Yale honors congressional champions for dyslexia

The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity will honor two congressional champions for the reading disorder with an inaugural award recognizing extraordinary accomplishments on behalf of the one in five children and adults who are dyslexic.

Congressmen Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Pete Stark (D-CA) stepped up to the plate; putting aside any political divisions to co-found the bipartisan Congressional Dyslexia Caucus in February 2012, noted the Yale center’s co-directors Dr. Sally Shaywitz and Dr. Bennett Shaywitz.

“We created an award to honor individuals who are not dyslexic, but who are making a visible difference in the lives of those who suffer from this hidden disability,” said Dr. Sally Shaywitz, the Audrey G. Ratner Professor in Learning Development in the Yale University School of Medicine.

“The efforts of Cassidy and Stark are an extraordinarily courageous and pro-active movement forward in the battle to address dyslexia,” said Shaywitz. “Each congressman is the parent of a child with dyslexia and has a deep understanding of the impact of the disorder on a child and on a family and the pain it often brings with it.” 

Although dyslexia was first described over a century ago, it was not until Cassidy and Stark created the caucus that it has gained the support of Congress. Through their efforts there are now 40 members of Congress who have joined the caucus to advocate for dyslexic children and adults at the federal level for much-needed reforms in education and for accommodations on high-stakes gate-keeping tests.

“On behalf of the one in five who are dyslexic, their parents and the nation that needs their contribution, we salute and thank Congressman Bill Cassidy and Congressman Pete Stark, through whose efforts dyslexic children and adults now finally have a strong voice in Congress,” said Shaywitz.