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Published on May 24, 2019
“We knew Dustin was smart, but we knew something wasn’t right.” That’s how Arkansas dad Scott Gann describes his son’s early years in elementary school. Dustin was struggling, and Gann said teachers kept telling him that his son just “needed to grow up, boys will outgrow this.”
Dustin, now 15 and in high school, remembers that he would just “sit there and stare at a piece of paper for like five minutes, trying to understand.”
Finally in 3rd grade, Dustin told his teacher, “You know, I can’t read.” Gann calls that moment an awakening--for both the teacher and Dustin’s parents.
That summer Dustin was tested and diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning disability that makes it difficult to read and spell.
Gann said it was an uphill battle to get Dustin the help he needed from his public school, so the family hired a private tutor and moved Dustin to a private school.
“We are in a place where we can provide help--and it’s not fair for those parents who can’t provide that,” said Gann, who has turned “all the pain and lessons we learned over the years” into advocacy. He joined other Arkansas parents to push successfully for changes in state laws to define dyslexia and establish requirements for screening and intervention.