Reading issues are frustrating for both children and parents. If your child is struggling and you have concerns about dyslexia, this post covers signs of dyslexia and effective treatment options.
What is Dyslexia?
I am often asked by parents to assess their child for dyslexia. This process usually leads to a discussion about the nature of dyslexia and how a parent can help.
‘Dyslexia’ vs a ‘Learning Disability’
Dyslexia (disorder of reading) and Dysgraphia (disorder of writing) are two conditions that are often labeled by school districts, more generally as a “Specific Learning Disability”. In fact, over 90% of students classified as having a ‘Specific Learning Disability’ (and given an IEP) are classified as such because they have dyslexia.
Dyslexia is almost always inherited; if a child has dyslexia, there is about a 50/50 chance at least one parent has the issue as well.
More than just a reading disorder
Dyslexia is, essentially, a problem decoding words. Think of reading as a process of sounding out letters that are arranged in a particular order; like deciphering a code. Children with dyslexia have a weakness in that ability. However, these kiddo’s are, at the same time, quite intelligent and capable, but struggle with that specific task of sounding out words. Interestingly, dyslexia, more broadly, is also a problem with the processing of language; kids have difficulty processing the sequence of sounds that comprise spoken words. Consequently, you get words like “psghetti” and “amninal.” These kiddos sometimes genuinely don’t ‘hear’ themselves saying the words incorrectly so it’s difficult for them to self-correct. Moreover, they also struggle with visually processing specific sounds. Consequently, they may read “gut” for “glut” and so on.
The foundation of treatment
All of the effective strategies are based on a ‘multi-sensory’ approach that incorporates, in the learning process, visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic senses. In that respect, a child may be shown the word, asked to say the word, hear it spoken by the teacher, write the word on paper, and write the word or letter (using his finger) on a rough surface. Consequently, the child is receiving varied feedback (visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic) regarding how that word looks, sounds, feels, and is written. The Orton-Gillingham approach is commonly used and incorporates this multi-sensory approach.
Practice makes perfect
Moreover, a productive practice-strategy is to read a selected book to your child, then ask your child to read to you. Use your index or pointer finger to track each word from left to right as you read. Pause for punctuation so your child will learn prosody, and to allow your child to catch their breath before beginning the next sentence. As reading skills improve, ask your child to read aloud to you, reminding them to use their index finger and pause for punctuation.
Get help at DyslexiaTreaters.com
Check-out our online tutoring program at the Dyslexia Diagnostic and Treatment Center. We have Reading Specialists who are Certified in the treatment of dyslexia, and knowledgeable in Orton-Gillingham approaches. Our sessions are available online and are very reasonably priced at $30.00 a session. Our goal is to also offer you guidance and strategies to help your child throughout the week.
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