Xavier Student and Teacher pass a Bill for Dyslexia awareness


Maeve Jones and Libby Donaldson, Mrs. Donaldson’s youngest daughter who was diagnosed with dyslexia in the third grade, wait on the Senate floor before Jones gives her speech regarding Bill 1318. Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Shannon Donaldson.

Kyla Ferry, Class Writer

Beginning in the early levels of education, many children who have been diagnosed with dyslexia face learning environments that often do not give them the proper tools for success. Dyslexia is a learning disorder in which a person may have difficulty reading words, letters, or symbols. This disorder has no effect on one’s intelligence, yet in the classroom people who have this disorder are often treated differently. Senior Maeve Jones has taken matters into her own hands and has stood before the Senate as an advocate for Senate Bill 1318. Senate Bill 1318 is a bill that will do three very critical things in regard to education. First, it will require public and charter schools to screen all kindergarten and first grade students for the signs of dyslexia. Secondly, it will educate all teachers on the needs and different learning styles of dyslexic students, so they can have the best possible environment for school. Lastly, it will place one specialized teacher with advanced dyslexia training at each school for the students who need it. This bill will help provide an equal opportunity for every student to find success in school, no matter how they learn.

Jones was officially diagnosed with dyslexia in fourth grade, and now, as a senior at Xavier, she gave a speech in front of the Senate explaining why this dyslexia bill truly matters.  As Jones stood before the Senate she said, “Labeling dyslexia as a learning disability is inaccurate. Our capacity to grasp new concepts and perform at the highest of academic levels is by no means compromised. By enacting Senate Bill 1318, countless students will not only learn about a prominent aspect of their scholastic careers, but they will be given the tools, techniques, and support needed to thrive in any environment.”

Some students who have dyslexia are afraid to admit they need help in school. They are scared of being judged by their peers or treated differently by their teachers. However, Jones bravely stood up and gave a voice to those students who are reluctant to ask for the help they need because she believes that, “There is an unparalleled beauty in seeing a student unlock their full potential, and everyone deserves to have those experiences.”

Xavier English teacher, Mrs. Shannon Donaldson, has also played a key role in support for this bill. Mrs. Donaldson holds this cause and bill dear to her heart because her youngest daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia in the third grade. She currently serves on the Exceptional Learners Board in the diocese and as a board member in the Arizona chapter of The International Dyslexia Association. Mrs. Donaldson and Jones are both making a huge impact in the community for this cause and are inspiring the entire Xavier community!