For years, Dina Gast watched her son, Seth, struggle in school. “I remember sitting and crying because I knew he had dyslexia and couldn’t get anyone to listen to me,” she said. “He spent years struggling with schoolwork, feeling frustrated and stupid. He felt so badly about himself that he struggled to make friends, talk to girls or stick up for himself at all.”
When Seth finally received a diagnosis, Dina found help through the Children’s Dyslexia Center of Canton, a program that provides free tutoring to children, ages five to 18 years old, who have dyslexia. Seth attended the center for two years, where they armed him with the tools he needed to succeed in school and in life. “Because of all the time and effort they poured into him, Seth learned to be his own advocate. He is not afraid to stand up for himself or to make sure the teachers give him the accommodations he needs,” Dina said.
After graduating from the center, Seth entered high school, where he excelled. He began writing in his spare time, authoring three science fiction books, which he hopes to one day publish. “I never thought I would be able to just get up one day and think writing would be fun,” said Seth. “I just really want other kids like me to know that anything is possible. You just need to get the help.” In June 2019, Dina’s dreams for Seth were realized as he put on his cap and gown to receive his diploma. Seth graduated from high school with honors, earning a 3.5 GPA and an academic letter. After graduation, he went on to study parks and museum education at Hocking College.
“We will always be grateful to the Children’s Dyslexia Center of Canton for all the time and effort they put into Seth. I know his current success would not be possible without the amazing tutoring he received there,” said Dina. “We were willing to share our story because we want other families to see there’s hope out there. There’s people that are willing to give to United Way and to really be the reason Seth graduated and be the reason that our family watched him graduate and watched him go off to college.”
Dyslexia is a neurological learning disability that makes it difficult for children and adults to read, write and spell. It affects up to one out of every five people and affects boys and girls equally. Funded in part by United Way of Greater Stark County, the Children’s Dyslexia Center of Canton helps children reach their full potential by providing free, one-on-one tutoring for children ages five to 18 years old.