Welcome to the back to school issue of School Supplies! We hope you and your family enjoyed the holiday season and are looking forward to a fulfilling and productive 2014. It has been some time since the last installment, during which we have been busy with the growth of our Cope With School Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Practice in New York City. We now have extended hours for individual, family and group treatment.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Scott Forsythe of the Dyslexic Kids Organization. Scott, now 16, started Dyslexic Kids at age 14 after realizing that support groups targeted parents of kids with disabilities, but not the kids themselves. Dyslexic Kids provides a wealth of online support and resources for children and teens with dyslexia as well as local support groups in Scott’s home state, Indiana. Scott has worked hard to overcome his struggles with dyslexia and is admirably helping others understand and cope with dyslexia. You can check out Dyslexic Kids here or follow on Facebook. Below are excerpts from our discussion with Scott.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES: Tell us about “Dyslexic Kids.”

SF: Dyslexic Kids is a support organization for children and teens who have dyslexia. We offer support, information, resources, free tutoring and support group meetings (online and in-person) to children and teens with dyslexia.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES: How did you decide to start the site?

SF: I have dyslexia and I searched in vain for a support group for people my age. All of the support groups I found were designed for the parents and teachers of dyslexics, not for the people who need it most: the children and teens who are facing the adversity. When faced with a learning difference that affects so many aspects of your life, it is important to find a supportive community in which you can be surrounded by peers who can understand and help you. The sense of belonging a support group brings can be crucial toward building your self-esteem, and building that self-esteem can lead to success in school and in life.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES: How does dyslexia affect your life?

SF: At first, I struggled quite a bit in school. The bullies tried to beat the dyslexia out of me. As you can imagine, I didn’t think dyslexia was a very positive thing at the time. Now, however, I am grateful that I have dyslexia. Having a brain that processes things differently is quite an advantage in areas that matter most to me.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES: What are common misperceptions you or your readers have faced?

SF: The most frustrating misconception is that dyslexia doesn’t exist. Some believe that dyslexia is a mental defect, rather than a learning difference. Others believe it is impossible for someone with dyslexia to ever learn to read. Many believe that having dyslexia means that you see letters in reverse.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES: What have you found to be most difficult/frustrating about having dyslexia?

SF: Organization and memorizing lists!

SCHOOL SUPPLIES: What has been most helpful for you?

SF: Support from family and friends is crucial, and assistive technologies have helped me, as well. I can’t imagine taking notes in class without my Livescribe pen!

SCHOOL SUPPLIES: What advice do you have for kids who have dyslexia and other learning differences?

SF: Never give up! Believe in yourself! Find peers who will support you; it makes a huge difference. School may be difficult at times, but just remember: dyslexia is a learning advantage that the schools are not yet equipped to handle.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES: What have you learned from your experience with “Dyslexic Kids?”

SF: The world is filled with brilliant, creative and talented children and teens who happen to have dyslexia. When they are given the right support and encouragement, they accomplish greatness.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
SF: Dyslexic Kids has a website (DyslexicKids.net) and we are on most social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest and WordPress. I publish news and information across those networks most workdays. I offer free tutoring, and the support group has monthly meetings and field trips. I also host an annual Dyslexia Symposium that is free and open to the public with speakers and demonstrations.

New Group for Boys Ages 11-13 in NYC

Does your child have trouble making or keeping friends? Is he anxious in social situations? Is he bullied in school? Copewithschool’s group for boys 11-13 (grades 6-8) can help! Click here for details.