“Dyslexia” has been taken out of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), which is used by psychologists to diagnose specific learning disorders in “reading,” “written expression,” “math,” or other learning and processing disabilities.
Despite this, like several schools in the US, UK and beyond, we believe it is very important to keep the descriptor of “Dyslexia” as an umbrella term for our learners at Fraser Academy.
We serve children with language-based learning differences (LDs): children who have average to gifted intelligence, yet who have struggled persistently over time with reading, writing, spelling, and/or math in mainstream classrooms. All of the students who come to us meet this criteria, and although it may not be specified in their formal diagnosis, we consider them to have characteristics of dyslexia.
Dyslexia is empowering.
Dyslexia is a term of respect. For all children who are accepted to Fraser Academy, we have recognized that some aspect of their learning profile belongs under this umbrella.
There is a world-wide movement to recognize the strengths of people with dyslexia. Those with dyslexia are understood to be:
• leaders and social influencers
• innovators and entrepreneurs
• creative, original thinkers who take initiative
• complex problem-solvers, who are skilled at analytical thinking
• emotionally intelligent
• strong communicators, with superb reasoning skills
• brilliant with their visualization abilities and imagination
(EY: The Value of Dyslexia, 2018 & 2019 Reports)
The term “Dyslexia” helps the outside world understand a child’s potential. Sure, people with dyslexia may have difficulty with reading, writing, spelling, or math, but they are recognized to have amazing strengths in other areas. It is widely known that many famous, successful, and entrepreneurial people (like many of our parents!) are dyslexic.
An individual with dyslexia may have attendant learning difficulties such as weak working memory, slow processing speed, ADHD, difficulties with math or executive functioning. These are more prevalent in a dyslexic population, which is why you see specific programs that target these areas, not only at Fraser Academy, but also at other leading organizations who work with a dyslexic population, such as the International Dyslexia Association. We know that all of these learning difficulties are interrelated, and we are 100% committed to serving each child’s specific learning needs.
We are also invested in ensuring that the potential and strengths of children with dyslexia are valued and recognized in the greater community. Particularly when interacting with people who are not familiar with LDs, it can be confusing to explain the breadth of intricate cognitive profiles with which we work.
It is truly with great care and thoughtfulness that we choose to simplify our language, embracing “Dyslexia” as an umbrella term to describe our learners.
We hope, if you have not done so already, that you will find value in embracing the term “Dyslexia” too!
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions about positioning our students for success.
Together, by fostering understanding in the greater community, we can champion the strengths of the children we serve.
Head of School
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