I was honored to have been asked to fill the role of president of NHIDA when A drey Burke’s term expired. I have been involved with this organization since 2002. I’ve known many of the past presidents and board members during this time period; I have reaped the educational rewards from the incredible lectures NHIDA has offered. I recognize that I have big shoes to fill in my new position! With the help of our fantastic board, I hope to build upon the foundation so many others have established.
Since many of you don’t know me, here’s a little background. Reading remediation was a career change for me. I entered the Initial Orton Gillingham training at the Children’s Dyslexia Center of Nashua the year it opened (over 20 years ago.) I am certified in Wilson and received my advanced OG training from Marcia Henry and at Mass. General Hospital. I’ve tutored in public and private schools. I have been the director and primary teacher trainer at the dyslexia center in Nashua for over 15 years.
When I made the decision to switch fields, I was seeking a job that had more social significance. I’ve gotten my wish in spades. I have been blessed to see first-hand how systematic, rules based, multisensory reading instruction changes lives. I witnessed how impactful the NHIDA presentation by Anne Eaton was for legislators in New Hampshire. It is heartwarming to see so many “dyslexia laws” passed in this country, but this is just the starting point. As members of IDA, you realize that there are still many obstacles on the road to early identification and effective remediation of dyslexia.
As I drive through New England, especially in isolated areas, I think, “Are these students getting the reading support they need? If not, how can we help to make that possible?” This is where NHIDA comes in by providing resources for parents and evidence-based training for teachers.
I often repeat a line Cheri McManus said while we were working on the NH dyslexia law, “Teachers don’t know what they don’t know.” One of the most moving presentations to legislators on the NH House Education Committee during this process was given by an extremely poised, articulate college student. I was in tears as were many in the room that day. His dyslexia went undiagnosed for many years, even though the signs were there. He had teachers that called him lazy and unmotivated, when in fact, he spent a disproportionate amount of time studying. We had a similar experience in my own family. My niece was fortunate to have been diagnosed with dyslexia in first grade because I recognized the early warning signs and facilitated the educational evaluation.
However, getting her the educational support she needed, and was entitled to, was a battle.
Sarah Stetson will be discussing “dysteachia” at our annual lecture at Nashua Community College in April. She will highlight her efforts to revamp reading instruction at a local school, including screening for dyslexia.
The name New Hampshire International Dyslexia Association is very misleading since it also includes Maine and Vermont. In February, we were thrilled to have welcomed two new board members from Maine: Jen Dysart from the Bangor area and Karyn Hubbard from southern Maine. We are planning to offer a lecture in the Portland area, hopefully this fall (and need boots on the ground.) We are also actively looking for someone that can represent Vermont on our board. If you are interested, please let us know.
Once again, I am honored to act as president of the New Hampshire branch of the International Dyslexia Association for the next few years. I hope I can continue to build upon the lengthy history of support for students, parents and teachers in our communities.
President – New Hampshire Branch of the
International Dyslexia Association
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