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Early Intervention Is Key to Bridging the Gap for People with Dyslexia

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Early intervention is key to bridging the gap for people with dyslexia.

Dyslexia Awareness Month aims to drive awareness and understanding to support the 20 percent of Canadian children living with dyslexia.

Vancouver, BC (October 3, 2023) – In honour of October’s Dyslexia Awareness Month, Fraser Academy, a recognized leader in education and dyslexia, is doing its part to raise awareness of, and help society better understand dyslexia. With the new school year underway, now is the time to think about early screening for your child if they are experiencing challenges with reading or writing at home or at school.

Dyslexia affects up to 20% of Canadians, 80% of whom go undiagnosed, meaning that they often live without access to adequate support.

For more than 40 years, Fraser Academy has served a vital community need with its unparalleled approach to education, teaching, and training for educators and is on the exciting journey toward becoming Canada’s leading Centre for Dyslexia, with the first purpose-built facility dedicated to advancing education for students with dyslexia and training for all who serve them.

“We know that when children and youth have access to the right supports for their educational journey, growth and opportunities that once felt out of reach, become a tangible reality,” said Neil Johnston, CEO of Fraser Academy Association and Canada’s future Centre for Dyslexia. “Early identification and intervention are the first steps in bridging the gap for those with dyslexia. With the right teaching and resources, we can help shift the paradigm from anxiety, stress, and survival to excitement and possibility for students with dyslexia.”

This was the case for Fraser Academy alumni Adam Manji, who will be attending the American International College (AIC) in 2024. Adam is currently a top goaltender in the B.C. Hockey League (BCHL) and will continue his hockey career at AIC as an NCAA Division 1 netminder in the 2024-2025 season. Adam was in Grade 10 and in need of greater academic support when he started attending Fraser Academy. It was there that he received the dedicated support he needed and saw his confidence rise, benefiting him both on and off the ice.

“When I came to Fraser Academy, the teachers really took the time to understand how I learn and the ways I needed information provided to me so that I could really grasp concepts,” said Adam. “They also taught me that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you never give up. The same is true in hockey, you have to keep your head up and keep moving forward.”

The importance of early intervention:

  • Ages four to seven is a critical window of opportunity for teaching children foundational word-reading skills and is when intervention will be most effective.
    Students unable to read words accurately and fluently will find it more difficult to understand and make meaning from what they read.
  • While dyslexia is a lifelong learning disability, early intervention can help a student keep up and succeed in school, minimizing negative effects such as low self-esteem, and not being motivated to learn.
  • According to Decoding Dyslexia, 40% of students with learning differences, including many with dyslexia, experience mental health issues including anxiety and depression and people with “learning limitations,” including dyslexia, experience under-employment and unemployment at a much higher rate and thereby experience poverty.
  • Up to 20% of the population has dyslexia and 80% will never know. With early screening and intervention, including a science-based approach to reading instruction, research predicts that only 5% of students would remain below grade-level in reading.
  • “There is a unique opportunity before us and together we can and must do more to serve and reach the 20% of children with dyslexia. We are committed to leading change in Canada. We exist to build bridges and connect the gaps in society that are caused by the systemic marginalization of not addressing dyslexia. We transform educational journeys, and ultimately change lives,” adds Johnston.

You can find more information and resources about dyslexia and language-based learning differences on our website here.