Not every struggling reader is dyslexic, but every dyslexic child struggles to read. If your child is a year or more behind in reading it is important to find out if your child’s reading struggle is a sign of dyslexia. About 20% of the population is dyslexic. That means that approximately 1 child out of every 5, in every classroom, is dyslexic. There is not enough professional development targeted on noticing signs of dyslexia or how to teach reading to dyslexic students. Many dyslexic students “fly under the radar” until about 3rd (or 4th) grade when they seem to hit a wall. This is when students are expected to read to learn (reading grade level content like science, history, etc.) and are no longer taught to read (explicit and direct reading instruction). If a child is “well behaved” many times parents are told, “she’s fine, the reading will just click for her!” Or “He’s such a good boy, but he’s just not trying, he’s lazy.” Additionally, many dyslexic students are also gifted and create strategic coping mechanisms to survive in school. Once 3rd (or 4th) grade comes, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up, academically. In turn, this struggle impacts self-confidence and self-esteem. Unfortunately, it is only when children are failing miserably or exhibit outstanding behavior problems, that they get help from schools. Even then, the interventions are not always designed specifically for dyslexic learners. If you have a hunch about your child or if YOU yourself are dyslexic (it’s hereditary), don’t use the wait and see approach. We teach the way they learn. We can help dyslexic children learn to read. The sooner, the better is the best method for early reading intervention.
What is Dyslexia?
- A language based specific learning disability
- A cluster of symptoms that result in difficulty with reading, writing and spelling
- Neurological in origin. Reading is primarily an auditory-language processing task in the brain. The brain of a Dyslexic individual is wired differently than non-Dyslexics; different areas of the brain are activated during reading.
- Prevalent: 10-20% of individuals struggle with Dyslexia. In a classroom of 30, as many as 3-6 children may have Dyslexia.
“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”
Adopted by the IDA Board of Directors, Nov. 12, 2002. Many state education codes, have adopted this definition.
Who has Dyslexia?
- 80% of SLD students are dyslexic
- 1 in 5 people are dyslexic
- Dyslexia occurs in people of all backgrounds and intellectual levels.
- Dyslexia runs in families; parents with dyslexia are very likely to have children with dyslexia.
- 90% of dyslexic students are not receiving ESE services. They “slip between the cracks”.
Signs of Dyslexia?
- Delayed speech
- Trouble with directionality
- (left vs. right, b, d, p, q)
- Late establishing dominant hand
- Difficulty learning to tie shoes
- Close family member with dyslexia
- Can’t create words that rhyme
- Mixing up sounds
- Laborious writing and reading
- Terrible spelling
- Trouble telling time
- Difficulty Learning letters and their sounds
- Organizing written and spoken language
- Not reading quickly enough to comprehend
- Persisting with and comprehending longer reading assignments
- Difficulty learning a foreign language
- Difficulty mastering math facts
- Difficulty w/ multi-step directions
- Weak short term memory
- Strength in long term memory
- Trouble with sight words and articles (the, is, of, a, these, those, saw, was)
- Can pass a spelling test, but forgets the words weeks (or days) later
- Skips or guesses words in passages
- Chronic ear infections
- Did not crawl
How does a Dyslexic child learn to read?
- Dyslexia is a lifelong condition that will not be “fixed’.
- With proper help, many people with dyslexia can learn to read and write well.
- Early identification and treatment is the key to helping individuals with dyslexia achieve in school and in life.
- People with dyslexia need help from a teacher, tutor, or therapist specially trained in using a multisensory, structured language approach.
- systematic, explicit and multisensory method that involves several senses (hearing, seeing, touching) at the same time.
- one-on-one help so that they can move forward at their own pace.
- structured practice and immediate, corrective feedback to develop automatic word recognition skills.
- It is helpful if their outside academic therapists work closely with classroom teachers.
What about Broward County Public Schools?
- FLDOE passed a mandate about Dyslexia awareness. Broward schools has a Dyslexia Task Force. Literacy coaches at Broward County Schools are attending monthly forums to recognize warning signs and to learn strategies and accommodations. They will, in turn, train the faculty. All teachers must receive information by the end of January as part of the mandate.
- Good News? They are catching up!
- Bad News? They have a long road ahead.