10 year old uses personal testimony to advocate for Wisconsin’s first dyslexia legislation

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- A 10 year old is taking his struggle with dyslexia to fight for Wisconsin’s first dyslexia legislation.

Nathan Mandeville is a fifth grader with dyslexia, but with hard work, he is reading at a sixth grade level.

Nathan Mandeville still gets sad when he thinks about how difficult reading used to be.

“Everybody was reading way better than me, and I saw other people read better than me,” Nathan said. “And I thought I wasn’t fitting in.”

He said that in third grade, he read at a kindergarten level. Now in the fifth grade, Nathan is “proud” to be reading at a sixth grade level.

Nathan found personal growth, and he is hoping a new state law could help other kids like him.

The bill, now awaiting a full Senate hearing, would create a committee that would write a guidebook on dyslexia as a resource for teachers.

Nathan testified before the Senate education committee in August.

"It was really cool to be a little advocate and really support a huge bill that would make a really big difference of kids with dyslexia’s learning," Nathan said.

"It's crazy to see how big of a proponent he is for his dyslexia," Nathan’s teacher Andrew Bohnsack said.

He attributed Nathan’s literary success to his hard work: “It’s pretty inspiring to see a kiddo who’s 10 years old take his learning into his own hands like that."

One in five students in the United States has a language-based learning disability, and dyslexia is the most common in the category.

Dyslexia is a life-long struggle. UW Health says early treatment during childhood can help, as well as support from family, teachers and friends.