While dyslexia affects 20 percent of the U.S. population, many children with dyslexia lack access to the early screenings and interventions they need to be successful. The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity (YCDC) wants to change that – and its efforts are increasingly receiving bipartisan support in Congress.
The Hatcher Group teamed up with YCDC to host an event in Washington D.C. on Oct. 4, 2017 – “Overcoming Dyslexia: What it Takes to Succeed” – that highlighted the importance of early detection and raised awareness about dyslexia. The event drew a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and Representatives who each spoke about the need for action to support those with dyslexia and help close the reading achievement gap.
“This is an issue which is not partisan,” said Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), whose daughter is dyslexic and whose wife founded a charter school in Louisiana for dyslexic children.
Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) was among several Members of Congress at the event who said they wanted to work together to address the problem and praised Sen. Cassidy’s efforts to ensure dyslexia screening is provided in public schools. “It is a cause I would join him in working on in Congress,” she said.
The event, held at Ghibellina restaurant in Washington, D.C., also featured several highly successful dyslexics featured in YCDC’s book Dyslexia: Profiles of Success. Those speakers included Ari Gejdenson, founder of Mindful Restaurant Group in D.C., which owns Ghibellina; actor and author Ameer Baraka; Dr. Tyler Lucas, Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Metropolitan Hospital in New York, and Economist Diane Swonk. Each agreed that raising awareness about what it means to be dyslexic is critical.
Gejdenson said that while tasks like filling out forms may be challenging for him, “I am able to look at an abandoned street and tell you what type of restaurant or bar should go there. It’s not that we are less intelligent by any means. It is a different type of intelligence. And we have a different purpose…I hope that through these efforts that schools can become better places for minds like ours.”
The Hatcher Group provided full logistical and planning support for the event, including coordinating the event speakers, managing invitations and RSVPs, designing a presentation of profiles of prominent dyslexics and coordinating with the venue.