Dyslexia Awareness comes to St. Croix, USVI

2015 Learning Disabilities Awareness Conference – St. Croix, USVI

Achieve the Impossible hosted the 2015 Learning Disabilities Awareness Conference on November 13-15, 2015. Mrs. Juliet Thomas-Arthurton, President and Founder of Achieve the Impossible,  Dr. Tracy Johnson, Vessels of Hope Founder/CEO, dyslexia advocate, and Headstrong Nation Fellow along with Apostle Patricia Phillips, Evangelist, Founder and President of It’s Not Always Autism Tijuana Lane participated in the event.  

Attendees at the event listened to the three keynote speakers as they presented definitions, characteristics of, and additional information on individuals with learning differences and the challenges and barriers that they face. They also discussed the tools and strategies needed for those with learning differences to help them to thrive and become successful.

Flyer from Learning Disabilities conference in St Croix Nov 13 and 14 2015                                                                                                                                                    

Learning Disabilities Awareness Conference November 13th and 14th – St. Croix, USVI - Keynote Speakers: Apostle Patricia A. Phillips, Evangelist Tijuana Lane and Dr. Tracy Johnson. (Dr Rahmanda Campbell, pictured in flyer above, was unable to attend conference).

Dr. Tracy Johnson speaking to group at conference

Dr. Tracy Johnson sharing her experiences as a dyslexic.

Dr. Johnson discussed her own powerful testimony and how after receiving evidence-based multisensory Orton – Gillingham influenced remediation as a young adult she was able to attend college and obtain a number of advanced education degrees leading her to her current teaching career at Harcum College.

Photo of attendees at Learning Disabilities Conference in St. Croix

Group photo of attendees and presenters at the 2015 Learning Disabilities Awareness Conference in St. Croix, USVI

The Message and What Was Learned

The message at the conference was one of hope.  Some of the important points which the participants learned were: 

  • Having a learning difference does not mean that you are dumb.  It means that you learn differently and need specific supports and tools to enable you to thrive.
  • When it comes to teaching children how to read, one size does not fit all, and instruction should be differentiated based on the specific needs of each child. 

photo of Zion arthurton  at computer at conferenceJoshua Arthurton at dyslexia awareness conference          

         Two bright and curious young men in attendance. From left, Jeremy (Ziyon) Arthurton and Joshua Arthurton. 
  • Needed services and supports can be very costly and it’s important for dyslexics and parents of dyslexics alike to serve as advocates for change to effect change and to begin a dialog with representatives on the local and federal levels on the need to address dyslexia and related learning disabilities. 

Juliet Thomas-Arthurton photo speaking at Learning Disabilites conference

Mrs. Juliet Thomas-Arthurton, President and Founder of Achieve the Impossible Inc, and The director and coordinator of the 2015 Learning Disability Awareness Conference in St. Croix, USVI, speaking to attendees.
  • It’s important to join existing support groups along with other parents all over the United States and to consider creating a new local group, as parents share many of the same concerns.
  • With the proper instruction and support, dyslexic individuals of all ages are capable of doing great things! 

Information is power and St. Croix needs more!

Juliet Arthurton, the president and Founder of Achieve the Impossible Inc., and the Director and coordinator of the conference, acknowledges that more information on dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, ADHD, CAPD and other learning disabilities needs to be shared with those in St. Croix to continue to raise the level of awareness of parents, educators and individuals living with these conditions.

The following link will take to a page on our website listing some general definitions and many useful links to organizations which provide information and resources on dyslexia. We hope that this information will help you as a starting point on your journey. - http://headstrongnation.org/list-dyslexia-and-other-related-ld-resources

What’s Next?

The response to the conference was very positive, and Dr. Johnson is looking forward to returning to St. Croix sometime in March, 2016 for part two of the conference!  She is pleased that Dr. Rahmanda Campbell, CEO of the Learning Clinic Inc., who was originally slated to be a keynote speaker, but was unable to attend, will get an opportunity to join this second event. 

Apostle Patricia Phillips, Evangelist Tijuana Lane, and Dr. Tracy Johnson posing for camera at WCVI - TV 23  studio

Apostle Patricia A. Phillips, Pastor and Founder of Nothing but the Word Deliverance Church, Florence NJ, Evangelist Tijuana Lane, President and Founder of It’s Not Always Autism, and Dr. Tracy Johnson, CEO and Founding President of Vessels of Hope, Inc.

Evangelist Tijuana Lane, Mrs. Juliet Thomas Arthurton, Apostle Patricia Phillips and Dr. Tracy Johnson Photo

Evangelist Tijuana Lane, Mrs. Juliet Thomas -Arthurton, Apostle Patricia A. Phillips and Dr. Tracy Johnson, CEO Vessels of Hope. 

Photo shoot of group at WCVI TV 23 Pastor Virginia Ventura of Miracle Revival Deliverance Tabernacle Church, Ms.Patricia Sage, Apostle Patricia A Phillips, Evangelist Tijuanna Lane, Dr. Tracy Johnson, Mr. Christopher Millette,General Manager of WCVI-TV23 and Mrs. Juliet Thomas-Arthurton. )

Photo Shoot at WCVI-TV23, the only ChristianTV & Family Broadcasting Station in St.Croix Virgin Island. Pastor Virginia Ventura of Miracle Revival Deliverance Tabernacle Church, Ms.Patricia Sage, Apostle Patricia A Phillips, Evangelist Tijuana Lane, Dr. Tracy Johnson, Mr. Christopher Millette, General Manager of WCVI-TV23, and Mrs. Juliet Thomas-Arthurton.

Great job to all in continuing to spread awareness to those living in St. Croix and beyond!

Headstrong Nation Mission Statement: 

Headstrong Nation is a movement dedicated to a radical new approach to dyslexia.  We empower adult dyslexics to own their dyslexia, to understand it, and to develop new ways of learning and working based on their individual profiles.  

Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  If you would like to help us to fulfill our mission, please consider donating to Headstrong Nation HERE 

Thank You! ~ The Headstrong Nation Team 


photo of document from US Dept.of Education Assistant Secretary of ED

The Assistant Secretary of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, United States Department of Education, Michael K. Yudin released a letter today to clarify that there is nothing in the IDEA  (The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)  that would prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in IDEA evaluation, eligibility determinations, or IEP documents, despite the communications from stakeholders, including parents, advocacy groups, and national disability organizations, who believe that State and local educational agencies (SEAs and LEAs) are reluctant to reference or use dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in evaluations, eligibility determinations, or in the development of the individualized education program (IEP) under the IDEA.

In the letter, Mr. Yudin states that the Office of Special Ed, Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) encourages State Education Agencies and Local Education Agencies (SEA's and LEA's) to consider situations where it would be appropriate to use the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia to describe and address the child’s unique, identified needs through evaluation, eligibility, and IEP documents. OSERS further encourages States to review their policies, procedures, and practices to ensure that they do not prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in evaluations, eligibility, and IEP documents. Finally, in ensuring the provision of free appropriate public education (FAPE), OSERS encourages SEAs to remind their LEAs of the importance of addressing the unique educational needs of children with specific learning disabilities resulting from dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia during IEP Team meetings and other meetings with parents under IDEA. 

#SayDyslexia!  A step in the right direction. Voices were heard.  Good news for many and a document to refer to and share with your child’s school, family and friends. Congratulations to the grassroots movement Decoding Dyslexia and the many other disability organizations and advocacy groups who got involved on a legislative level to spread awareness on the need to use the word and address dyslexia in the schools.  Positive change can occur one person at a time, one word at a time. Spread dyslexia awareness today!

To view the PDF letter in its entirety, click HERE.  


Any questions? 

Contact us at our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/headstrongnation.  We're not experts, but we’ll do what we can to point you to resources and to answer any questions that you may have.  You may also follow us on Twitter, https://twitter.com/headstrongnatio and on Pinterest.

Headstrong Nation is a movement dedicated to a radical new approach to dyslexia. We empower adult dyslexics to own their dyslexia, understand it, and develop new ways of learning and working based on their individual profiles. If you'd like to help support us in fulfilling our mission for the adult dyslexic, please consider donating to Headstrong Nation by clicking on the DONATE BUTTON at the top of the page.  Thank you! - The Headstrong Nation Team

Headstrong is a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation, and is tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax ID 47-0925290.   





What dyslexia can look like

Stacey Cavaglieri volunteers at Headstrong Nation and lives in San Diego with her two dyslexic children and her husband.  As a dyslexic herself she knows very well the journey from struggling student to successful adult.  

Chances are when you talk with someone about dyslexia they might say something about seeing backwards. Sadly this misconception could not be further from the truth. Dyslexia is not a vision problem, but a phonological processing issue. What this means is dyslexic people may have difficulty associating letters to the sounds they make. This affects the decoding process of reading, comprehension and fluency.  

For many, dyslexia not only affects reading and spelling, but it also impacts the entire writing process.  It is true that many dyslexics may flip letters while reading and writing, but this is caused by how the dyslexic brain is processing the information on the page. 

Have you ever wondered what dyslexia looks like? Here is an example of what dyslexia looks like for my seven-year old son Ryan, who was recently identified as dyslexic. Ryan is in second grade and is a bright, energetic, fun-loving kid who loves to make people laugh. Even though eye reading is challenging for Ryan he loves ear reading with his IPad. Outside of school Ryan loves Tae-kwon-do and is a master at all things Minecraft. He is also very passionate about Cub Scouts. 

Ryan used to enjoy school; that was until second grade when writing has become the focus.  Ryan has always had trouble with writing. As early as preschool he was showing signs of dyslexia.  He never enjoyed drawing or coloring as a preschooler and learning to write his name was very challenging. As you can see from this picture Ryan is having a tremendous difficulty getting the words out on the page.  Not only is he wrestling with spelling, he is fighting with staying on the line, he is dealing with spacing, punctuation, and capitalization. All of this is happening while he struggles to hold the idea long enough in his mind to get it on the paper. Perhaps it might seem like he is not trying very hard by the type of work he is producing, but as his mom I know just how difficult it was for him to get this on the paper. I know how hard he tried and I am proud.

It is heartbreaking for a parent to see their child hate school and cry but these kids are the bravest, strongest kids I have ever met. Dyslexic kids know where they stand against their peers but they head off to school everyday knowing how painfully challenging it is for them yet they endure. I know that with the proper support Ryan will not just endure, he will reach any goal he sets his mind to. 

                                                                          Stacey Cavaglieri and her son Ryan

As parents we all experience endless hours of worrying if our children are going to make it.  I am here to tell you with the right support, positive strength based attitude your child will find success. Remember the days are long but the years are fast.  A few keys to success, first find your community, you’re not alone. Second tell your story. Telling your story might be the hardest part, but by far the most beneficial.  If you are a dyslexic parent your story is a critical piece to helping your child accept who they were meant to be. Even if you are not a dyslexic parent, showing your children your own weakness will speak volumes to them. Lastly, providing your child with the right accommodations not only provides a ramp into learning, but also boosts their self-confidence. If we can do these things our children will not only survive but thrive.

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