That gap between special education and typical students is where it gets difficult. That's where Decoding Dyslexia comes in. It's a grassroots movement that is now in 40 states. Shawn and Pam Masiewicz are part of the effort here in Michigan. "I want awareness, I want Dyslexia on the books," Masiewicz said. "It's the most commonly researched learning disability, yet we don't recognize it in schools". School districts have a multi-tier plan to help students who struggle with reading. "When students don't make progress there are additional inteventions or programs," Greilic said. "It may be an extra 15 minutes a day in a small group, or an extra 20 minutes one on one". However, the plan doesn't single Dyslexia out. That is what mothers like Collick and Masiewicz want. "Unfortunately, most teachers are really not fully versed in what Dyslexia is," Collick said. "Most of them do what they can, but if you don't teach them phonetics and how to break things apart, it doesn't work". As her mother works for change in the perception and requirements of her daughter's disability, Katlin is enjoying learning about some of America's most innovative people, and what she has in common with them. "I learned that I'm different and that makes me special," Katlin said. "Everyone is different and everyone is special because of it". Both Collick and Masiewicz would like to see the phonetics-based Orton-Gillingham Methon used in schools. They would also like an early detection program in schools.