From Seeing Red to Redeeming Red... The World Dyslexia Day Story

True confession?  I started out seeing like any other parent.  I was the mother of a very bright kindergarten student who loved learning.  With lunch box packed and new backpack in tow, he went into his first year of formal schooling and I expected things to be great.



And things were great... until they weren't.

He loved math, but he couldn't sit still.  He loved being read to, but he didn't read a single word all year long.  He thought his very short name (Beau) was super cool, but he flipped the order of it and the letters in it on a regular basis.

The fact is that this year that was supposed to be slam full of fun filled learning was (even with the sweetest teacher on the planet) turning into the first year of tears, frustration, and a lot of academic ouches.


I knew he had dyslexia. I had no paperwork to support my observation, but my heart knew.  We were told by specialists that it was too early to test.  We were told by teachers that every child flipped their letters and had the troubles he was having.

But I knew.... I KNEW he had dyslexia.



The years rocked on and the papers that came home had a LOT of red marks on them.

This word was misspelled.  That sentence wasn't in the correct form.  That math problem never got finished.

He was seeing red, and so was I.  

Children LOVE to learn and I was just angry that this was the way his school years were unfolding. Surely it wasn't supposed to be like this?

We finally received his dyslexia diagnosis.  What a relief! DYSLEXIA and ADD.

To be honest, though, not much changed on the education front.  I went to meeting after meeting where fantastic educators tried to figure out how to best teach a dyslexic student through traditional measures.  I sat in many meetings with educators who just said, "We not required to accommodate dyslexia in this state."

I would leave with hope.  I would leave defeated.  I would leave and know that nothing was really changing.  It was a roller coaster, but I knew that most of these teachers wanted desperately to help him.  These experts wanted to know more.  We were just stuck.


Every day I built my son up by having him say our own personal survival words, "There's no one above me.  There's no one below me. I'm made in the perfect image of Jesus Christ."  I'm convinced every family needs something like this that speaks to what they believe, whatever that may be.

I wanted him to know the LEADER that God called him to be, and that God's plan didn't change just because spelling class was hard for him or reading wasn't his game just yet.

Truth be known, though, I talked a really good game with my son (and meant every word of it), but I left most every meeting and every school year seeing red.


Skip a few years....

My youngest son has an autism diagnosis.  In April 2013 we were driving by a tower in our hometown where they were lighting it up in Autism's signature color of blue to spread awareness. 


My youngest son was too overstimulated to get out of the car and admire the tower, so we drove around it several times... talking about how they were celebrating him and the wonderful person God created in him.

And then the question came....

"When are they going to celebrate me, Mama?"  My oldest son, Beau (who has dyslexia) asked me that question.  



I went from SEEING RED to knowing that I had to REDEEM RED for my child.  We had to celebrate our children with dyslexia, and I needed to step away from the fight for a moment to just to stare at the celebration that needed to occur.

I mumbled something about "maybe next year, baby", but immediately knew that October (Dyslexia Awareness month), would never look the same for us.

Things got busy, as they always do, in the months that followed.  As expected, though, October 1 came and it was time for a celebration.  What to do?

I was inspired by the Purple Light Nights (Domestic Violence Campaign) that my amazing advocate friend, Katie, was working with.  She taught me how to get the RSA Tower in Montgomery, AL lit up, and the story began unfolding.

Based on available dates, our very first Dyslexia Day was on October 16th, 2013.  We wanted the 15th (to represent the 1 in 5 who have dyslexia), but this was a solid start.... and that's all we needed. World Dyslexia Day was born when the RSA Tower in Montgomery, AL agreed to light their tower in red for us.  

Why red?  Red is not only a color of power and redemption, but also my son's favorite color.  We were determined to take it back from being that nasty little color that plagued his spelling papers and turn it into not only HIS color, but that of every other person with a dyslexia diagnosis.



Over the next two weeks, volunteers poured out from every corner.  My son's dyslexia was becoming a PARTY instead of a pain to him.  He was wearing it more like a super hero cape and less like a burden. He was becoming PROUD of who God created him to be.  We wanted EVERY person with dyslexia to feel this.

As the party went on, the first news interview came and I realized that this was going to be bigger than just some little block party.  We needed a group.  We needed a vision for the party to continue long after Dyslexia Day.... and we wanted the party to be for my son, for his brother, and for EVERY exceptionality and disability.  We wanted to bridge the gap for every family and celebrate the children they loved who learned a little bit differently.


Roundtable Solutions was born in October 2013 and we've never looked back.

Shoot to today?  We are now a 501(c)3 non profit... and the vision is being furthered every single day. Collaborations are so sweetly happening to raise up others as we raise money to impact every student, teacher, school, and group that God allows us to love on.

And the word about #WorldDyslexiaDay and #RedeemingRed is SPREADING!  Every year, more groups, individuals, and communities light in #DyslexiaRed to take this message far and wide... to every corner of the world.

We're continuing to move forward with my then 10 year old co-founder's vision... to spread the dyslexia love through World Dyslexia Day on October 15th of each year and friends have come on board through Roundtable Solutions to help further that mission.

Decoding Dyslexia Alabama came on board with the vision in 2014 as one of our featured groups. We love their heart for the children of Alabama.  They "do dyslexia" beautifully.  Parents with passion that we are delighted to call our friends.

Shoot to 2015, and there are too many groups to count.  We've been blessed to work with the Alabama Dyslexia Advisory Council, Alabama Dyslexia Friends, Scottish Rite, ALIDA, Alabama Game Changers, Students First, and more.


We were delighted to be one of so many voices that worked with these groups celebrating and serving as Alabama's State Board of Education amended the Alabama Administrative Code to INCLUDE dyslexia on October 8, 2015.  We believe that years of work, experience, prayers, and faith came together to create such a beautiful step forward for the state that once said, "No.  We don't do dyslexia."  Friends, ALABAMA now DOES dyslexia!  Praise God!



The fact is, the party is no longer just at the RSA Tower in Montgomery, but at RSA Properties across the state of Alabama, the State Capitol building, and more....

In schools, front yards, family rooms, and classrooms....

Red cakes will be baked.  Red silly string fights will be had.  Red ribbons will be hung.  Red will never look the same.

We are LIGHTING UP, DRESSING UP, and DECKING OUT the world in #DyslexiaRed, friends, and we do it for a few reasons.

1- TO CELEBRATE- We celebrate dynamic kids who learn in unique ways.  All of them!
2- TO SERVE- Roundtable Solutions will use the funds we raise to connect kids with services and meet needs.  We will bridge gaps as God allows!  Just as the gaps have been bridged for Beau along the way.

3- TO ENCOURAGE- We will continually use our resources to connect parents and students with each other, services, answers, and solutions.  We believe in you.  We want you to, also.

The nation will shine bright in red to celebrate our kids and the historical Silver Linings of dyslexia will shine all around these parties.  Our kids ARE the silver linings of the challenges that dyslexia brings! We won't forget where we've come from as we're blazing a well lit trail for where we're going!  There is beauty in both places.

Redeeming Red is a story of redemption, empowerment, and taking back what is beautiful.  It's our Dyslexia Power Color.  World Dyslexia Day on October 15th (1 in 5 have dyslexia) is our day... every single year. In the middle of a calendar slam full with meaningful moments, it's the single day during Dyslexia Awareness Month where we say, "This one is for you, 1 in 5."  



From the heart of one Mama and the vision of one child, we want you to know that we see you.  We hear you.  Roundtable Solutions is working to be a group that helps equip you and points you to resources that empower you and challenge you, like many of our friends on this journey.  We want to celebrate the work you have done.  We want to hug you in the hard times and walk with you each step of the way.





All because God allowed US to walk through some really, really hard times.  What a gift that He trusted us with that journey.  I imagine He's entrusted many of you with the same.  Yes?

I take you back from the party for a moment.... because I'm still just a mom with a child that needed services.  God has opened the doors wide for us to be a voice in this equation, but we are not the only voice.  We are not the only story.








EVERY story matters... and we want to hear yours.  The celebration is wherever YOU are and in the spheres of influence that YOU are encouraging.  Please send your story to info@Roundtable-Solutions.org.  It would be our honor to not only learn about your journey, but share it with the world.

We hope you will join us as Roundtable Solutions and friends continue the mission to Redeem Red on World Dyslexia Day each and every year.  www.WorldDyslexiaDay.com

Copyright © 2013, 2014, 2015 by Christie Aitken. All rights reserved.
BLOGGING LOVE: www.ChristieAitken.net
NON PROFIT LOVE: www.Roundtable-Solutions.org
MINISTRY LOVE: www.SingleMomCentral.net


*World Dyslexia Day, Redeeming Red, Dyslexia Red, and Roundtable Solutions- TM by Christie Aitken/Roundtable Solutions.

Comments

  1. Wow. From one dyslexic momma to another, Job well done both in the empowering of your wonderful son(s) and the awareness you bring :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Angela! We hope you will visit us at www.Roundtable-Solutions.org and join us for World Dyslexia Day!

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  2. With lunch box packed and new backpack in tow, he went into his first ... iredbackpack.blogspot.com

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