Across Canada, red lighting in buildings, red t-shirts, and red flags can be spotted in support of Mark it Read, the dyslexia awareness campaign. October is Dyslexia Awareness Month, and across North America there are many companies and institutions demonstrating their support. The Government of Canada recognizes Mark it Read as a health promotion month, with October 2023 marking its sixth anniversary. This year’s theme is Stronger Together, celebrating the support system people with dyslexia have created and demonstrating their pride.
For readers who may not know, dyslexia is a hereditary learning disability. The International Dyslexia Association describes dyslexia as “a specific 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. … Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.” These effects not only affect academic performance but can often leave people struggling with self-esteem.
Approximately, 10–20% of people are dyslexic and many people begin showing indicators as early as preschool. From research, Dyslexia Canada has found that the disorder is equally relevant across gender, age, and socioeconomic class. However, this statistic may be incorrect due to the difficulty of receiving a diagnosis and the portion of Canadians who struggle in silence.
Many readers are probably wondering “why red?” As explained by Dyslexia Canada, they chose red for this campaign to symbolize the red ink on students’ assignments. Since dyslexia impacts students’ ability to process and comprehend language, many of them struggle with school assignments. Therefore, the teacher’s red ink can represent the frustration of students with dyslexia with school assignments and tasks. This resentment branching from school can lead to isolation and frustration with themselves. By acknowledging that things like red ink can be very discouraging for those with dyslexia, we can create conversations about how to better support them.
Several students struggle with dyslexia and other learning disabilities on campus. The Meighen Centre, Mt. A’s support center for students with disabilities and other medical conditions, can aid students in their academic journey. Students registered with the Meighen Centre have access to essential accommodations such as testing accommodations, advocacy with Mt. A staff, assessments, counseling, note-takers and peer tutors.
There are numerous ways to demonstrate your support of people with dyslexia on campus, such as wearing red and listening to lived experiences. If any readers of The Argosy would like to learn more about dyslexia, they can visit the Dyslexia Canada website. Also, if students are struggling with dyslexia, or any other disability that affects their learning, they can reach out to the Meighen Centre at [email protected] or visiting the staff in the Meighen Centre, located on the third floor of the Student Centre, to inquire more information about academic accommodations.