Kristin Paxton, Founding Mama Bear

Winfield, IL

Board of Directors

Jackie Svara, Director

Plainfield, IL

Our DBN Cards and Award of Excellence Ribbons are a huge hit. Mailed with personalized messages of  "great job, we are proud of you!"

Jill Feitl, Director

Wheaton, IL

Our mission

Our mission is to connect, inspire and empower kids in Illinois with dyslexia! Within our first two years, we've held 10 Champion Chats with speakers whose personal stories of dyslexia inspire the kids, and 15 social meet-ups, including a sleep away camp. We've produced a short film "What I Wish Teachers Knew About Dyslexia" which has been watched more than 42,000 times, and have written a guide "How to Build a Dyslexia Youth Group."  And in Fall 2016, the Dyslexia Buddy Network became a 501(c)3 organization.


How it all started ... 


In the summer of 2014, I had a strong Mommy Intuition that my six year old son was dyslexic. Because he is a twin, I had a control version to compare him to, otherwise I wouldn't have known. I remember sitting on the couch reading a sight word book first with Jake, who easily decoded words. Mason tried as hard as he could, but couldn't remember the same word from one page to the next. He said, "Mommy, don't tell me, I'm going to try again." He stared at the words. I could see in his eyes it was as if it was a foreign language. Later, I would learn that in 1877, dyslexia was termed "word blindness." That's what I saw in his expression in that moment, "word blindness", and it broke my heart. "Mommy, why can Jake read and I can't?"


And so it began. The intensive research, reading, watching the (few) documentaries on dyslexia, and the neuropsychological evaluations. A common theme in personal memoirs of dyslexics was the sense of isolation and shame throughout childhood. Ben Foss, the inventor of the Intel Reader, wrote in his book The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan:


"When I was growing up, I felt scared and lonely whenever I dwelled on my dyslexia...I first began to feel empowered about my dyslexia when I met other people that shared my experience...It's heartbreaking to see your child feel unworthy. The best way to address this feeling is to find a community for him or her. One of my strongest recommendations in this book is to go find other people who share your child's experience."


So my mission became to connect my son to other kids with dyslexia. And this Buddy Network was born. Thanks for visiting our site!


Kristin Paxton, Founding Mama Bear