Mary De Angelo is used to working for people with disabilities. She sits on her county’s disability commission, for starters. She’s helped out at her daughter’s school for kids with dyslexia. And she’s involved with an ongoing project for local artists with disabilities.
But on March 18, De Angelo took her commitment to a whole new level. She went to the Maryland statehouse in Annapolis. Her mission? To urge lawmakers to support two bills about dyslexia. The bills aim to identify kids with earlier and provide better training for teachers.
De Angelo, a writer and editor, went to the statehouse as part of Dyslexia Advocacy Day in Annapolis. The event was created by the group Decoding Dyslexia. She joined with other parents to educate lawmakers about dyslexia.
“I think we brought some awareness that kids have to be identified at an early age,” De Angelo says. “We definitely made an impression.”
Her 13-year-old daughter Nina was so excited about the event that she came, too. “She had a great time talking to our state senators and delegates,” De Angelo says. “She spoke from a student’s perspective and did a fantastic job.”
De Angelo’s journey as an advocate began five years ago, when she found out her daughter has dyslexia. Nina was in second grade at the time. De Angelo enrolled her in a school for kids with dyslexia.
After that, a spot opened on the County Commission on Disability Issues. De Angelo applied and got the position. Today she serves as vice co-chair.
De Angelo went on to organize Artists Without Limits. The annual exhibit for artists with disabilities is now in its fourth year. This year’s show kicked off April 16 with an opening night gala. The exhibit runs through June 30.
Since De Angelo’s trip, one of the bills has passed in the state Senate. Now advocacy is in her blood. She encourages other parents to get involved. And she urges them to speak out, too. “Every voice is important—especially when it comes to getting help for our children,” she says.
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Geri Coleman Tucker is a freelance writer and editor and a former deputy managing editor for