Decoding Dyslexia North Carolina

Board Member: Linda William

City/Town: Charlotte, NC

When did you join the Decoding Dyslexia North Carolina (DDNC) Board? 2020. I have been working with DDNC since its inception in 2014. The original founders left abruptly in 2019 and Christie Eakins and I (as well as others who have since moved on) picked up the pieces and reassembled Decoding Dyslexia North Carolina. 

Why did you decide to join the DDNC Board? I have a deep passion for the underserved which stems from my personal experience. My oldest who is now a successful and thriving college student was misdiagnosed FOUR times before being properly identified. Ten years ago, doctors did not know as much as they do now. My oldest was labeled with ADHD and ODD or Oppositional Defiant Disorder. If you knew my child, you would know that none of these fit him. I persevered and finally found a child psychologist that properly diagnosed him. Once he was diagnosed and we were given a directive, his entire life changed for the better. We were able to provide the help that he needed and he immediately gained back self-esteem and motivation to learn. I have always felt that it was my duty to serve others with the knowledge that I gained while struggling. My hope has always been that other parents don’t have to struggle as much as our family did. 

Who inspired you to learn more about dyslexia? My children and then Fernette and Brock Eide. They wrote the book “The Dyslexic Advantage” and that is what I needed to know immediately – advantages. Sally Shaywitz and Susan Barton where huge influencers as well. 

What is the best piece of advice you have received on your dyslexia journey? I never really received advice. I feel like a bit of a pioneer. Susan Barton and the Eide’s sent the message and continue to this day to make sure parents know that their children aren’t broken, they just learn differently.

What is one piece of advice you would like to give others? I would echo the statement above and I would tell parents to find and join their community. There are so many people out there that are in the same boat and you are not alone.

What are some of your favorite dyslexia resources?

  • I love Susan Barton. If a parent is strapped for cash and wants to take the initiative, then a parent can purchase her reading and spelling curriculum for a reasonable price.
  • I love the Eide’s, too. They are very personable and were the first to map dyslexic brains and focus on the advantages of being dyslexic. The Eide’s use the acronym MIND to explain the four strengths of dyslexia. The book is: The Dyslexic Advantage. Here is there website.
  • Sally Shaywitz was hired by the NIH to conduct a longitudinal study on dyslexia in the 1980’s and their website has a wealth of information.
  • I have two other friends that are pioneers in dyslexia advocacy as well and they have created Ted Talks that are inspirational and uplifting. I prefer this approach because I am dyslexic and did not know it until I was 44 years old. The first is Ben Foss who wrote the “Dyslexia Empowerment Plan” and the second is Dean Bragonier who created a curriculum using The Dyslexic Advantages MIND strengths.There are other videos that are so uplifting but these two are my favorite.