Dyslexic Kids as Entrepreneurs and Innovators: A Guest Post from NoticeAbility

We’re excited to share this guest post from Christian Henry of NoticeAbility about the unique event held alongside the IDA conference in Connecticut this past October. NoticeAbility is a nonprofit dedicated to helping students with dyslexia identify their unique strengths and build self-esteem. The organization’s Entrepreneurs and Innovators workshop brought together kids with dyslexia from all over the country to showcase their talents in a “Shark Tank”-style format. Read about it in Christian’s post below and make sure to watch the video at the end. Take a close look and you’ll see former camper Virginia A.! And please check out NoticeAbility’s programs on their website!

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My daughter loved every aspect of school except for one thing: when she had to read at night, it was very stressful!" 

Here at NoticeAbility, we hear this from parents all the time. As a non-profit building online curriculum for dyslexic students, we are challenged by the fact that there are lots of good literacy interventions, but that even under the best circumstances, the self-esteem of students with dyslexia tends to be a casualty. How can we make a difference for these families who know their child is a great learner, whose strength is not— as so much of school demands—in the reading department? 

We offered 30 families a one-time offer: we'd show up at the International Dyslexia Association annual conference at the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut and present a condensed version of our Entrepreneurs & Innovators course—normally 10 weeks long— over just two days of the conference. Thanks to Susie, two Camp Spring Creek families drove hours to join in.

Our curriculum recognizes that dyslexics end up disproportionately in careers associated with entrepreneurship, the arts (music, movement, painting, sculpture), architecture and engineering. Since most middle school teachers are not versed in those areas, we make use of the 'blended classroom', with much of the content delivered in online videos with lots of scaffolding to keep a very low demand on our students to read and write just to absorb the material. Then the teacher facilitates small group project-based work, where students are identifying a problem, observing how it impacts people, asking how it might be solved, and then working up to presenting their business model in a public forum as a team. Throughout, students are being coached by their teacher, and through the course content, to find areas of confidence and ability (hence: Notice Ability, which is also a play on words: No Disability) that build their confidence, sense of self, and academic tenacity. 

What we re-discovered during the workshop was the same thing that you know as Camp Spring Creek families: our young dyslexic learners deserve the chance to recognize and exercise their strengths, to claim who they are, to feel great about learning and contributing, and that there is hope for how to make sure this community of support grows. Watch the video here to see parents and students react and reflect. We wish you time with family and great learning together in 2019!

Susie's Back-to-School Tips for Parents

Back-to-school can be a stressful time for student with dyslexia, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember that you are your child’s best advocate. Beyond that, your child is his or her own best advocate. Here are some tips for a successful start to the school year.

  • Do you have a psycho-educational evaluation for your child? If he or she is in public school, the school is required to provide it. If there’s too long a waiting period to see the school or district psychologist, you can provide an outside evaluation at your own expense. Contact me for recommendations. You should expect a 15-20 page-report specific to your child, and the psychologist should sit down and go over the report with you. I recommend that you take a friend with you to take notes as this can be at times an emotional meeting. It is best to share highlighted portions of the report with your child’s teacher. The teacher may be overwhelmed to read the report in its entirety, and if you highlight the key points that would help.


  • Put in the time in the beginning of the school year to introduce yourself to the teachers, specialists and psychologists who will be working with your child. Find out the best way to stay in touch with the teacher about your child: phone, email, in person?


  • Be assertive about your child’s needs, but also respectful of the teacher’s time and ask how you can be of assistance.


  • Advocate for multisensory education in your child’s classroom, additional time to complete tasks, and limited-timed tasks and projects broken down into chunks. Provide your child’s teacher with resources if he or she doesn’t know about multisensory education.


  • Remind your child to advocate for him/herself. By speaking up and getting needed help, other students in the class can benefit, too.


  • If you’re homeschooling, reach out to other homeschooling parents of kids with dyslexia to build a community of support.


  • Encourage your child to keep engaged in one activity that bolsters his or her confidence throughout the year. Do not overwhelm your child with too many activities but allow him/her to develop natural talents and interests


  • Continue to read aloud with your child every day! Alternate which of you reads aloud. If your child stumbles on a word, just provide the word with out ridicule or embarrassment.


  • Don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions or for advice during the school year. 

Talk Radio Just for Us: "Dyslexia Talk"

Dyslexia Training Institute is now offering a free, great resource easily accessible through your phone, computer, or iPod. Their Blog Talk Radio show, "Dyslexia Talk," is accessible here, with in-depth shows including everything from interviews to teacher spotlights. The have 14 episodes posted so far and we wanted to give them a "shout out" while there's still time to catch up on anything you've missed, and subscribe so you don't miss any more. According to their website, DTI's "mission is to provide education about dyslexia, interventions for dyslexia (Orton-Gillingham) as well as how to navigate the educational system by understanding Special Education Law." They offer online courses for parents, teachers, administrators, and more, and believe in bringing our broader LD and dyslexia communities together using all the advantages technology has to offer. cropped-Screen-shot-2014-09-25-at-8.32.23-PM

Video: Susie's Back to School Basics

Interested in more of our training videos, tutoring tips, and snapshots from camp? Subscribe to our YouTube channel on the right side bar, or click the Resources category (also at right) for the archive. Today, enjoy this new video from footage taken this summer as Susie addresses parents coming to pick up their children. Heading into the school year, it's helpful to hear these tips and supplement them with information from leading resource, Wrightslaw.


The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia

We'd like to bring our readers' attentions to a very inspiring, informative, enjoyable feature-length documentary, The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia. Chock-full of everything you'd expect from a dyslexia documentary, what makes this film stand out are the visual graphics, animations, and revealing backgrounds that help your average viewer see, if only for a moment, what the world might literally look like through the eyes of someone with dyslexia. The artwork alone is reason enough to watch this film, but the information and inspiring stories will likewise not soon be forgotten. According to the synopsis on their website, this film "provides personal and uplifting accounts of the dyslexic experience from children, experts and iconic leaders, such as Sir Richard Branson and financier Charles Schwab. Directed by James Redford, the film not only clears up the misconceptions about the condition, but also paints a picture of hope for all who struggle with it. Shining a spotlight on the latest scientific and psychological research, the film also highlights the work of Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz, co-founders and co-directors of the Yale Center of Dyslexia and Creativity to illuminate the hidden origins and implications of dyslexia. Proving that dyslexia is a neurological issue and not a character flaw, The Big Picture beautifully illustrates that while the condition is an obstacle, it also carries some unique advantages, and ultimately can be overcome." Here's the trailer, and if you're local you can come by our office and borrow a copy, or order one online for your own collection:


Parents & Students: Know Your Rights

We recently came across two helpful links regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act and the changes your child needs to know about when moving on to post-secondary school: First, check out this fact sheet from the Pacer Center, champions for children with disabilities across the spectrum: “It is crucial that students and their advocates become knowledgeable about their rights and responsibilities in post-secondary education because, although protections exist, the student has considerably more responsibility to request and design their own accommodations. And this responsibility is ongoing. For many students with disabilities, good self-advocacy skills will be key to success, and knowing your rights is one essential element of effective self-advocacy.” Read more and get empowered!

Second, please check out Wrights Law, founded by Peter Wright. Peter is dyslexic and, years ago, was actually tutored by Diana King. This summer, his grandson will be attending Camp Spring Creek. Look for an exclusive interview with Peter right here on this blog in the coming weeks. Meantime, check out the resources on his site.

Journey Into Dyslexia

MV5BMjE4NDEyMjE1M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjczNTk3Ng@@._V1_SX640_SY720_We can't recommend this HBO Documentary highly enough. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will change how you think about everything regarding dyslexia--right down to the very word we've chosen to talk about it. According to the film synopsis, "Oscar®-winning filmmakers Alan and Susan Raymond...visited innovative programs where dyslexic students learn to read and develop compensatory skills at schools throughout the U.S.  In talking with students from elementary grades to college, as well as teachers, researchers and thriving adults, the Raymonds reveal how dyslexia informs who they are and how they learn or teach, and explore the ways dyslexics develop different skills to navigate a world where standardization is the norm." You can read more here, view the trailer here, and order the DVD here. You won't be sorry! If you live locally, call us--we've got the DVD in our office library!