According to Ann Lupiani Kaczka, Director of the Children’s Dyslexia Center, up to one in five people could be affected by dyslexia symptoms. The center offers tutoring free of charge to help combat symptoms associated with the condition, usually manifested in things like words or letters on a page mixing around, or difficulty manipulating sounds.
“Kids who have been through this program have made gains they would never have seen otherwise,” says Kaczka. Since opening in the late 1990s, Kaczka says they’ve treated over 350 people, using Orton-Gillingham approaches. These methods, developed in the 1920s, use a sequential, multisensory phonetic approach. A variety of sensory data is then used to aid children in understanding written words. The center also certifies school teachers to become tutors.
Yet, the old board decided not to do any more fundraising for the non-profit, leaving the center with an uncertain future. But a new panel was announced this week. Unless the new board is successful at fundraising to keep this organization going, on August 31, The Children’s Dyslexia Center could close their doors for good. “So we managed to at least construct a new board, now, you know, we can try to do the next thing which is to raise money,” says Kaczka.
Lara Schuler’s son gets assistance at the center. “It was really just…it was a game changer for us,” she says.
People with dyslexic issues do receive treatment at other centers in the region. Suzanne Johnston with Speech and Communication Services, says the diagnosis of dyslexia has changed over the years, and schools have been doing better jobs at helping students with that condition. “We’re not only getting better as diagnosticians, but we’re also getting better at treating the whole child,” says Johnston.
Yet, Kaczka still sees a critically important need for the treatment methods unique to the children’s center. “There isn’t any program like this.”