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For many students, reading and writing comes naturally. However, it takes a tremendous amount of effort for those with dyslexia.

“People with dyslexia struggle to sound out words. It’s very hard for them to do what’s called ‘decode’. There’s a region in the brain that’s responsible for associating the letter with the sound, and the area of the brain is different in people with dyslexia, and so it takes a long time for dyslexics to get ingrained in their brain so it comes automatically,” explains Dr. Karen Kreiling.

Dr. Karen Kreiling, a pediatrician and parent of three dyslexic children, co-founded the Dyslexia Action Group of Naperville to help other families dealing with the condition.

“Our two main goals are to educate parents and schools, and to provide support for families struggling with dyslexia,” said Dr. Kreiling.

The group has made all the difference for James, a sixth grader at Washington Junior High, by connecting him and his family with resources like technology to help him overcome his difficulties.

“I’ve always wanted to read a chapter book, but the only way to do it is with Learning Ally or Audible. Audible and Learning Ally can be downloaded on the computer or the iPad,” said James.

James uses both programs on his District 203 Chromebook, which is one of the ways the school district adapts education for those with a learning disability like dyslexia.

“We have to think about each and every kid as an individual, and really kind of focus in on what are those needs for that particular student,” said Dr. Christine Igoe, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services for District 203.

And discovering those need should be done sooner rather than later.

“There’s a lot of data that early intervention makes a big difference and the remediation of reading goes a lot better if you start it at early age,” said Dr. Kreiling.

For James, reading and writing may continue to be a challenge, but he doesn’t let his dyslexia define him.

“There are some strengths and some weaknesses, but overall, you’re the same as everyone else,” said James.

Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.


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