Helping All Keiki Read

By Margaret Higa, executive director, Hawaii branch of the International Dyslexia Association

Imagine your daughter coming home from school in tears, saying, “I’m not smart anymore.” Her teacher says, “If she would only apply herself …” But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t read like other kids. Your child may have dyslexia.

Hawaii Branch of the International Dyslexia Association (HIDA) is a nonprofit that has been serving Hawaii for nearly 30 years to increase awareness of dyslexia, provide support for dyslexics, families and educators, and improve literacy instruction for struggling readers with research-validated methods.

People with dyslexia are intelligent, but science has shown that their brains process language differently. They can have great difficulty reading, writing, and organizing and expressing their thoughts clearly. Children with dyslexia often struggle in school. There is no cure for dyslexia, but with appropriate teaching methods, children with dyslexia can learn to read and write, and ultimately reach their potential.

It is estimated that up to 20 percent of the population demonstrates characteristics of dyslexia or other reading disabilities, including as many as 278,000 people in Hawaii. Individuals with dyslexia include extraordinarily successful people such as Dr. Richard Kelley (Outrigger Hotels Hawaii), comedian and businessman Andy Bumatai and filmmaker Steven Spielberg.

Please support HIDA programs at its fundraiser April 18 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at Pearl Ultralounge. Enjoy pupus, drinks, auctions and entertainment by Danny Carvalho. Tickets cost $50 in advance, or $60 at the door. For more information and tickets, visit, call 538-7007 or email