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'Eye to Eye' Program Seeks to Change Perception of Learning Disabilities

"Eye to Eye" is a program co-founded by David Flink, who suffered as a misunderstood student with dyslexia when he was in grade school. Flink co-founded Eye to Eye with four other Brown students in 1998, and the program focuses on talking about learning disabilities as a different way of thinking as opposed to an academic setback.

The Brown Herald Daily recently reported on the positive effects "Eye to Eye" has had on students.

Eye to Eye eliminates this stigma and converts students’ talents into valuable assets, said Maureen Kenner, special education teacher at Vartan Gregorian Elementary School and faculty coordinator for Eye to Eye’s Brown chapter. Working in special education for 35 years has allowed her to appreciate how Eye to Eye fostered an organic, creative environment for students, she said.

The program has spread to 56 new chapters in elementary schools, and functions largely as a mentorship program built of people who have experience learning disabilities themselves.

Because each mentor has also struggled with their learning disability, they understand the challenges that their mentees currently face. “If you’re dyslexic, you know exactly what this kid needs because you’ve actually been there,” Flink told The Herald.

This is a groundbreaking achievement in education, and will most likely see a long way coming before it gains traction and makes social change.

Rather than treating learning disabilities as disorders that need fixing, Eye to Eye instead seeks to celebrate them as distinctive traits.

“It’s not the most well-understood phenomenon,” Wald said. For example, other students  comment on how “lucky” she is to receive extra time on tests and assignments. Eye to Eye, she said, has taught her to embrace her dyslexia.

Read the full story.

Article by Samantha DiMauro, EducationWorld Contributor

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