Yes, Virginia, There Is Dyslexia

*Thank you Virginia O'Hanlon, for your 1897 Santa Claus letter to the New York Sun — and to Francis Pharcellus Church for the editorial you wrote in response. You inspired this article. (And  yes, Francis, many of these words are yours. Good never  goes bad.)  

DEAR EDITOR: I am 46 years old.
Some educators and lawyers say there is no Dyslexia.
My research makes me say, ‘If you see it in your child it’s so.’
Please tell me the truth; is there Dyslexia?

~Virginia Parent

Virginia, the educators and lawyers are wrong. They have been affected by ignorance. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.

They see a first grade boy who walks around when it is time to read and assume him to have attention struggles.

They see a ninth grade girl with good grades and assume her to be lazy.

They know not of what they speak, Virginia, for they only believe what they perceive, rather than what is real.

Yes, Virginia, there is Dyslexia. Dyslexia exists in one out of five children as certainly as do school divisions that deny a child an evaluation for special education three times between first and sixth grades, and as certainly as do parents who pay for private evaluations, only to find their child reading on a third grade level at the end of sixth grade.

Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Dyslexia. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginia. There would be no ignorant educators, no principals advising staff members not to leave a paper/e-mail trail, no children crying, suffering stress headaches, thinking themselves dumb. We should have no advocacy and the constant cash flow to school division lawyers would be extinguished.

Not believe in Dyslexia! You might as well not believe in corruption! You might get all the researchers and parents in the world to look for Dyslexia, but what would that prove? Nobody sees Dyslexia, but that is no sign that there is no Dyslexia. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the school division’s budget and see what funds for special education are inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is little else as real and abiding.

No Dyslexia! Dyslexia lives, and Dyslexia lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, Dyslexia will continue to impact childhood.

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