Learning Ally Blog: Access and Achievement

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Now more than ever, people with learning and visual disabilities are flourishing in the classroom, launching productive careers and becoming assets in their communities. This blog spotlights remarkable individuals who demonstrate that having a visual or print disability is no barrier to educational success.


"I Am an Independent Learner"
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Learning Ally member Dwight Kelly As an undergraduate student at Sarah Lawrence College pursuing the creative arts and disability studies, Dwight Richardson Kelly works tirelessly to be an active voice for the dyslexic and alternative learning communities in the New York City area. He's also a persuasive spokesperson for Learning Ally, as this personal testimonial shows. Most people stop getting read to by their parents before they enter grade school. I was different. Due to my dyslexia, my mother read to me constantly through my freshman year of high school. The only reason for this change was the introduction of Learning Ally into my life. I had long craved the independence that my peers enjoyed when it came to accessing the written word, but prior to being introduced to Learning Ally, my mother was literally one of my only means by which to access the material I needed to read for my education. As you can imagine, Learning Ally was therefore something of a revelation, breathing new hope into my entire educational experience and providing me with freedom to access the previously elusive world of language. For the first time in my life, access to written language was not a chore. Before Learning Ally, I had been extremely apprehensive about my ability to succeed in college and beyond. But assistive technologies helped me envision and work towards this future. For the first time in my life, I could read independently, on my own time and without the help of anyone. For the first time in my life, access to written language was not a chore. I began reading for pleasure and exploring subjects I never imagined exposing myself to. Now, as a second year college student, I find it difficult to imagine my future without such vital services. Because of the equal access afforded by this wonderful service, I am an independent learner equipped with the tools to pursue my strong passion for learning.  I believe that dyslexia is a condition that bequeaths both challenges as well as gifts on its carriers. But without accommodation the challenges can easily overshadow the potential contained within all individuals with dyslexia. For me, Learning Ally has played a key role in both overcoming the changes and unlocking the potential of my learning difference. I will be forever grateful. Since giving his first presentation on his experiences with dyslexia four years ago, Dwight has addressed multiple audiences on dyslexia, dyslexia and creativity, and other topics related to learning disabilities and education. In recent years, he has worked as a counselor at the Rocky Mountain Camp for Dyslexic Kids in Denver, Colorado. This summer, Dwight will be working in Washington, DC on disability related issues as part of an internship with the American Association of People with Disabilities.


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