Red Square Pegs was established to empower dyslexics by embracing dyslexia through awareness and shared experiences and to be a symbol of acceptance, pride, and confidence.

What’s behind the name?

Red is the color for dyslexia awareness.
Square Pegs reminds us—we were made to stand out.

Meet The Team

Valerie J. LeMaistre

Founder, Red Square Pegs

Valerie is a wife, mother, dyslexic, an advocate for dyslexia awareness, author, and founder of Red Square Pegs—among other things!

Her dyslexia story is a few decades long, but the real journey started for her in early 2019. She spent much of her life not understanding her learning difference which kept her from fully knowing who she was and influenced how she showed up in the world, relationships, and for herself.

Through her younger self’s eyes, dyslexia was an unnamed stranger that made her believe parts of her were broken—something she accepted—a weight carried for way too long.

As she got older, Val experienced successes of her own, but in many ways held herself back, unsure she was fully capable or scared of what she believed was the unavoidable certainty of failure. She became an expert at masking challenges and hiding pieces of who she was—strong on the outside, but every day conflicted with the internal battle of not feeling good enough and terrified of being discovered—mortified when she was.

Now a mother of two young boys, both diagnosed with dyslexia in 2019, Val chose to seek understanding and knowledge. It started with Google searches, which led to seminars and conferences, and then classes that dug deep. A mountain of information and data shifted her thinking around dyslexia.

Coming to the realization that awareness is key, she became empowered and wanted others struggling with the challenges of dyslexia to experience the freedom of shedding misconceptions and stigmas by connecting to the facts. As a result, Red Square Pegs was born. With the motto Made to Stand Out, Val strives to empower dyslexics by embracing dyslexia.

R.J. Risueño


R.J. (he/him/his) is a speech-language pathologist and doctoral student in the Speech and Hearing Sciences program at Arizona State University. His passion for dyslexia is centered on ensuring that children of all cultural and linguistic backgrounds are provided equitable access to reading assessments and interventions. For five years, he has studied, volunteered, and worked in various capacities to help make literacy opportunities equitable and accessible to all children. R.J.’s volunteer experience has ranged from the micro level, where he organized the donation of 2,000 books to a preschool for low-income families, to the macro level, where he served on the state association board of speech-language pathologists and audiologists. He currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona where he enjoys reading books, spending time with friends, and laughing.

Whitney Gombert


Whitney (she/her/hers) is a fully certified speech-language pathologist who received her Master’s degree in Communication Disorders from Arizona State University. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences from the University of Arizona with a minor in Special Education Rehabilitation Programs and Spanish. Whitney completed a graduate internship and Clinical Fellowship at a dyslexia clinic. During her time there, she developed skills for evaluating and providing intensive treatment for individuals with dyslexia. She initially became interested in working with these individuals after seeing how it affected her family members and the difference that effective treatment made in their lives. She now works in a public school district to provide services to elementary aged children with a variety of communication needs. Whitney’s other passions include baking, reading, and spending time with her loved ones-especially her rescue bunny, Chai Bun Latte.