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Staten Island, NY
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(347) 671-9623

Welcome to Society of Dyslexia

Strategies for Dyslexia

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About Us

Laura A. Cavalleri, Founding Member

I am dyslexic and I am happy to share that with everyone.  I grew up in Brooklyn, New York where I married my dear husband Frank many years ago. We moved to Staten Island, New York fifteen years ago, when we started a family. We have two sons; Lars and James.

I have worked in various industries such as insurance/brokerage, manufacturing, and Social Services, but I am most pleased of my work as a dyslexic advocate for over the past 10 years here on Staten Island. I was a board member of the Staten Island Federation of PTAs for Academic Excellence for Dyslexia, and Corresponding Secretary from 2011 to 2013.  I was given awards for advocating for dyslexia from the Staten Island UFT, P.O.P. (Power of Parent) in 2011, and Families Together in New York State.  I also received the Albany New York Outstanding Parent Advocate Award in 2012.  I have served on my son’s public school’s PTA and SLT (School Leadership Teams) over the years, as well as attended various educational community meetings.  I have the hope that creating the Society of Dyslexia brings more than reorganization of Dyslexics; I hope that the Society of Dyslexia brings us together in such a way that it inspires great works, and benefits our communities.  I do hope to inspire many dyslexic individuals, as we are very important to the balance of life.  I have, and will continue to advocate, embrace, and share the strengths we bring to our society.  I do this for our future and the success of the Society of Dyslexia.

Ann M. Hoek, Founding Member

I was first diagnosed with dyslexia in my second year of college.  I was one of the lucky ones because the Special Services Department provided me with services which enabled me to graduate.  I ended up graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication and design, with a minor in child psychology from Pratt Institute.  I started working in promotional departments of major magazines, such as Seventeen and Redbook.  Then I became the Creative Director of the largest trade publications at that time, specializing in travel.  I worked with the biggest names in travel such as Carnival, Holland America, Auto Europe, Perillo Tours, etc.  My son was diagnosed two years earlier with dyslexia and was having a terrible time in school.  My focus had to change as he became the priority.  That was seven years ago and now he is in high school and doing fine.  So, it's time for me to start focusing on something new.  Helping the next generation of dyslexics to see the light, and that the only thing holding them back is themselves.

R. Clark Webb, Treasure

Originally from Louisiana, I moved to New York in 1984 and for the past 12 years I’ve lived in Staten Island.   I have been an IT professional for 30+ years (certified PMP, ITIL and CCM) and have worked for such companies as Software Computer Associates, Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse First Boston, Home Box Office (HBO), and PeopleSoft, and I am currently working for the MTA, often working with designing and implementing financial systems.  I will now be serving as the Treasurer of Society of Dyslexia. Having a background in IT designing, and coding and implementation of business systems, I will also be working with Ann on Website Design and implementation.  A firm believer in volunteerism, I am happily volunteering for the Society of Dyslexia to help make Laura’s vision of the organization a reality, supporting and promoting people with dyslexia, with opportunities and information.

Thomas Abenante, Secretary

I’m one of three children in my family. My older sister who is 29, and my (identical mirror) twin brother and I are both 26.  My brother and I have struggled with writing all our lives.  I always refused to write unless I was copying from somewhere, or someone was helping me.  When it came to homework, I had tons of help from my parents who are my hidden hands. Every year since kindergarten my mother would ask my teachers if anything was “wrong” with us, and the standard response was “they are very smart, just lazy and unfocused; they need to apply themselves more”.  Needless to say, I am far from “lazy” or “unfocused”.

In the 4th grade my brother and I transferred to a K-12 public school, and not until the 12th grade did it become obvious that we couldn’t graduate unless we passed the English Regents exam. With the school still denying there was even a problem, my mother refused to leave until they agreed to get us tested for learning disabilities. After minimal testing in 2008, I was diagnosed with an LD (specific type TBD) and an IQ of 120, and still managed to graduate high school on time.  When I got to college I continued to struggle, and eventually switched my major to Urban Development, something that was a bit easier for me to manage, but it did take me 6-years to graduate.

Now, though I still experience some struggles in the professional side of life, I am still finding new workarounds to help me get through the areas I am still improving in.  As I learn more tricks, I notice daily improvement.  As I am able to assist others with struggles in certain areas of their lives, I am a student myself, and learning from not just the Society of Dyslexia staff, but the good people that join our meetings.  Everything comes full circle.