Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties and one in five students has a language-based learning disability. Most people affected by dyslexia require intensive weekly tutoring to help improve these skills. Many schools do not provide these services and private tutoring can come at a high price. These high costs prohibit many students from getting the tutoring and support they need.
Caragan Olles, of Depere, Wisconsin, is all too familiar with the struggles dyslexia causes for students attempting to grasp the intricacies of the English language. A dyslexic herself, Olles, with the help of her brother Carter Olles, founded Bright Young Dyslexics (BYD) in March 2013.
“I basically looked around the community and started to see how many dyslexic children there were. I knew not everyone is as fortunate as I was to get tutoring at an early age,” says Olles.
Olles can easily relate to dyslexic students feeling frustrated in school. One mission of BYD is to rally awareness around dyslexia and its presence in the community. Olles often finds it challenging to explain the hardships of dyslexia to those who have no experience with this learning disorder. Says Olles, “It's challenging getting schools and teachers to understand exactly what dyslexia is and how they can help their students.” But Olles and the team at BYD are working to fix this.
Beyond raising awareness, BYD offers incredible support for dyslexic students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Through donations, BYD offers funding to these students for tutoring, classes or camps. They provide assistive technology to students to supplement their efforts. Through presentations and simulations, BYD supports dyslexia education for teachers, students, parents and the community.
Olles says, “The most rewarding part of working with BYD is teaching people about dyslexia with the dyslexia simulations. I like to see people, and especially my friends, participating and wanting to learn more about dyslexia and how they can help other dyslexic children.”
Olles has been able to reach more than 400 community members through BYD simulations and 15 youths in the community have become engaged with BYD through fundraising and awareness activities. BYD is currently working in the Northern Wisconsin communities, but hopes to increase awareness nationwide!
Olles was able to face adversity and then help others facing similar challenges. With support from her brother, the Olles family has brought awareness to a condition affecting millions of students. Because of their efforts, more students will be able to receive the tutoring they need, educators will be more adept at helping students with dyslexia and the community will be ready to support its youth population struggling with this condition.
If you know a family like Caragan and Carter Olles, working to mobilize awareness for a cause, nominate them today for the Daily Point of Light Award!