Established 2002

At the end of the 1999-2000 school year, when my son was in 2nd grade, I learned that he was dyslexic. This would account for his poor progress in reading, despite hundreds of dollars in Phonics materials, extensive tutoring…and, despite his apparent intelligence. I would learn that The Board of Ed labels his condition a (non-specific) Learning Disability, and that the public school system offers no programs, which address the dyslexic’s specific needs. Later, I would come to understand that dyslexia is not a disability at all, but rather a different way of information processing; a way that is simply not recognized, or understood, in standard teaching institutions. Furthermore, I would discover that alternative programs, from which dyslexics can benefit, are costly and thereby inaccessible to the average middle to low-income family. These were the factors in my decision to start this organization.

Nearly 1 in 4 school-aged children suffers from dyslexia and/or related language-based disorders. It can therefore be considered fairly common. Dyslexia is the predominant cause of reading, writing, and spelling difficulties, and has nothing to do with intelligence. In fact, dyslexic children are (1) most often of average to above average intelligence, and (2) characterized by the disparity between their learning potential and their actual academic performance. Considering statistics, it is very easy to deduce that dyslexia – language processing difficulties – may very well be the leading cause of illiteracy; a malady that still plagues our society.

Generally, families in low-income/low-performing school districts are less informed about their choices for a dyslexic child. Should they acquire the appropriate information, their finances will prevent them from fully taking advantage of their options. While there are several organizations in place that offer resources and guidance for parents, few if any, implement outreach programs: This means the parent must find them first, in order to benefit from their services. More importantly, there are NO institutions that assist financially in these processes. Costs can loom, easily, into the thousands per child, per year for proper intervention. Conclusion: The educational success of a dyslexic child can depend, almost solely, on his/her parents’ ability to pay.

Our overall mission is to help remove any obstacles that prevent these highly capable, highly creative children from flourishing in appropriate learning environments. We will do so by implementing the following:

• The Foundation will first launch an outreach program, targeting low-income/low performing school districts. The outreach is designed to locate children that meet our criteria* and help them to attain alternative or supplementary services that meet their educational needs.

• We will assist parents in the definition of suitable programs for their dyslexic child and/or link them with other organizations that specialize in the same.

• More uniquely, we plan to assist families in increments of up to $10,000 per family, per year. These funds may go towards psychological evaluations (for clarity in their child’s needs), legal fees, and/or tuition payments. This money is a grant to the family, and only that which may be reimbursed by the Board of Education, is repayable to the organization.

• We plan to work closely with schools, guidance counselors, public advocacy agencies, and The Board of Ed, on behalf of the children.

As The Foundation grows, our mission will broaden to include arts and education programs, as well as basic academic programs designed to meet the needs of the dyslexic child. These are long term goals. Until such time, it is our objective to direct parents and support them in accessing some of the wonderful resources that presently exist!