Did you know that 1 in 10 people have symptoms of dyslexia, including slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, poor writing or mixing up similar words? Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability and contrary to some beliefs, it is not due to either lack of intelligence or a desire to learn.
Despite federal and state laws guaranteeing that public schools must provide a “free and appropriate” education to ALL students, it simply doesn’t happen for most children with dyslexia. The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) is changing this by better informing parents and ensuring that teachers across the country are trained in a structured literacy approach. With a structured literacy approach, individuals with dyslexia can and do learn successfully.
Structured Literacy describes highly organized, carefully sequenced and cumulative instruction of the basic language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students systematically and explicitly learn the structure and use of sounds, syllables, words, sentences, and written discourse.
In honor of National Dyslexia Awareness Month in October, IDA would like to set the record straight about dyslexia and let families know that help is available.
Dyslexia occurs in people of all backgrounds and intellectual levels. People who are very bright can have dyslexia. They are more often capable or even gifted in areas that do not require strong language skills, such as art, computer science, design, drama, electronics, math, mechanics, music, physics, sales and sports.
Dyslexia is not simply “reading backwards.” Some of the warning signs associated with dyslexia include:
-Difficulty learning to speak
-Trouble learning letters and their sounds
-Difficulty organizing written and spoken language
-Trouble memorizing number facts
-Difficulty reading quickly enough to comprehend
-Trouble persisting with and comprehending longer reading assignments
-Trouble learning a foreign language
-Difficulty correctly doing math operations
Parents who suspect that their child might be exhibiting signs of dyslexia or another language-based learning difference are encouraged to take action as soon as they suspect a problem. The earlier a child receives intervention the sooner he or she can get on the path to successful learning.
What to do if your child is exhibiting signs of dyslexia:
1. Contact your child’s teacher, head of school, guidance counselor or pediatrician and express your concerns.
2. Request a formal evaluation of your child by a professional or request a referral for testing to confirm a diagnosis of dyslexia or another language-based learning difference.
3. Visit the International Dyslexia Association’s website www.interdys.org for an online screener, fact sheets and helpful resources for parents.
4. Be an advocate for your child. If your child is diagnosed as having dyslexia, fight for proper accommodations in his or her current school or look into specialized schools or tutors. Information and resources can be found on the IDA’s website.
5. Keep a positive attitude. A diagnosis of dyslexia or another learning difference is not the end of the world. Children with dyslexia are bright, capable and able to go on to college and successful careers. If your child has dyslexia it simply means that he or she learns differently. Many top CEOs, scientists, artists and entrepreneurs have dyslexia.
Not all students who have difficulties with these skills have dyslexia. Formal testing of reading, language, and writing skills is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of suspected dyslexia.
The IDA’s world renowned experts in the fields of education, science, medicine and advocacy are available to discuss dyslexia warning signs, prevalence, treatment options, scientific advances and other issues related to dyslexia, and we can easily arrange to have families available throughout the United States to speak about their own struggles with dyslexia.
The International Dyslexia Association is a non-profit, scientific, and educational organization dedicated to the study and treatment of dyslexia as well as related language-based learning disabilities. The IDA operates 42 branches throughout the United States and Canada and has global partners in 20 countries, including Australia, Brazil, England, Germany, Ireland and Japan