Lighting up Winnipeg red for Dyslexia Awareness Month

Jacob Ezinicki (right) with his father Dustin Ezinicki. Jacob lives with dyslexia

Across the country, monuments and buildings are being lit up red as part of the “Mark It Read” campaign in support of people living with dyslexia.

Here in Manitoba, the legislature and the Winnipeg sign at The Forks will be taking on that red colour on Friday and Saturday respectively, with other events happening in schools.

Advocates hope that by raising awareness of the learning disability, it will help reduce the associated stigma and push governments for the supports needed so those living with the condition can succeed.

“You have those worries that he is not going to be able to catch up or even succeed because without reading or writing it becomes very difficult as a person,” said Dustin Ezinicki, whose son Jacob lives with dyslexia.

Jacob was diagnosed with dyslexia in Grade 2 at school. He said while some people have been supportive of his condition, not everybody understands it.

“It doesn’t make feel that good,” said Jacob.

According to Dyslexia Canada, the condition is quite common, affecting anywhere from 10 to 20 per cent of the Canadian population.

The organization said symptoms can include trouble reading accurately and fluently, as well as difficulties with comprehension, spelling, and writing.

As a parent of a dyslexic child, Dustin would like to see quicker access to dyslexia diagnosis and financial assistance for tutoring.

“Not having to wait so many years for an assessment in schools and it’s expensive, thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars,” said Dustin.

Early diagnosis can go a long way in paving the way for an individual’s future success. The condition is hereditary, and while the exact causes are unknown, studies have shown differences in the way the brain of a person with dyslexia develops and functions.

While the challenges faced by people with dyslexia can be many, Jacob said there is a positive.

“Dyslexia probably makes you more creative,” said Jacob.

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