In today’s world, Dyslexia is thought to be a common learning disorder; it is characterized by individuals who have difficulty in reading and spelling. Other symptoms may include poor memory of spoken and written words, and a tendency to jumble or mix up letters.
While some believe dyslexics make up 20% of the population, others who are more experienced, define this disorder as very rare and tends to run in families. I stand in the latter camp and have noted that dyslexia may run from mild to very severe in the same family. True dyslexia is thought to be a life-long diagnosis. In other words, “Once a dyslexic, always a dyslexic!”
It has been my experience that the majority of students have relief of all of their symptoms with appropriate training. In the repair process, skills need to be carefully assessed, sequenced and intensified. All of this is missing in today’s educational delivery.
A few months ago, a very scared and sad second grade student came to Educational Resource Associates for testing. She had been seeing a private therapist who diagnosed her with dyslexia. The child was aware of this as she had been present with the parents during the testing report.
The therapist spent months forcing her diagnosis upon the child. She read dyslexia related books and verbally attempted to train this very sensitive youngster to “celebrate” dyslexia! Her parents reported she cried and protested this “therapy” for months. The parents were perplexed and in attempting to do the best for their daughter, sought my services.
Initial evaluations found word reversals, letter scrambling and visual tracking issues. Difficulty in auditory processing was evident. After 75 hours in systematic intensive phonics, visual training and oral language, all of these symptoms were alleviated, and her reading scored two years above grade level. She left a confident and happy child – dyslexia free!! Why??? Because she never really had it.
In addition to the dyslexia determination, a parent may hear their child also has Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, and Dysnomia. Parents may panic, but these are not brain disorders, only labels representing needed language, math and writing skills.
Recently, the State of lowa trained nearly 1000 teachers in screening for “dyslexia”. I cringe when I think of all the mislabeling and placement into special education these teacher will recommend. Its really, the kiss of death for students.
Choosing a private learning center can be overwhelming. Asking for references may be your first step. Parents need to check the credentials of an experienced and master’s degree professional who has extensive testing experience in all areas. If professionals make claims as consultants or dyslexia testers, check carefully the type of training they have and if it is a college degree, or a simple one-day workshop. This step is critical. Take the time to do the research and make the best decision possible. Going with a program that makes the most sense is always recommended. If you don’t understand it, don’t do It!
I am often asked why the United States has so many”disabled” students that fail to exist in other countries. When did this “defective student” philosophy begin? Simply put, it happened when reading approaches, became sight methods rather than intensive phonics and when “rote, recall, and drill” was abandoned by educators. Blaming the student abounds today! Moreover, increased funding to “reward” failure is a motivator in our educational system.
In closing, I share with you a very simple rule when seeking help for yourself, your children and grandchildren. “The simplest answer is usually the best, call a highly trained professional”