Advocacy Outreach

YCDC’s Advocacy Work

We know a great deal about dyslexia, but that knowledge is not matched by a commitment from education leaders and policymakers to helping dyslexic individuals get the support they need. As Dr. Sally Shaywitz says, “We don’t have a knowledge gap, we have an action gap.”

The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity raises awareness and advocates for all children and adults with dyslexia. We educate parents and teachers and provide them with tools and resources to help those with dyslexia succeed. And we educate and advocate for policies and programs at the federal, state and local level that ensure individuals with dyslexia are diagnosed at an early age and receive the accommodations necessary to reach their full potential in school and throughout their lives.

The Center’s resources are used widely by parents, educators and those with dyslexia to spread the word about the need for greater recognition and support for dyslexic children and adults.

  • Check out the YCDC Advocacy Toolkit to find out how you can raise awareness in your school and community through events, social media outreach and other activities.
  • Take a look at YCDC’s “Guide to Talking About Dyslexia,” which will help you dispel myths about dyslexia and make the case for reform.
  • Sign up for our newsletter and get regular updates on efforts to improve policies that affect people with dyslexia.


Current Outreach

Dyslexia and the Reading Achievement Gap

Dyslexia likely is a significant reason for the persistent reading achievement gap in children from all backgrounds, especially low-income African-American and Hispanic children. Children with dyslexia who aren’t diagnosed often grow up thinking they are stupid and that school is not a place for them. As a consequence, they have higher rates of dropout, unemployment, anxiety and depression. Studies estimate that almost 50 percent of prison inmates have dyslexia even though we know that with the right interventions dyslexics can be leaders in any field.

A major focus of our work is building awareness about dyslexia in communities across the country and mobilizing grassroots efforts to narrow the reading achievement gap through screening, diagnosis and treatment of all dyslexic students.
YCDC advocates for:

  • Widespread screening and diagnosis of dyslexia in all schools, particularly in low- and middle-income communities where parents can’t afford expensive testing and tutoring for their children. Such measures are currently all but nonexistent in public schools.
  • Teacher education programs that provide training in identifying and supporting dyslexic students.
  • Consistent use of the word dyslexia when identifying and supporting those with the disability. Many school districts resist naming dyslexia as a specific disability, making it harder to identify and help dyslexic kids.

With dyslexia, we don’t have a knowledge gap; we have an action gap.

– Dr. Sally E. Shaywitz

A Panel of Library Media Specialists Bring Their Questions to Drs. Sally & Bennett Shaywitz

What can libraries do to help support dyslexic children and families? Leading dyslexia researchers, physicians, and co-directors of the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D. and Bennett A. Shaywitz, M.D. exchange ideas, questions and answers on the topic with library media specialists.

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