Spring Branch ISD Featured News

SBISD Shines a Spotlight on Dyslexia Awareness Month


Imagine being faced with an open book, its pages filled with words that appear overwhelming and daunting. The challenge of deciphering these words seems insurmountable as you come across unfamiliar letters that demand your undivided attention.


Thoughts race through your mind as you question your knowledge of individual letters and their corresponding sounds. Should you combine these sounds to form words, or is it merely a matter of piecing together the letters? Meanwhile, your peers effortlessly tackle this task, leaving you perplexed and wondering why you struggle while they effortlessly read.

Alternatively, picture your teacher asking you to write about your favorite memory. In conversation, you could effortlessly recount the details to your friend, but now you face the daunting task of putting it all down on paper. Doubts arise as you ponder whether you can find alternative words with fewer sounds than birthday to avoid grappling with unfamiliar letters or sounds while trying to spell it out. You know that birthday begins with the letter b, but the specific orientation of the letter is not clear, leading to further uncertainty.

While no one can fully appreciate what it’s like to be a student with dyslexia, the examples above provide a little insight into the inner dialogue a student with dyslexia or related disorders may be having with themselves. Dyslexia manifests itself differently in every student who is diagnosed with a reading disability. Not all students with dyslexia have these inner conversations with themselves, but some may.   

Awareness is the starting point 

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month, a reminder of the importance of understanding, support and equitable opportunities available for educational success. To learn more about the Dyslexia Services provided by SBISD, visit the department website.

“The month of October allows us to educate our community on the common characteristics, experience what having dyslexia feels like, and help us learn how we can all work together to support these extraordinary students,” Aissa Painter, Dyslexia Coordinator, said. Parents play a crucial role in supporting their children with dyslexia. They can do so by accepting that their child has unique learning needs and that small steps can bring big improvements. 

“My hope for dyslexia awareness is that our community, teachers, students, caregivers, and parents will become knowledgeable not only about the difficulties that dyslexic students experience but also understand how fantastic our students genuinely are,” said Painter.   

Students with dyslexia need to experience language in a multi-sensory way.  That means allowing students to say the sounds and names of the letters while writing them, listening to the sounds in a word, breaking it apart, and putting it back together to spell.  These opportunities allow students to take in new learning through multiple senses. 

“Despite having this disability, our students can learn with the proper intervention and opportunities.  In the end, their successes shine through!  We hope to inspire our students as well, not because we can cure them but because we can empower them to become lifelong learners despite their disabilities.” 

Overcome. Empower. Forge. 

“The mission statement for our dyslexia team in Spring Branch ISD says it perfectly: We believe our students embrace their abilities to overcome challenges, empower growth, and forge strengths,” Painter said. 

SBISD is committed to further assisting families facing dyslexia and will organize a dyslexia simulation event later this month. This event welcomes parents, caregivers, and community members who wish to expand their knowledge about dyslexia and to learn how to support their loved ones. Further details about this event will be announced soon.

For more information, visit the SBISD dyslexia website.  


So, what is dyslexia?  

Dyslexia is a specific, lifelong learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from deficits in phonological components of language that are often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.

Secondary consequences may include problems with reading comprehension and reduced reading experience, which can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. This definition was adopted by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) Board of Directors in 2002.

Dyslexia is not a disease.  

One in five people have dyslexia, whether diagnosed or not. Dyslexia can run in families and exist on a continuum of severity. Some individuals might have mild forms of dyslexia, while others may have more severe cases and have difficulty decoding even basic words. One of the most difficult tasks is to identify exactly where a breakdown in language occurs. It may be phonological (speech sounds), orthographic (writing/spelling), semantic (vocabulary), syntactic (sentences/grammar), or discourse (organization of words through speech). It could be a combination of any of these.

Individuals with dyslexia may have other related reading and learning disabilities. These may include dysgraphia (written expression)*, dyscalculia (math)*, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (attention), executive function disorder (organization), dyspraxia (motor skills)*, developmental language comprehension disorder, and nonverbal learning disorders (IDA,2019).

Dyslexia is not curable, but with coping strategies provided by dyslexia specialists and assists from families at home, most people with dyslexia grow up to be remarkable problem solvers and thinkers. They learn, better than most, to ‘think outside the box.’ 

For those seeking the Dyslexia handbook, additional information, and resources, please visit the SBISD Dyslexia website.