LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - About one-in-five people are dyslexic, but there is only one full-time school in Arkansas that's committed to teaching children with dyslexia.
The Hannah School is a one-of-a-kind school for children with dyslexia. The children they teach usually enroll for a year or two, get remedial training and then head back to their original school.
The problem is, they need more space, and are appealing for the public's help.
"These children need a different type of education, so we have been able to provide that for them,” said Melissa Hannah.
When she opened the Hannah School four years ago, she was teaching four students inside her garage. This August, they're expecting 47 students.
"We haven't done any advertising. We don't advertise other than our Facebook posts and word of mouth. I've actually been a little afraid to do that because I have a very hard time telling kids 'no' when they need our help,” Hannah said.
It operates as a private school, with a focus on helping kids with dyslexia learn to read. This allows them to avoid the standardized testing and other requirements of public and charter schools.
While each public school in Arkansas is required to provide services to children with dyslexia, Hannah says that's often not enough.
"The intensity that some of the kids need, it's just not possible in an average school day,” she said.
Many students rely upon the Succeed Scholarship program to afford the services and keep the school running.
That scholarship is awarded to students with disabilities in order to attend an eligible private school.
"It has opened up a funding source. There's no funding source for dyslexia intervention. So, even if you're getting services outside of your school, that cost adds up very quickly,” Hannah said of the cost.
The Hannah School currently operates out of Markham Street Baptist Church, but they are looking for something a little more permanent, and are hoping to acquire a building about 20-25,000 square feet.
Hannah says the idea of buying is nerve-wracking because they don't know how to anticipate future growth, and leasing comes with its own challenges.
"We've found several locations, but they're just extremely expensive. We are a very small operation. We want to be wise with our finances Some of them, for leasing, is just outside what we can spend."
If you are interested in donating space or funds to the Hannah School, you can contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.