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Overcoming Dyslexia NJ: A New Model of Grass Roots Power and Persuasion

Categories: Learning Disabilities, Parenting, Public Policy/Advocacy

By Doug Sprei, National Director of Communications Learning Ally jumped at a chance to meet the founding members of Overcoming Dyslexia in NJ -- a grassroots movement driven by New Jersey families who want to change the state of limited access to educational interventions for kids with learning disabilities within our public schools and communities. Overcoming Dyslexia in NJ is part of a remarkable national wave of parent-driven energy that is sparking awareness and pushing hard for public policy changes -- and an institutionalized attitude shift paving the way for resources that students with learning differences need most. Overcoming Dyslexia in NJ founding members met in Mercer County for their inaugural meeting
Left to right:  Andy Kavulich, Donna Cosgrove, Kathy MacCausland, Kathy Sullivan, Deborah Lynam, Cheryl Evoy, Jeanne Michael, and Liz Barnes.
The group had its first formal meeting on November 14 in Mercer County with parents from Camden, Burlington, Hunterdon, Ocean and Mercer Counties attending. Group moderator Deborah Lynam says, "We are looking to build a coalition of families, raise dyslexia awareness and ultimately foster effective legislation to increase student literacy achievement in New Jersey." The group is rapidly getting tooled up in social media with a view toward building up its base around the state.  In the early going, Lynam says, they look forward to opportunities to share insights and stories with members of the recently created New Jersey Reading Disabilities Task Force, and hope to support them in making strong recommendations to state legislators on what is needed to strengthen literacy instruction in New Jersey schools. It's a safe bet you'll be hearing a lot more from this group and others like it in the near future. When it comes to instilling systemic changes for kids with learning differences, there is no more persuasive force than the sheer energy of parents who have a personal stake in the game. - Doug Sprei