Mayor Proclaims October “Dyslexia Awareness Month”

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Office of Mayor Max A. Townson

CULLMAN – On Monday, October 19, 2015, Cullman Mayor Max A. Townson officially proclaimed the month of October 2015 “Dyslexia Awareness Month” in the City of Cullman. On hand to accept the proclamation from Mayor Townson were Heather Gudger and April Metrock. Mrs. Gudger and Mrs. Metrock are concerned parents who seek to help increase awareness of dyslexia because early diagnosis and specialized teaching methods can help students with dyslexia overcome their struggles with learning to read and write.
 
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that is highly prevalent, affecting one of five individuals in some form and crossing all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines. It is characterized by difficulties with word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities. Early diagnosis of dyslexia is critical, and specialized multisensory instruction by highly-trained teachers is vital for the students’ success in the classroom, and for their future success in employment.
 
The Cullman City Board of Education has recently implemented ongoing dyslexia-specific professional development for teachers and other educational personnel, as per the Alabama State Board of Education’s amendment to the Alabama Administrative Code 290-3-1.01(20). The amendment requires that students be screened for dyslexia and then given appropriate intervention, access to assistive technology, and accommodations in the general school population without the need for special education certification.
 
“If young people are not diagnosed early, and if special teaching methods are not utilized, the educational implications can last a lifetime,” said Mayor Townson. “That’s why the City of Cullman fully supports our city school system in pursuing specialized dyslexia training for teachers and in providing educational programs that help ensure the success of students with dyslexia.”
 
In the Fiscal Year 2016 budget, the City of Cullman approved an appropriation of $25,000 to Cullman City Schools to assist with the training of teachers and educational staff in specialized teaching methods for students with dyslexia.
 
“Our young people are the future of our community, our state, and our nation,” added Mayor Townson. “We owe it to them to give them access to the very best education possible, and our city school system takes pride in doing just that!”
 
More Information
The Alabama International Dyslexia Association website, idaalabama.org, and the Decoding Dyslexia Alabama website, decodingdyslexiaala.com, contain information on dyslexia symptoms, research, education, and advocacy. The Alabama Dyslexia Resource Guide, available for download on the Alabama State Department of Education website alsde.edu, contains information and resources to assist educators, administrations, and parents or guardians as they provide dyslexia-specific services and support for students in Alabama’s public schools.