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Comal ISD Hosts Dyslexia Awareness Night

Renee Faulk, dyslexia interventionist at Rebecca Creek Elementary, Shelby Mazurek, fourth-grade student at Rebecca Creek Elementary; and Kathleen Mansfield, instructive technology coach for Comal ISD pose with a display for the Oct. 18 Dyslexia Awareness Night featuring all the technological tools which are used in the classroom and may be used at home as well.

Statistics indicate that four children per Comal ISD elementary classroom may present characteristics of dyslexia.

Receiving a diagnosis of dyslexia can be daunting for both parent and child, but tonight Comal ISD highlights success stories at its 2nd Annual Dyslexia Awareness Night from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight in the board room of the CISD Support Services building.

The event showcases projects submitted by elementary and middle school dyslexia students from across the district. This year’s theme is  “Navigating the Code.” Projects include paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, poetry or recorded musical performances.

The event is also a way for parents, students and the community to better understand dyslexia and see how CISD works with families and students who have been diagnosed.

“We want the community to be aware of the characteristics of dyslexia, the referral process and the strategies which help students struggling with dyslexia,” saidJennifer Johnson, the director of 504, dyslexia and PreK for CISD.  “Our dyslexia awareness night provides a perfect avenue to meet that goal.”

On average, 10 to 20 percent of the population is identified with dyslexia.

The state of Texas requires screening for dyslexia beginning at the end of the kindergarten year, and this is when CISD begins identifying students as well. Currently, the district employs 15 dyslexia teachers serving its elementary campuses with an additional teacher providing direct dyslexia service to each middle and high school campus.

“Many people experience anxiety when they hear that their child may have dyslexia,” Johnson says. “We hope by offering awareness events such as this one, we can help reduce the anxiety and replace it with hope.”

For the parents of second grader Sydney McKee, 8, who attends Timberwood Park Elementary School in Comal ISD, a dyslexia diagnosis at the end of Sydney’s first grade year, was a blessing in disguise.

“Having dyslexia is not a measure of intelligence,” says Vanessa McKee, Sydney’s mother. “It means that intervention is needed in order for success. I felt relieved knowing that Sydney was going to get the help she needed.”

With the help of the campus’ dyslexia teacher, Jolene McGarity, Sydney has learned tools to help her improve her reading, specifically a seven-step copying procedure which has helped her learn her spelling words, says her mom.

With the tools she has received, Sydney has become more confident and enjoys doing her homework instead of dreading it.

According to the International Dyslexia Association, “dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”


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