Dyslexia 101 Symposium Brings Educators, Parents to Webster University

Oct. 11, 2019

Dyslexia 101 at Webster University
Dyslexia 101 brought teachers and parents to Webster University's Luhr Building to learn about classroom resources, reading programs, and accessing special education.

More than 100 people came to Webster University's Luhr Building Thursday night as the School of Education hosted a "Dyslexia 101" symposium, a panel presentation and question-and-answer session for parents and education professionals.

Literacy is one of the biggest predictors of quality of life outcomes, so early identification and intervention for students with dyslexia has a significant impact on their education and opportunities throughout life. 

Dyslexia relates to how the brain processes reading. While most people read from the left hemisphere of the brain, those with dyslexia read from the right. Those identified with dyslexia tend to be very innovative and creative -- in fact, many CEOs are dyslexic -- but access to resources early on can be critical to their reading levels as young students. 

In fact, students who are identified and receive intervention and resources between K through first grade can eventually become normal level readers, says Paula Witkowski, associate professor and coordinator of the MAT in Elementary Education program in the Webster University School of Education. However, those not identified until third or fourth grade may require at least an hour of specialized teaching resources per day for the rest of their academic career.

Webster's School of Education offers an MA in Special Education with an emphasis in Dyslexia.

Among the presenters at Webster on Thursday:

  • Mark Borella, founder of Seeds of Happiness and local artist, who shared his experience as a student with dyslexia.
  • Mary Kaeser-Miller and Sarah Bartley from Dyslexia St. Louis: Learning & Advocacy Center
  • Kim Stuckey, dyslexia specialist, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Topics covered included the definition of dyslexia, warning signs, components of an effective reading program based on the science of reading, how to help students in a classroom setting, and how parents can access the special education process.

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