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Five Faces of Dyslexia at Friends Academy

October 25, 2022

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of the struggles and successes of students who learn differently. At Friends Academy, we are proud to support students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and other language-based learning differences through the Sally Borden Program.

Dyslexia is the most common of all learning differences; some estimate it may affect up to 20% of children. Dyslexia makes it hard to learn to read accurately and fluently, yet people with dyslexia have a variety of strengths, including problem solving, big-picture thinking, creativity, and high levels of empathy. The Sally Borden Program reflects Friends Academy’s deeply rooted belief in the need to appropriately support each child to succeed in school.

To amplify the voices of students with dyslexia, let’s meet five of our current SBP students to hear what they have to say about being a Friends Academy student with a language-based learning difference.

Cam, Grade 3

Sally Borden Program student CamAbout the experience of having dyslexia: “In writing class at my old school, some other kids had maybe two, three, four words spelled wrong. Almost all my words would be wrong. I missed a lot of classes and experiences because I would have to go up to a specialist to fix my spelling.”

About the Sally Borden Program: “If I wonder how to spell a word, I just ask – I couldn’t do that before. It puts less stress on me. I get more time to have fun after school instead of trying to catch up on my work.”

Kenny, Grade 5

Sally Borden Program student KennyAbout the experience of having dyslexia: “Everybody learns differently. So for the kids who have dyslexia, it’s not really a disability – it’s more of a challenge to overcome. My brain just processes things differently.”

About the Sally Borden Program: “I feel equal to everyone else now. The kids who don’t have dyslexia don’t get better privileges; everyone here is treated no more than the person next to you.”

Jake, Grade 7

Sally Borden Program student JakeAbout the experience of having dyslexia: “When other kids started learning to read chapter books, I couldn’t. I have to focus so much on reading the words that I don’t get much out of the story. I find that I’m better in math, and I have good spatial recognition.”

About the Sally Borden Program: “Just after a few months, I could see a lot of progress in my reading and writing. It was easier to make friends. It pushes me to work harder and never give up.”

Lily, Grade 8

Sally Borden Program student LilyAbout the experience of having dyslexia: “I was never reading at grade level. I was always told I needed to catch up, that I wasn’t paying attention, and that it was my fault. I’ve grown to love the fact that I have dyslexia – it’s very challenging, but it makes me different.”

About the Sally Borden Program: “I am in a room with kids who completely understand. We help each other out in class. It made me understand that it’s not something wrong with me. It’s nice knowing that you’re not alone on this journey.”

Tess, Grade 8

Sally Borden Program student TessAbout the experience of having dyslexia: “Before I came here, my experience in school was alone. I was the only one who was always being pulled out of class for extra help. In library, I would pick hard books because my friends were starting bigger chapter books, but they would sit in my bag.”

About the Sally Borden Program: “It opened my eyes; before, I thought it was only me. Seeing a big community and the progress that is made has helped me. I’ve opened up here. I’m able to build connections with everyone because the classes are small.”