Hundreds of parents and teachers from across the state gathered at the New Summit School in Jackson for the 4th annual Mississippi Dyslexia Center’s Symposium on Friday. During the event, the MDC was able to provide insight into the methods and opportunities for therapy that the organization offers to dyslexic students in Mississippi.
Special guest speaker Pamela Tebow shared her story of how dyslexia has touched her life and her family. While you may know the story of her son Tim, the mother of five shared how her husband and two of her children have overcome their diagnosis with the learning disability. Her speech emphasized the importance of faith, education and family as many in the audience were learning to deal with the same circumstances that Pamela has.
“They are gifts from the Lord to us,” Tebow said, “He made them exactly how he intends for them to be. Not just for their good, but for our good. So, I had to love my children just like the gifts and the rewards that God intends for them to be. You can’t return them like an unwanted Christmas present and say, ‘I would really like one with blonde hair’ or ‘one that didn’t have any type of a learning disability.’”
Tebow went on to mention the importance of patience and how that patience coupled with education will lead to success for children with dyslexia.
Coordinator for the MDC Kate Sistrunk said that the speech was able to capture what it means to help children no matter what the circumstance.
“Mrs. Tebow was amazing,” Sistrunk said. “She is such an inspiration; homeschooling five children, her husband and two children being dyslexic and having that patience and compassion. She was really able to spread the word of how she did that, and that has helped a lot of parents wake up and say, ‘It’s okay.’”
Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities, and along with the diagnosis, Sistrunk says that there are misconceptions.
“People may think that individuals with dyslexia aren’t as smart, but when you’re dyslexic you have an average to above average IQ. Others think that they read backward, in fact they don’t, it’s more of a manipulation of sound and hearing those sounds,” Sistrunk said.
The International Dyslexia Center says that up to 14% of the population in schools nationwide struggles with “a handicapping condition that qualifies them for special education.”