Labels are Harmful

A mother called me last fall. She was frantic about her second-grade daughter refusing to go to school.

Mom told me that her daughter Kinzie was seeing a therapist who had inadequately tested her and labeled her dyslexic. Kinzie’s mom related how the therapists had intensively counseled her to celebrate her dyslexia! They read books about dyslexia and even role-played how she would share this information with her peers. As this is WAY too much information for a 7-year-old, Kinzie became withdrawn.

Unfortunately, many professionals will respond in like manner. But a student will soon figure out that this learning difference makes her feel less than her peers.

A few days later a very tearful child arrived at my office. I explained that I was a teacher and not a therapist and that she was JUST LIKE ANYONE else. I told her she most likely did not have dyslexia [went out on a limb!!!] and I could make her the best reader in her class. She brightened with HOPE!

I tested Kinzie to find she had letter reversals, weak auditory memory, and non-existant phonics. I carefully constructed a unique program to meet all of her needs. Fifty-four hours later, all reversals and auditory problems were gone! She was reading at the fourth-grade level.

Did we erase dyslexia? No! Her beginning symptoms were typical for someone who reads by sight. Her weak memory reflected her shutting down at school. A professional who has one screening instrument, limited education can have tunnel vision and diagnose from the ONE thing they claim to know. To measure the competency of screeners, ask them what kind of dyslexia your child has…you will see a blank stare and the lights go out!!! MOVE ON!

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