Participants Gain New Perspective

Have you ever wondered what someone with dyslexia goes through on a daily basis? Pine-Richland School District and Pennsylvania Branch the International Dyslexia Association (PBIDA) Pittsburgh Region - provided an opportunity to families to experience just that by hosting a series of simulations on January 13, 2016.

Eden Hall Learning Support Teacher/Intervention Specialist Mindy Bramer, who served as facilitator and organizer of the event, said the simulations provided insight to educators, parents, siblings, professionals and others on how it feels to struggle with Dyslexia or reading challenges.

“The purpose of the simulation is for people to understand the common symptoms of dyslexia and participants are able to experience the challenges that a child with a learning difference may have,” said Ms. Bramer.

“It’s an eye-opening experience to understand what children who are experiencing these difficulties endure,” said Director of Special Education Noel Hustwit. “It’s mentally draining.”

About 65 in all participated in a series of six simulations which gave them a taste of some of those difficulties while performing language-related tasks.

The simulation stations included: Learn to Read, Listen to Me, Write with Mirrors, Name that Letter, Alphabet Arithmetic and Hear and Spell.

Participants experienced hard-to read type, inaudible instructions, writing with symbols and drawing shapes by looking in a mirror and many more challenges.

Parent Judi Krysa says she was amazed as she was participating in the Listen to Me simulation.

“This is tough and shows me how much stress my son goes through to listen in class,” said Ms. Krysa.

Parent Sue McGeary and her husband Mike McGeary participated in the program and had a better appreciation for learners by the end of the session.

“I think this is so wonderful, because we have a better appreciation for what children go through and what a strain it can be to focus,” said Mrs. McGeary.

In addition to Mr. Hustwit, station leaders included High School Learning Support Teacher/Intervention Specialist Teacher Tim Mahoney, parent volunteer Sue Neal, Lead Psychologist Maura Paczan, Eden Hall Upper Elementary School Learning Support Teacher Maria Paluselli, and Chair of the Pittsburgh Region of PBIDA Christine Seppi.

Anyone interested in more about Dyslexia, can attend  the PA International Dyslexia Association Pittsburgh Region Branch Conference on April 9, 2016 from 9-3:30 p.m. hosted in Monroeville entitled Dyslexia Today 2016: Learning & Living with Dyslexia. For more details contact organizers at