Letter to the Editor
Re: “Ontario budget puts focus on children’s well-being,” April 27, 2017
As parents of children with dyslexia, a reading disability that affects 1 in 5 children in Ontario, we were interested to read the TO Star article, “Ontario budget puts focus on children’s well-being,” April 27, 2017.
We applaud the province’s funding for children’s mental health and well-being in the 2017 budget, and their recognition that this support must start early.
We hope that this support will be extended to the many children with dyslexia who struggle to read and write currently with little to no support in Ontario elementary schools. EQAO data shows that without support in the early years, many dyslexic students are not equipped to take academic-level courses in high school nor will they pass the Grade 10 literacy exam on their first attempt. At least 30% will drop out. They grow into adults who struggle to find meaningful work. Many, after spending their childhood struggling to learn, suffer long-term self-esteem, anxiety, and other more serious mental health issues.
There is good news: evidence shows that children with dyslexia can be identified and taught to read with specialized instruction as early as kindergarten — preventing a lifetime of struggle. Many families hire private tutors to get that instruction, while many others can’t afford the expense. Given that the province has pledged some $49 million for children’s mental health and wellness in the 2017 budget, mainly through school-based programs, what better time than now to provide support to all dyslexic children in our schools? Doing so would lead to significant improvements in the mental health and well-being of children in Ontario.
Decoding Dyslexia Ontario