As the sound of cheers drifted from J.R. Richards Gymnasium, where the Dons were trouncing Dos Pueblos in basketball, hundreds came to see Dislecksia: The Movie at Santa Barbara High’s theater, on a Friday night yet. Guests were Spanish and English speaking, a couple in their seventies who shared what a burden it had been to be undiagnosed for a long time, a Baby Boomer who suggested it was a teaching disability, not a learning one. But teachers, tutors, administrators, and school and city officials were there, too, to learn more about a subject that’s widely misunderstood.

After the entertaining, informative, and sometimes emotional 84-minute movie, a lively panel discussion, led by the film’s director, Harvey Hubbell, aroused statements of painful individual issues; questions about politics, policies, and legalities; the sad link between 3rd-grade reading levels and the number of prison cells; the need for early identification of students with possible learning differences; the hope in the knowledge that one person advocating for a child can make a real difference.

One in five individuals is affected by the hereditary and unique neurological brain wiring that is characteristic of dyslexia. Friday night was just the beginning of making Santa Barbara a more aware, more connected, more dyslexia-friendly community. Thanks to all who attended and to sponsors Santa Barbara Unified School District, S.B. Education Foundation, and Kirby Jones Family Foundation. If you would like to get involved, please contact me at


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