By Melanie Williams
“People who are dyslexic cannot read.” “People who are dyslexic cannot perform well in school.” “A child reversing their letters is a sure sign of dyslexia.” These are all common myths about dyslexia that the Multicultural Dyslexia Awareness Initiative (MDAI) wishes to dispel in an effort to raise awareness about the learning disability across all communities, including Latinos.
Dyslexia affects one in five people, and many people in Latino communities are often left undiagnosed and not offered the proper services, which is a trend the MDAI hopes to change.
The initiative was created by the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity to promote awareness of dyslexia to Latino and African American communities in an effort to eliminate these misconceptions and enhance understanding of the “hidden” disability. It is comprised of a team of Yale professors and volunteers who hold prominent positions in the community.
Dr. Sally Shaywitz, co-director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, said she hopes the MDAI, along with its national awareness campaign launching next month, will help educate the Latino community on the signs of dyslexia to lead to proper diagnoses and intervention.
“Somehow when [Latino] children have difficulties, it becomes so easy to say ‘Well, what do you expect?’, or they are sort of not paid attention to,” Shaywitz said. “So what we have created in this initiative, the MDAI, is to try and bring about knowledge and awareness to these two communities about what dyslexia is and how to recognize it…”