Charmaine Cardin hopes for the community’s support to raise awareness during Dyslexia Awareness month. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Proper support lacking for those with dyslexia, says Cowichan mom

October is International Dyslexia Awareness month

“Every time I hand this to somebody, I’m assuming you can read,” Charmaine Cardin said as she handed over a package of material. “Isn’t that interesting? I think we all just assume that because we think reading is just as natural as speaking and it’s not. It’s proven that it’s a taught thing, a learned thing.”

Dyslexia Awareness crusader Charmaine Cardin stopped by the Citizen recently to drop off some documents related to International Dyslexia Awareness Month.

Cardin, an early childhood educator by trade, has only learned all about the dyslexia over the last two years as her family has come to learn one of her daughters struggles with it.

“They don’t call it ‘dyslexia’ at school. They call it ‘specialized learning disability’. That’s the biggest problem to start with,” Cardin said.

“We have to all get on the same page. It is what it is what it is. It’s like if you went to the doctor with a thyroid problem and I went to the doctor with diabetes and someone else goes for hypoglycemia and the doctor just gives us all the same medicine because ‘that’s an internal thing.’ It’s too vague.”

Cardin said everywhere she goes, she finds others in similar circumstances.

“A big part of it is the shame,” she said. “Students with dyslexia are in the same position as a person who is wheelchair bound but welcomed and expected to show up in a government building every week day where no ramp exists, then told, once inside, ‘OK, now walk. You can do it’.”

Cardin said her youngest daughter took no interest in writing as a preschooler and letters continued to be a problem as she entered Kindergarten. She repeated her first school year.

“By the spring of Grade 1 the teacher catches on to this as well and puts her name in for testing. That doesn’t happen until the end of Grade 2,” Cardin said. “We found out that she is indeed dyslexic.”

SEE RELATED: ‘The Fonz’ gives thumbs up in letter to dyslexic students at B.C. school

Teachers are not catching kids soon enough, Cardin noted, and then when they do, the help isn’t the right kind.

“It’s not about money. They’re already paying people to do something that doesn’t work,” she said. “There are supports in place in that there is pull out help for children that need extra help but what they’re doing is just more of the same of what they’re doing in the class so when you’re dealing with a dyslexic brain, you’re dealing with a child that doesn’t learn that way, period. Why don’t we pull out and just do more of the same? Because that’s not the definition of insanity right?” she added. “They can claim that they’re supporting but they’re just doing the same thing and there’s science based accommodations that have been proven. They’re not looking at the science and matching it to the need.”

This can be fixed with awareness, Cardin said.

To that end, Cardin hopes that all month, but particularly during the week of Oct. 20, and Oct. 21 specifically, the residents, merchants, the City of Duncan and others will join the Cowichan Community Centre, the public library, Service B.C., the Board of Education, the Cowichan Aquatic Centre, Margaret Moss health unit, DCS, the B.C. Forest Museum, Walmart, Superstore, VIU, Volume One, Staples, The Source, Best Buy and many more in lighting up and/or wearing red to raise awareness.

“This is not a fundraiser, it’s not even about money,” she added. “It’s about awareness. Hopefully with support and love and understanding — with people being aware that it’s OK to know your brain is different, because you haven’t been told that before — it might help lift the level of shame off.”

Merchants and supporters can show their support by wearing red, handing out silver ribbons or by decorating a bulletin board or doorway in red. Teachers and students can show their support by wearing red on Oct. 21. To learn more please visit www.dyslexiacanada.org/mark-it-read.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Social housing planner position back before North Cowichan council

Staff present report on implications of not hiring a new senior social and housing planner

Shawnigan Hills parkrun report for Feb. 15

Shawnigan Hills parkrun began 20 weeks ago and, with the exception of… Continue reading

Arts & Entertainment column: Music of all kinds coming to Cowichan

A few of the things coming up in arts and entertainment in Cowichan

Cow High T-Birds preserve berth in Islands

Cowichan boys fend off challenge from Spectrum

Vehicle, welding machines recovered from theft at Crofton’s Geo-Tech Industries

Suspects still not identified from early Tuesday morning break-in at Crofton business

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

UPDATE: Lockdown lifted at Nanaimo high school following threats

Nearby elementary school was in hold-and-secure

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

Most Read