NORTH CHESTERFIELD, Va. –– Dyslexia awareness will take center stage as Riverside School administrators, students and parents visit the State Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 30. as a part of Decoding Dyslexia Virginia (DDVA) Advocacy Day 2018. The aim is to provide information and lobby on behalf of the oft-misunderstood learning dynamic called dyslexia, a mission that is at Riverside’s core.
Riverside, an independent, private day school, is dedicated to providing a teaching approach designed to meet the educational needs of students with dyslexia and similar language-based differences in kindergarten through eighth grade.
The goal is for members of the Riverside community and citizens alike to visit legislators in their offices at the Pocahontas Building and educate them on dyslexia and its effects. The day will include story sharing and information distribution in order to direct public servants’ attention to the almost one in five Virginians that are affected by dyslexia. Timing-wise, the visit is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but attendees are not required to be present the entire time.
In addition to being on hand to provide materials and share student success stories with state representatives, the goal is to ask legislators in decision-making roles to co-sponsor bills in support of education efforts that will affect dyslexic kids. (For those unsure of their representative’s name, please visit: www.virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/members/members.php.)
School officials and citizens as a whole, particularly those affected by dyslexia in some way, are being encouraged to set up a time with their respective legislator to discuss the issue. One of the ultimate goals is to enable schools throughout the commonwealth to supply resources, as well as active, continuing education and support to students who are dyslexic.
Contacting a legislator who has prior knowledge of dyslexia is important, but not a requirement. A presence and willingness to share insights about dyslexia, as well as clearing up any misconceptions about kids dealing with the learning challenge, is always helpful in getting legislation passed.
The formal Dyslexia Advocacy Day is now in its fifth year in Virginia. All told, the visit to the State Capitol represents a win-win for everyone involved, though there is undoubtedly strength in numbers at the meetings.
“Having been a presence at the State Capitol in the past, our kids learn valuable lessons about how government works,” says Hal Waller, the Head of School at Riverside. “At the same time, as we share research and put a name and face with dyslexia, the impact on legislators is a real eye-opener for some of them. We’ve certainly found that there is value in being a presence in front of decision-makers.”
In addition to Riverside, other school officials that are focused on helping dyslexic kids learn and grow will be on hand. Further, teachers, administrators and parents will be present share some suggestions on areas to focus on moving forward.
In preparation, on Jan. 29, there will be a gathering a Capital Ale House (623 East Main Street, Richmond, Va. 23219, 804-780-2537) for individuals to socialize and find out more about the next day’s advocacy work.
Additional information, registration and a link to track bills being introduced are available at: https://decodingdyslexiava.wordpress.com/2017/12/18/ddva-dyslexia-advocacy-day-2018/. Interested individuals are also encouraged to visit the Virginia General Assembly’s website at: http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/ to track bills, meetings and find a list of legislators.
ABOUT RIVERSIDE SCHOOL
Riverside School is an independent day school located in Richmond, Va., dedicated to providing a teaching approach designed to meet the educational needs of students in grades K-8 with dyslexia and similar language-based differences. Small classes, individualized curriculum, one-on-one instruction, and a nurturing environment are all hallmarks of Riverside School.