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Compiled By: ColoradoTeach

Teacher views on what dyslexia is and isn't.

Posted by: mt

[Dyslexia] is a widely thrown-around term, and is often a face-saving term. I have taught reading to thousands of children, and have not yet had a single dyslexic child.

No one in public schools, unless they have a masters specifically in dyslexia, is qualified to prescribe remediation for dyslexia. True dyslexia must be diagnosed by a neurologist, not the school. So unless all those cum files have neurologists' diagnoses, I'm not ready to call your students dyslexic. A parent saying a child is dyslexic is NOT good enough and should never be accepted without a neurologist's diagnosis to corroborate what the parent says.

Dyslexia occurs almost exclusively within gifted populations, with a high number of dylexics somewhere on the autism spectrum (autistic kids show a disproportional representation in giftedness).

There are many different types of dylexia, depending upon where in the brain the dyslexia arises. Dsylexia can arise in Wernicke's area, which often produces dysphonetic dyslexia. It can arise in Broca's area, which can cause dyseidetic dyslexia (cannot acquire sight vocabulary). It can arise in the corpus callosuem (sp) or can be generalized across the entire cortex. All of these are very different types of dyslexia. Are these children dysphonetic dyslexics? Or dyseidetic? Or, more rarely, both? If no one in the school has asked these questions, or even knew to ask these questions, or knew there were so many different types, then I'm sorry, but it's not responsible to call these children dyslexic.

Many children have reading difficulties, some severe. They are not automatically dyslexic, nor should they be labeled as such. In fact, MOST children with reading disabilities are not dyslexic.

Adults who are functionally illiterate are fond of saying they're dyslexic. Most of them are not, either.

I do not mean to say that anyone on here with diagnosed students, or children of their own with diagnoses, are wrong. I am speaking in terms of the general classroom, and I am speaking out against widespread and irresponsible use of this term.

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dyslexia and learning disabilities
Posted by: sp.ed

The way I understand it is that dyslexia is one type of learning disability. It is a disability in the language learning area. A person might have a language, math-based, or written language disability or any combination of these.
ived resource help since 3rd grade. Although I think he's dyslexic, his IEP doesn't refer to dyslexia. I'm pursuing testing by a private psychologist in the hope it will help us understand his needs better as we move through school. LD is a large umbrella to support special needs kids. Dyslexia would fall under this umbrella but they're not the same. In my town, the school department's psychological testing doesn't delve deep enough to label a child as dyslexic. Has this mom had it confirmed that her child has dyslexia or is she "guessing?" In any case the IEP should refer to the child's needs and how she needs to be serviced. My son's IEP really does service him where he needs help. Most important dyslexic students needs extra time and maybe extra help getting words on paper and patience for incorrect spelling. Good luck.

The term "dyslexia"
Posted by: maryteach

The term "dyslexia" gets thrown around a lot, and usually in conjunction with kids who are not dyslexic at all. Not all reading disorders are dyslexia. There are many, many different types of dyslexia, each with different "symptoms." There is rarely anyone in a public school, including me, who can diagnose or successfully remediate true dyslexia on their own. That's because there are several different places within the brain where dyslexia can arise. Each type of dyslexia is entirely different from the other types. I can tell you that the dyslexic are usually very, very intelligent, even gifted, sometimes.

Anyway, you should always take it with a grain of salt when you are told, especially by a parent, that a child is dyslexic. Only a neurologist can diagnose dyslexia, and as I said, most reading disorders are NOT dyslexia. And yes, the reversal thing is very common and is actually not one of the first indicators.

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Posted by: Fran

Your student does not have 'dyslexia' if she is not having trouble reading. The term 'dyslexia' literally means, 'not reading'. What your student has is reversal problems. This is not something to be very worried about at age 6. If it continues to age 71/2 or 8, then I would worry. If you can spend a little one on one time with the child, you can concentrate on one letter at a time that she reverses and give her a stratagy to remember how to make that letter. For 'b', I drew a girl bouncing a ball. The girl was to the left and the ball was on the floor to the right. Then by tracing around the girl and the ball, it formed a 'b'. When writing 'b', I would say , "Make the girl first and then give her the ball." For 'd', it was a drum and a drummer.

Not dyslexia
Posted by: lillian

When a child can read the words but not understand, that is not dyslexia. Dyslexia is the opposite, UNLESS the child has CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder) comorbidly with the dyslexia. Dyslexics are notorious for not being able to read the word or substituting the word with a similar word yet comprehending what they are reading when reading orally. They use their strong oral comprehension skills to do this. My son's oral comprehension is in the 90th percentile. Still, he cannot hear certain sounds in a word. Middle vowels, for example, give him fits!

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Posted by: Leslie

Dyslexia is a big umbrella term for inability to read or difficulty in reading. There are many possible problems to look at. I would begin by listening to the child read and start taking notes. Can we sound out words? know vowel sounds? Do we recognize common sight words? When writing are we reversing many letters? (some are not a prob. for a 1st gr.) Does the student pick up on context clues, use pictures to tell the story? Is it a comprehension problem? I love to work with alphabet tiles and have the kids sound out words. I guess you are the scientist and you want to find out where the holes are in the learning.I might be able to help you with strategies if I knew a little more info. Good luck.

Posted by: Timanda

It's very common for kids to make certain reversals, even up through second grade. The b's and d's, 5's and 6's and 7's are reversed most often in my class. Have you tried some tactile activities? Clay is fun. Also, cutting some letters from sandpaper and having her trace them with her finger might help.

If your student is reading that well, chances are she doesn't have dyslexia. But if you're really worried, I'd talk to your school's resource teacher before you mention anything to her mom.


Posted by: Juli

Depending on what state you're in, Dyslexia may be a medical diagnostic concern. Once a proper diagnosis is made, additional remediation can be added to an IEP. Sometimes colored overlays or ezy-readers will help students. Their are specialists who can work with these students to work on visual-perception problems that cannot be corrected with regular glasses. There are excercizes that they have the child do at home and possibly at school also. (Kinesiology) If you don't have a school team to discuss concerns and alternative strategies, talk to the Special Ed. teacher or coordinator.

Posted by: Michele

I'm not sure that you really have a class full of dyslexic kids, but I DO know how frustrating the d/b p/q/6/9 mix-ups are! This year (after 10 years of teaching!) a student taught me a trick for b/d...put your thumbs and forefingers of both hands into circles (making a b and a d with your fingers) then, put them together to form a 'bed'. This actually helps my kids discriminate between the b and d...however, my own daughter is in first grade and achronic b/d/p/q/6/9 mixer upper and it doesn't seem to help her a bit!

If it helps at all, in my experience (and the research supports this) b/d mix-ups are fairly common into the second grade. I would just keep correcting them and reminding them of the differences between the letters.

HTH a little!


Posted by: lillian

Spelling is a real clue to dyslexia. When a child is dxed by an expert in the dxing of dyslexia, spelling is looked at closely, and the private evaluator asks a lot of questions about spelling and wants to see a lot of writing samples. Since this child has not been remediated, you may see complete nonsense words, if the dyslexia is severe enough (like my son writing "gul" for "gift"). Another common thing to see are words with vowels completely left out (like my son would write "strd" for "started"). Certain sounds will continually be confused in the writing, which you may think is confusion with the alphabet, but it is not. Common confusions include m and n and l and r. The child will write common words incorrectly over and over and over, no matter how many times the child is corrected. My son wrote "waht" instead of "what" for years. You may see lots of letter order confusion, like what you describe above with "place." My son has a terrible time with this, much worse than with reversals. He did some reversals but not a lot. Letters with tails that go below the line still give him difficulties, though. He's not sure what to do with the tail. He still writes his little g and his little p completely above the line, so his little p looks like an uppercase p. Unfortunately, some dyslexics never learn how to spell, even after years of remediation. The younger you start interventions with a dyslexic, the greater chance the child has of learning how to spell.

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Posted by: Susan/5th

I have a huge variety with my class (from 2nd grade to 12+ on reading levels), and they love the Reading Blaster for ages 9-12 software. I have some dyslexic kids that can do it, and love it. They also go to a special resource room for a dyslexia training to help them with that, but I don't honestly know what they do in there. You might also look into the audio tapes for books while you're working with the other kids. Encourage them to read at home every night before bed. The more they read outside of class, the better their reading will become. I wish I could help you more with the dyslexia.

Posted by: lillian

Orton-Gillingham (OG) is for phonemic awareness and is used to remediate children with dyslexia, regardless of their ages. I would try to get a hold of sample OG lessons to use in the upper grades. You can try the Academy of Orton-Gillingham, the Neuhaus Education Center in Houston, Tx, Susan Barton, or the Shriners. These organizations or people are known for having excellent dyslexia programs that serve people with dyslexia from childhood to adulthood. Also, check out Susan Barton's website. You might find something there.

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