Many years ago a principal handed me the book Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz, M.D. I can not tell you the number of times I have used the content in this book to recognize if a child has dyslexia and also to successfully help that child succeed in school.
Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level
The strengths dyslexic students possess have a common theme.
Whether a child is in kindergarten or fourth grade, students with dyslexia tend to have better critical thinking, problem solving, and comprehension of what they have read or what has been read to them. They tend to have surprisingly sophisticated vocabularies. They frequently excel in other areas in the classroom.
(If you listen to the podcast, I really go through the strengths students possess in detail and there is also a short video in the next blog post.)
The delight in a parents face when you start talking about their students strengths.
The anxiety that is relieved when a parent is told that their student has many strengths and that there is a concrete solution to their child’s problem is palpable. Many parents are fearful when they first learn that their child is dyslexic and worry that not only will their child be made fun of in the classroom or become labeled “special needs” but that their student will not get into college or be able to get a respectable job and will have reading troubles their whole lives.
If they are not displaying these strengths the problem might be a different learning disability and should be properly diagnosed.
To learn about the clues to recognizing dyslexia I highly recommend you check out Dr. Shaywitz’s book. Pages 122-125 are full of concrete examples of what problems students with dyslexia have and are followed by concrete solutions number one following a research based reading program.
My first choice for younger students is Reading Mastery but there are many quality programs out there. For older elementary students (and by older I mean 2nd grade up) I really liked Phonics for Reading by Anita Archer, James Flood, Diane Lapp, and Linda Lungren.
And always remember if you are a parent you must advocate for your child’s education. Trust your gut, work with your child’s teacher, and read, read! read!
Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success with the Secrets of the ADHD Brain
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