Teen Librarian Toolbox
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Dyslexia Awareness Month Wrap-Up: Spoiler Alert, there is no wrap up because there is no magical cure

Today is officially the last day of October – Happy Halloween! – and I thought I would write a wrap-up for our series on Dyslexia for Dyslexia Awareness Month. But here’s the thing, there is no wrap up. Tomorrow, on November 1st, when everyone who has dyslexia today wakes up, they will still have dyslexia.

Ten years from now, my child who has dyslexia will still have dyslexia.

And because dyslexia is genetic, there is a very real possibility that my grandchildren will also have dyslexia, should she choose to have children of her own.

You don’t outgrow dyslexia.

There is no cure.

Yes, people with dyslexia learn strategies that work for them, if they receive early and good intervention, but they don’t stop being dyslexic. And that’s a really important thing for libraries to understand.

If 20% of our youth – 1 in 5 – have dyslexia, then 20% of our adults do as well.

Our regular readers and library users have dyslexia. They just don’t talk to us about it and that’s okay. But we need to be aware of this. We need to know and understand that 20% of the populations that we serve, 1 in 5 members of our community, have dyslexia. And we need to be serving them better. We need to serve them with more intentionality. We need to learn more and train more and talk more and promote more when it comes to helping the 1 in 5 patrons in our community that have dyslexia.

We need to make sure that we have multiple formats in all age ranges. We need the book and the audio. We need large print.

We need to design for dyslexia in our signage and on our webpages.

Not my infographic, source: https://accessibility.blog.gov.uk/2016/09/02/dos-and-donts-on-designing-for-accessibility/

We need to curate services and then promote those services. Let parents know the benefits of using audio with print. Consider shelving audio right there with the print book so that they are easy to find. Let users know that Overdrive allows you to change the font and make other modifications to increase reading accessibility.

We need to coordinate with the people in our communities who have dedicated their professional expertise to knowing and serving people with dyslexia. Ask them to come into our libraries and talk with us about what we can do, and what we can do better. And ask them to help us train our staff.

We can’t just be aware of dyslexia in the month of October, because trust me, people with dyslexia are aware of dyslexia every day of the year. Dyslexia isn’t just an October thing. So even though October is coming to an end, don’t let your efforts to know about and serve patrons with dyslexia come to an end. Our patrons need us to do better, even on November 1st. Maybe especially on November 1st.

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