School of Education Graduate Students Encourage Children with Dyslexia
by Jessie Jilovec, student newswriter
WACO, Texas (Dec. 6, 2018) – Navigating life with a learning disability may bring various challenges. That is why on Thursday, Nov. 29, Baylor University invited 70 students ages 8 to 17 from Goldthwaite Independent School District to campus for a presentation by four Baylor School of Education graduate students about dyslexia and how to thrive despite challenges.
Graduate students Olivia Borba, Stephanie Fritz, Felicity Frost and Ally Yturralde are each working towards an educational specialist degree in school psychology. They are currently working in schools for a practicum, and this event exposed to them to children of all ages with academic struggles.
“One in 10 individuals have dyslexia so it is extremely important to educate students on the fact that they are not alone and that there are so many students facing the same obstacles as them,” Yturralde said. “I wanted the young students to understand that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to, despite having dyslexia, and they should not let their disability stand in their way of pursuing their dreams.”
To begin the presentation, the graduate students showed the children a slide of celebrities. Then, they gave facts about dyslexia, watched a video explaining what dyslexia is and gave the children strategies about how to overcome any struggles they may encounter. Suggestions included using time wisely, embracing simple tools, making the most of technology and asking for help.
Later, students participated in a partner activity where they looked at a slide with a variety of colors spelled out, yet the color of the font of the word was different than the color the word spelled. The graduate students explained that trying to say the word the color was spelling without instead saying the color of the font is similar to what students with dyslexia may experience when reading.
“We focused the presentation on the positives and reminded them that they can overcome hurdles with dyslexia and can persevere and be successful,” said Julie Ivey, Ph.D., associate professor of educational psychology in the School of Education and founder of the Baylor Autism Resource Clinic. Ivey’s research revolves around children with autism, family systems and developmental disabilities.
To end the presentation, the graduate students showed the children a video made by a former Baylor student with dyslexia that encouraged them to believe in themselves. Finally, graduate students asked the children what they wanted to be when they grow up. The children named a variety of professions, from professional athletes to artists to nurses.
“I think it's important to do work in the community, especially with children, to help them learn and grow to their best potential,” Frost said. “With this specific event, it was important to let the children know that anything is possible if you put your mind to it, even if you has obstacles you need to overcome.”
Ivey said she discussed making this type of presentation an annual event.
“I believe it was a win-win for the public school students as well as the graduate students,” Ivey said. “I hope the public school students took away the message that they have the ability to achieve goals and to dream big even with challenges.”
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
ABOUT THE BAYLOR SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Founded in 1919, Baylor School of Education ranks among the nation’s top 20 education schools located at private universities. The School’s research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.