Jonathan MooneyFeb. 5, 2018 - Author, activist and Brown University honors graduate Jonathan Mooney didn’t learn to read until he was 12.

Labeled “profoundly learning disabled,” and “dyslexic,” Mooney was terrified of reading, especially reading aloud in class.

“I had a plan for suicide when I was 12 years old,” Mooney said during a TEDx talk. “Many things brought me to that place in my life. I struggled in school. I was the kid who spent most of the day chilling in the hall with the janitor.”

Mooney went on to graduate with an honors degree in Literature and has written three books, so far. Mooney has conducted presentations in 49 states and five countries and been interviewed in national and international media outlets such as NBC, ABC, HBO and the New York Times.

Mooney will discuss how he went from sixth grade dropout to Ivy League graduate at CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI)’s Grand Salon on Tuesday, Feb. 13 from 4 to 6 p.m.  The public is also invited to attend the presentation.

“Learning Outside the Lines: Strategies for Parents, Students and Teachers” will start with Mooney’s presentation, after which he will spend time answering questions about inclusion, the marginalization of those with disabilities, and what societal changes can be made.

“In high school I was one of ‘those kids’ who had such a hard time reading, and specifically a tortuous time reading out loud.  I spent most of my high school experience in the bathroom hiding so I wouldn’t have to read out loud, with tears streaming down my face,” Mooney said during another presentation on another college campus.

The presentation is sponsored by the University’s Wellness & Athletics program, fulfilling a desire President Erika D. Beck had to bring Mooney to the campus. In keeping with the University’s commitment to inclusion, Beck wanted the students to hear from someone who is able to reframe a learning disability into an asset rather than a deficit.

“It is profoundly important for students with learning challenges to see that those challenges can be overcome, and that they are capable of achieving their greatest potential.” Beck said. “It is also invaluable for our entire academic community to learn strategies that will help students succeed in school and beyond.”

Associate Vice President of Student Affairs/Wellness & Athletics Ed Lebioda agrees.

“This is in line with our aim of working for greater awareness on this campus of the visible and invisible disabilities of students,” Lebioda said. “A student could be on the autism spectrum, have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or dyslexia. Our services are intended to level the playing field.”

Understanding that some students process information differently is in tune with CSUCI’s commitment to diversity.

“His neurodiversity is diversity, but from a different angle,” Lebioda said. “The more we know about the diverse challenges, the more support and compassion we can provide.”

Limited parking is available on campus with the purchase of a $6 daily permit; follow signs to the parking permit dispensers. Free parking is available at the Camarillo Metrolink Station/Lewis Road with bus service to and from the campus.  Riders should board the CSUCI Vista Bus to the campus; the cash-only fare is $1.25 each way. Buses arrive and depart from the Camarillo Metrolink Station every 30 minutes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. For exact times, check the schedule at www.goventura.org