National Dyslexia Awareness Month is about knowing the signs and getting tested

Updated: Oct. 4, 2019 at 5:50 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - October is National Dyslexia Awareness Month. One in five people has dyslexia, which is a language-based learning disability.

According to the Dyslexia Center of Utah, 70-80% of people with poor reading skills are likely dyslexic.

Donna Garget is a working mom and wife in Wilmington, but she also has dyslexia.

“It was a really hard experience,” said Donna. “I grew up feeling less-than and I knew there was something wrong with me, I just didn’t know what it was."

Donna was 22-years-old when she discovered she had dyslexia. She hit a wall in college and after watching the episode on The Cosby Show where they discussed dyslexia, she said it hit home so she decided to get tested.

“It was a big relief to get tested and to understand that there was a name attached to that struggle,” said Donna.

Donna’s two, youg daughters also have dyslexia. That’s what sparked Donna to start a non-profit to help others with dyslexia and to bring awareness to the Wilmington community. Blank Canvas Awareness Art helps those struggling with dyslexia, ADD and ADHD through creative solutions.

“It’s really a language-based issue and I think that’s the piece people really struggle to grasp," said Donna. “The first thing that people connect with is having those reversals and that’s just one piece of the puzzle when there’s a lot of different areas that are effect by dyslexia.”

Dyslexia can impact a student’s learning in every part of a classroom and it can even affect adults in the workplace in areas including:

  • Writing: not being able to find the right word, difficulty getting ideas on paper.
  • Listening: distracting background noises, problems taking notes.
  • Spelling: similar sounds causing confusion, can’t remember what words look like.
  • Reading: needing to constantly re-read, moving or overlapping text.
  • Motor control: handwriting difficulties, difficulty copying.
  • Memory difficulties: dates, phone numbers, alphabet.
  • Spatial: left/right confusion, easily getting lost.

A child can get tested for dyslexia as young as five-years-old. The earlier it’s caught, the better their lives can be in the future.

Blank Canvas is hosting an event on Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Northeast Library in Wilmington from 10 a.m. until noon. The event will feature a comic designed by a UNCW student, Phonetic Boy. It features Blank Canvas and helps connect kids with their challenges and also celebrates their strengths.

“A lot of times people with dyslexia have big ideas or they’re creative," said Donna. "I know my daughter has a huge imagination. It really doesn’t affect their IQ. A lot of times they’re average IQ or above IQ and so that’s something to really celebrate. People with dyslexia are also great problem solvers and they really grasp the big picture of thinking.”

Bright Minds Tutoring and Blank Canvas Awareness Art are teaming up to offer a specialized summer camp in Wilmington this year for those with language-based learning disabilities.

Click here to read the Presidental Message on this year’s Dyslexia Awareness Month.

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