In 2011, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Philip Schultz authored “My Dyslexia,” a frank and touching memoir of his childhood struggles. The book inspired many parents to seek help for their children.
But what about college students who suspect they have an undiagnosed learning disability? For many, seeking help can be a harrowing experience.
Georgann Mire is the founder of Mire Consulting, a Louisiana-based company that specializes in counseling and advocacy for dyslexic students. She is also on the board of directors for the Louisiana Branch of the International Dyslexia Association (www.interdys.org).
If you suspect that you may be dyslexic, is it important to get a diagnosis — even if you’re already in college?
Yes. There are so many ways dyslexic students can get derailed along the way, from final exams to certifications. Any assistance these students can get is going to help them.
Where can students receive a diagnosis?
A diagnosis can be expensive, somewhere around $1,200. This is a big problem, because often this testing stands in the way of a student receiving [his or her] civil rights. Some schools offer testing at their disability center. Some people are able to get tested through their state vocational rehabilitation agencies. If you have the money, a diagnosis is definitely worth it. On the International Dyslexia Association website, there is a screening tool to see if you are a candidate for testing.
Often, we think of dyslexia strictly as a deficit. Are there strengths that tend to be associated with it as well?
Absolutely. Kids with dyslexia are typically very creative and intuitive. Often, they are very mentally tough, as well, because they’ve had to navigate a lot of obstacles at school. Once they get into their own field, they often excel, because they naturally think outside of the box. They process language in a different way, so they give us a whole new perspective on the world.