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Morning Brief: Dyslexia Series, New 6th Street Bridge, Everyday People Party

Two rows of books in a library are shown in close-up. The silhouette of a student wearing a backpack can be seen at the end of the row.
(Redd on Unsplash)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Monday, July 11.

Can you imagine seeing some of the letters on this newsletter as backwards or upside down? Or maybe seeing the text appearing to jump around on the page? Or not telling the difference between some letters?

I know I cannot imagine how this must feel.

Today’s topic is one that is especially important to me as someone who used to be a teacher and had several students with special education needs: learning disabilities. And did you know that as much as 20 percent of the U.S. population has dyslexia? That makes it the most common learning disability. Children and adults with dyslexia can learn to read with early screening, early diagnosis, early evidence-based reading intervention and appropriate accommodations, BUT if people don’t have the support that they need, it could have life-altering repercussions. Researchers have found connections between reading disabilities and the school-to-prison pipeline.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom is dyslexic, and has pushed for more support for dyslexic students. But the state is hands-off in its approach to helping dyslexic students. So, how well are dyslexic students in Southern California able to be screened and supported, from a young age all the way through college? How does this support vary according to race and income?

All month long in August, our education team will take you through a series of stories that show how dyslexia affects students in Southern California throughout the education continuum — from early childhood to higher education.

Before we explore this even deeper, we want to hear from you. Are you a K-12 or college student that has dyslexia? Are you a parent of a student who has dyslexia or are you dyslexic yourself? Do you teach or provide educational services to students with dyslexia? We’d appreciate it if you fill out our survey.

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We’ve already heard from a couple of people so far, like Katie, a parent of a child who is dyslexic.

My oldest child was 7 years old when she was diagnosed with dyslexia. We paid for a private psycho-educational assessment to have her diagnosed. When we went to the school when she was in kindergarten with concerns about her reading, the principal told us that some kids don't learn to read until 5th or 6th grade and that is fine. They told us that she was meeting all on grade level standards and she was doing fine. This is despite the fact that by the end of kindergarten she only knew four of her letters and their sounds.” 

There are a lot more stories like this — of parents feeling shrugged off by school districts, struggling to navigate bureaucracy, paying a lot of money for tests. One mother even sent her child to a camp in Kentucky because she couldn't find enough support in her local school district.

Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks and please share your stories with us.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below the fold.

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What Else You Need To Know Today

  • The new 6th Street bridge was unveiled this weekend. The crew that built the bridge was one of the largest female crews of any public works projects in the nation, according to officials. Councilmember Kevin de León said he hopes the bridge will be as iconic to L.A. as the Hollywood sign or Griffith Observatory.
  • Starting today, health officials in L.A. County are broadening the eligibility for monkeypox vaccines to include more high-risk groups, in addition to those who have already tested positive or been exposed to monkeypox.
  • If you, like me, love working out of cafes and have already made your way through our crowd-sourced list of the best neighborhood coffee shops in L.A., here’s a new challenge for you: LA Taco has a list of Latino-owned coffee shops to try. 
  • LISTEN: In case you need some Monday Motivation, the latest episode of Snooze is out today. It’s a podcast where host Megan Tan helps you do the things you’ve been putting off since forever, by just asking yourself, “Why?” 
  • Many of us know that setting boundaries is good for our mental health in theory, but find it hard to do in practice. Here’s how to change that.

Before You Go...ICYMI People Were Outside!

The sun beginning to set over the downtown L.A. skyline and the newly constructed 6th Street Viaduct.
The 6th Street Viaduct connecting Boyle Heights with downtown L.A. is scheduled to reopen July 9 and 10th.
(Raquel Natalicchio for LAist )

For the next couple of weeks, we’ll be doing something a little different here in our newsletter. Yep, that’s right. I’m adding a special little pizzazz. Every day, I’ll have a special theme for the Before You Go section. I'd like to hear your feedback. Please email me and let me know what you think of my ideas.

On Mondays, I’m bringing you what was trending on social media in L.A. Let’s check on Twitter to see what was popping this weekend in the city of Angelenos.

Everyday People 

Okay, if you don’t know by now, I LOVE to party with beautiful, melanated people. Yesterday, I went to the Everyday People day party, a live, cultural music event experience that started in New York City in 2012. It’s designed to celebrate Blackness and the African diaspora. It’s a welcome safe space for ALL identities to just enjoy and have a good time. I always see celebrities when I go there. Janelle Monáe is usually hanging out at EP. I’ve seen Diddy, Sarunas Jackson, Jidenna and a couple of the actors from Bel-Air there before. Yesterday, I chatted up with my girl Ari Lennox (this was my second time meeting her. If I meet her a third time, we definitely need to be homies).

CicLAvia 

Three miles of Western Avenue in South L.A. were closed to car traffic and open for walkers, skaters and bikers for CicLAvia this past Sunday. This was an event that allows people to experience a free, easy way to get around the city without the safety and environmental dangers that cars bring. Check out this really cool vehicle!

6th Street Bridge 

Guess what’s now open, my friends? The largest bridge project in the city’s history: The 6th Street Viaduct! It connects the Arts District to Boyle Heights. The last bridge was shut down in 2016 due to concerns that the old bridge wouldn’t withstand an earthquake. The grand opening of the new bridge was on Friday evening. Here’s some photos of the bridge.

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