Written by Dr. John Carosso
'Dyslexia' does not have to mean 'disability'
If your child has a reading disorder, better known as dyslexia, it's vital you understand the underpinnings of the problem and where to turn for help. In that respect, you and your child need to know that the problem does not reside with him or her, but with our educational system that does not seem to recognize that these kiddos with dyslexia do not have a "disability" and need not be segregated and placed into 'special education.' Instead, what they need is for our educational system to come out of the dark ages and recognize that students should not be pigeon-holed and all instructed in the same fashion. In that respect, some kids read better using their eyes, some do better listening with their ears, some do better reading with their finger, what difference does it make as long as the information is learned?
The Answer: Let's not be rigid with the 'eye-reading only' mentality
The fact is that most kids with moderate to severe dyslexia will never read (with their eyes) on grade-level, that's just the way it is. However, many of the kids in the lowest reading group, who subsequently feel miserable about themselves, have a better vocabulary and conversational skills, are brighter, more creative, more inquisitive, and are better problem-solvers than the bulk of the students in the highest reading group. How about we do away with these antiquated grouping of kids and teach children in ways that meet their needs and adapt to their individualized styles of learning. It should be common practice that, in every classroom, a portion of kids learn via traditional teaching, but others use technology such as the intel reader, kindel, and voice recognition software to complete assignments. This way, no one is made to feel 'stupid' or inferior; and everyone is learning, achieving, and earning good grades but they're doing it in ways unique to their learning styles. Wouldn't that be something!!
Eye-Reading vs Ear-Reading vs Finger Reading
Think of it this way; here's a scenario: a fourth grade girl who is blind "reads" with her finger (braille) at a 6th grade level. Does the fact that she is using her finger to read make her reading ability any less valid? In the same respect, is a child with dyslexia, using his ears to read, any less of a reader? We need to re-think what it means to read, learn, and achieve.
By the way, a wonderful resources is the book: The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan, by Glen Foss. He also created the Intel Reader, which turns any written text into an audible format. Check it out.
Learning to Eye-Read
This is not to say that you should abandon attempts to help your child learn to eye-read. Of course there will need to be ongoing teaching using the Orton-Gillingham method. However, at the same time, ear-reading is also used and your child should be taught to master the technology that ultimately will be used throughout his or her academic career.
Hope you found this to be helpful. I'd love to read your comments; post them on my facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/dr.johncarosso