Lake County parents, lawmakers target dyslexia
Created: 2/19/2017

Original Post Date: October 23, 2013

October 22, 2013 By Kristy MacKaben, Special to the Tribune
Photo: Angela Baronello of Antioch and her children Evelyn, 3, and Lucas, 9, sit with Sen. Melinda Bush (right) to talk about dyslexia legislation. (Kristy MacKaben, Chicago Tribune)

Angela Baronello of Antioch and her children Evelyn, 3, and Lucas, 9, sit with Sen. Melinda Bush (right) to talk about dyslexia legislation.Kathi Keane of Grayslake says she’s been fighting for years to get help for her 10-year-old daughter Grace’s dyslexia.
By the end of the third grade, Grace was placed on an individualized education plan, but Keane said the interventions didn’t work.

“They didn’t want to recognize the dyslexia problem,” Keane said of her daughter, who’s now in fifth grade.

Dyslexics struggle with the mechanics of language and are unable to make the connections needed to decode words, according to advocates.

Keane and a group of about 20 other local parents have joined a burgeoning national movement—Decoding Dyslexia—which launched last year in New Jersey and has spread to 38 states. The mission is to pass legislation to secure more services for dyslexia and raise awareness of the learning disability, and a few Illinois legislators have joined the cause.

State Rep. JoAnn Osmond, a Gurnee Republican, and state Rep. Patricia Bellock, a Westmont Republican, filed a bill Oct. 15 requiring public schools provide screenings for kindergarteners who exhibit signs of dyslexia.

“According to my bill, at this point, every child would be checked in kindergarten if there are indications they might be dyslexic,” Osmond said, admitting she was unsure what funding would be needed to implement the programs required through the bill.

State Sen. Melinda Bush, a Grayslake Democrat, is expected to soon introduce a resolution declaring the first week of December “Dyslexia Awareness Week” in Illinois.

In January, Bush said, she’s also hoping to propose legislation to mandate school districts test students early for dyslexia.

“There’s not enough being done. I think there is a problem and I think we can do a better job of identifying dyslexia,” said Bush, explaining she wants to make sure she doesn’t create an unfunded mandate. “The important piece is making sure there’s early detection.”

Parents of children with dyslexia say if kids do not receive services early enough, they could fall behind for the rest of their school career.

“Schools don’t recognize dyslexia. I don’t really understand it,” said Angela Baronello of Antioch. “It’s not recognized in the school education code, even though it’s the most common learning disability.”

School officials say, however, they cannot diagnose dyslexia, and they can’t provide services unless students are found eligible in one of the 13 categories of learning disabilities in Illinois.

“Before students can receive services, they have to be found eligible,” said Ann Scully, director of student services for Antioch Community Consolidated School District 34.

If students are found eligible, an individualized education plan is developed.

“You’re looking at present level of functioning. Then you’re looking at specific needs. You’re looking at strengths and deficits,” Scully said. “It’s individualized and student-specific.”

Baronello said that about 20 percent of people in the United States have dyslexia—a language processing disorder, but the disability is often misunderstood and services are lacking.

Though Lucas showed signs in preschool of dyslexia — speech delay, trouble learning letters, unhappy at school – he wasn’t diagnosed until the end of first grade, his mother said. The Baronellos eventually sought out a neuropsychologist who determined Lucas was dyslexic.

“We were lucky his father and I were persistent. Many don’t find out what is going on until third or fourth grade when they are so far behind the school can’t ignore it anymore, or worse, they never find out,” Baronello said.

The problem in Illinois, parents say, is dyslexia is not listed as a learning disability in the education code. Instead, dyslexia is included under “specific learning disability” for understanding and using language, said Elizabeth Hanselman, the assistant superintendent of specialized instruction, nutrition and wellness for the Illinois State Board of Education.

“It’s not identified as a standalone disability,” Hanselman said. “It’s already counted in the category of specific learning disability.”

But parents want more.

Unless dyslexia is listed as a distinct learning disability, they say, it is difficult to get services for children who are dyslexic but high-functioning in other areas, which advocates say is often the case.

“Their brain is fully capable of learning. This is a very high-functioning brain,” said Lisa Stankus, director of Road to Learning, a Lake Zurich-based tutoring service specializing in helping children with dyslexia.

Stankus, a special education teacher, started the tutoring program in 2005 for students at Quentin Road Christian School in Lake Zurich. Because of demand in the area, the program was opened up a year later.

“These are incredibly bright people who have contributed to society for many, many years, but there is often a delay in their response when it comes to language,” Stankus said.

Dyslexic children are often gifted in other areas such as math, art or athletics, but have difficulty decoding language, advocates say.

“A lot of times students will take tests and they are 140 in math and 98 in reading and the schools will say they’re average and that they don’t need to provide anything,” said Ben Shifrin, member of the executive board for the International Dyslexia Association. “It’s very limited because it doesn’t fall under a handicap. Some people don’t believe in dyslexia.”

A regular education program in reading will not be effective, so special services are needed, Shifrin said. Early intervention can make a huge difference because children can be given learning accommodations, often using technology, and, eventually, the children will learn to adapt, he said.

“It’s not cheating,” Shifrin said. “It’s leveling the playing field.”

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8-Ball Billiards Tournament & Sports Memorabilia Silent Auction
Created: 2/19/2017

Original Post Date: October 17, 2013

8-Ball Tournament

Saturday, December 7th, beginning at 11am at The Arena Sports Grille, 630 W. Lake St., Elmhurst, IL

1st round best 2 of 3 games
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Adults 21 & over. $25 entry fee donation. Deadine December 3rd

Silent Auction 12-2pm
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To register, click on “make a donation”, enter $25, and type “Billiards registration” in the purpose/comment box.
Questions? Contact Howard @ 847 778-1824

Children’s Dyslexia Center of Metropolitan Chicago Recognition Dinner
Created: 2/19/2017

Original Post Date: July 15, 2013

Dinner Invitation

The Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago and the Board of Governors cordially invites you and your family to join us in the celebration of students’ and tutors’ accomplishments
Date: Thursday, August 1, 2013

Time: Buffet Dinner – 5 :30 p.m.
Awards Presentation – 7:00 p.m.

Place: Scottish Rite Cathedral
383E. Lake Street
Bloomingdale,Illinois 60108


By: July 26, 2013

This year’s reservations are online, just click on the link above.

Parents/Students/Tutors who plan to attend should register as a Scholarship & Learning Center Guest. There is no cost for these tickets. Participation is limited to Event Capacity

A confirmation ticket will be emailed to you. Please copy and bring on August 1st.

Created: 2/19/2017

Original Post Date: July 15, 2013

Dear Paula,

My son had his 4th grade biography speech today and he selected Leonardo da Vinci. See the comment below from his teacher. Thank you for everything you do!! I know his work at the center has helped him understand his challenges and he knows he will overcome them. Have a great summer break!

Your son’s speech was today – He told the class all about DaVinci and how he was dyslexic, just like him.  The first question from the class after he was done was, “What does that mean?”  He went on to explain to the class exactly what it is, how he has trouble learning, and how it has nothing to do with how smart you are.  Many  people that are dyslexic, he said, are often very smart.  The class asked me if that was true, and I told them that yes it was.  Your son went on to explain more about what learning is like for him.  The class was completely silent, and then applauded.

It was “one of those moments” that rarely happen, but when they do, make you smile.

4th Grade Teacher

A heart touching testimonial
Created: 2/19/2017

Original Post Date: June 16, 2013

Recently we have received a heart touching testimonial and would like to share it with you:

Dear Masons,
I’d like to start by telling you that I absolutely love this Dyslexia Center. The staff is always so friendly, and they make me feel special! I enjoy every minute I spend here. In the past two years I have learned a tremendous amount of skills that now help me to be a better student. (I have learned to love to read!!) I have grown close with my tutor and the director. I will miss them dearly when I go off to college next year. I appreciate all the time my tutor has spent helping me. I now feel confident that I will succeed in college and thereafter.
Thanks & have a Splendid Day!

(Name is not disclosed for privacy)


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