As an only child, Katie Drennan gravitates to adults, especially smart ones. "I was kind of an intellectual, cheeky kid," she laughed. "I would go to dinner and there was a baby table and an adult table. I was like, 'I prefer to sit at the adult table' because the conversation will be more interesting!" I was a nervous little kid! "
Come to first grade," the ridiculous little kid "landed in the highest reading group at school, only to realize that he couldn't learn to read.
" And they're like, "Okay , let's just drop it a little bit … No. What about a little bit further? "Drennan said. "And I don't know how many reading groups there are, but I was at the bottom."
Deciding that her smart child would not fail, Drennan's mother did research, found a specialist, and diagnosed her with Severe Dyslexia.
Correspondent Susan Spencer asked, "Does anyone who is not dyslexic look like me in Arabic?"
"That's how I felt," Drennan replied. "Like, I just couldn't figure out what I had in front of me."
Yale University's Dr. Sally Schaivitz described dyslexia as "an unexpected difficulty in reading an individual who has the intelligence to read at a much higher level."
In early 1983, she and her husband, Dr. Bennet Scheivitz, who have been married for about five decades, began to follow the reading of more than 400 randomly selected kindergartens. They are still being followed today. "And what we found was that every fifth person has dyslexia," Bennett said.
"I would think maybe one in 20," Spencer said.
"Well, that was exactly the dogma," Bennett said. "But it's clear now that it's very common."
But perhaps their most important finding is: There is no connection at all between dyslexia and intelligence.
"The biggest misunderstanding is that people who read slowly aren't smart," Sally said.
Shaywitzes compares typical K-12 readers whose reading skills reflect IQ with dyslexic readers. whose reading skills do not . "One does not affect the other," Bennett said.
" If you are not dyslexic "It sounds crazy, right? Because our brains just do it automatically," said Dr. Laura Cassidy. Her daughter Kate couldn't read in first grade. "She couldn't learn the alphabet – not only to write it, but to
Like Katy Drennan's mother, Cassidy, a retired surgeon, refused to accept prov. l also hired a private teacher. Today, at age 17, Kate is doing better, although she still copes with dyslexia.
Spencer asked Dr. Cassidy, "Instead of moving forward after your daughter has settled down, you went the other way. You saw a bigger reason. And I just wonder why he did it. "
" Well, there's a huge group of kids in the United States who don't learn to read, "she replied.
Thus, in 2013, Dr. Cassidy opened the Louisiana Key Academy, a public charter school in Baton Rouge for dyslexic students only.
She said, "If you are dyslexic and your family has no money, that doesn't mean you don't have to get what you need."
Spencer asked, "If I want to go to the classroom here, what if nothing else would be different? "
" We start in the early years by teaching them how to break down the words, the deciphering part, "said Dr. Cassidy.
Fifth grade Amy Youngs told Spencer that before she came to Louisiana Key Academy, reading was "my worst nightmare." Today, she and her classmates are different. She said, "It made me feel a little dumb and stupid that I couldn't do as much as all the other kids could."
you knew you weren't stupid and stupid, did you? "Spencer asked.
Spencer asked Dr. Cassidy, "So, miss such a school, what's going on with these kids?"
"There's a reduced high school graduation, a reduced college entrance, and "And we know there are a number of dyslexic people who are incarcerated," she replied.
The fact that led her to the maximum security prison in Louisiana, St. Gabriel's Elaine Hunting Correctional Center, and recently led to the astonishing finding: "Of the prisoners we checked and tested, we found that over 50% were had dyslexia, "says Dr. Cassidy.
Her number is very similar to that of an earlier prison trial in Texas.
"If your self-esteem is broken and you are not really learning, and you have the opportunity to continue on the streets, you go to the streets," she said.
Twenty-one-year-old Jonathan Wilson is one of the prisoners in Dr. Cassidy's study. He has dyslexia, but so far no one has known it.
Spencer asked him, "How was it when you first learned to read when you were a young child?"  "It was real slow. It was really difficult for me to understand the words, ”he replied.
He never completed high school. Wilson, the first-time offender, is serving a 12-year sentence, convicted and convicted of armed robbery. "So here we are," he said.
Spencer asked, "And what about people who might say, you know, 'Why should I care about dyslexia in prisons?' "
" This is life; why would you not want to help life? "And then, if we want to reduce recidivism, you can do it easily if you identify them as dyslexic and give them the tools they need."
Small First Step: The Reform Law in The jail was passed last year, with a big boost from Laura Cassidy's husband, Bill Cassidy, who is simply a U.S. Senator from Louisiana. The law requires screening for dyslexia in prison.
Asked what he would like to do after being released, Wilson replied, "Design of clothes. I'd like to design things. "
This may not be an impossible goal despite dyslexia. Which brings us back to Kathy Drennan. She eventually learns to read in sixth grade, but not in the way most of us. "I recognize the shape of the words and see the shape and say, 'Oh, this is a word.' And then I remember what that word sounds like," she said.
She seems to have done well; Drennan already a professor of chemistry and biology at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"The way I learned to look at the world from learning to read, memorizing these forms, and looking at the figures and thinking: 'What is this form? What is this language? What is this code? "It definitely makes me a better scientist," she said.
Although encouraging, isolated success stories like Drennan's also remind Dr. Cassidy of the challenges ahead. When asked how we deal with us as a society in dealing with dyslexia, she replied, "It's awful. We need to research about dyslexia at the end of kindergarten. I mean, at this point, reading and writing are still necessary prerequisites. "For Success in Life."
Louisiana Key Academy student Amy Youngs said her teachers were helping to decode it.
Spencer asked, "Can you break the code better than before?"
"Yes, ma'am," she smiled.
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A story produced by Amiel Weisfogel.