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Inside The Dyslexic Mind: Parents And Educators On Need For More Understanding, Support

From left, Michelle Yepez, Paula Witkowski and Sarah Bartley joined Wednesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 5 people around the world have dyslexia, a learning disorder that affects how one’s brain processes information about sounds and words. In the St. Louis region, some parents are pushing for more school resources and attention to dyslexia, and a Webster University seminar on the subject last week drew a sold-out crowd.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Webster’s Paula Witkowski, an associate professor of literacy and speech-language pathologist in the School of Education, as well as local parents Sarah Bartley and Michelle Yepez, who each have a child with dyslexia. They discussed the importance of early intervention and how people with dyslexia can thrive. The conversation also included contributions from listeners who called in to the show to share their experiences.

Take a listen:

Ahead of the show, St. Louis on the Air also spoke with Donna Gargett, who was first diagnosed with dyslexia in college. Since then, she’s founded a couple of nonprofits in North Carolina. They work with people of all ages, providing support as well as pushing for more awareness about dyslexia.

Kim Mathes, the parent of a Parkway School District third grader with dyslexia, weighed in, too. She said she’s had good conversations with her young son about both the challenges and possibilities that come with the diagnosis.


St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Tonina Saputo. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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Evie was a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
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