Friday, March 31, 2017

The 6 Most Important Things About Dyslexia Teachers Need to Know

For many years, there is has been such controversy about dyslexia in the world of education. The reasons for this are varied, but the results of this controversy have been staggering and pervasive. For too long, there have been far too many students who cannot read. The nearly 1 in 5 students (17%) challenged with dyslexia continue to pay the price for this long-lasting controversy.

In this article we thought it would be helpful to all involved and invested in helping these students if we were to provide a short list of points for educators to keep in mind as the topic of dyslexia accommodations continues to be at the forefront of educational discussions across the country. In this way, perhaps teachers will be better able to begin addressing the pressing needs of their students with dyslexia in ways that will indeed make a difference in their academic and life experiences.

The 6 Most Important Things about Dyslexia Teachers Need to Know

1. Dyslexia is NOT a myth or imaginative condition. It is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia is not a vision problem. It is not about intelligence. It certainly is not about laziness. Dyslexia affects the way the brain processes written and spoken language. Individuals with dyslexia have trouble mapping letters onto sounds and vice versa. Students with dyslexia usually have a hard time reading, but they can also struggle with spelling, writing and even pronouncing words.

2. Dyslexia is inherited and lifelong. It is not something a student will outgrow. At the same time, dyslexia and its symptoms may appear or be experienced differently at different times throughout development. Very often, a child’s diagnosis will result in a parent realizing for the first time that he or she also has dyslexia.

3. Dyslexia is more common than many believe. The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) estimates that as many as 15 to 20 percent of people have some symptoms of dyslexia. These individuals have trouble with reading, spelling and writing, or mixing up similar words. Dyslexia affects people from all types of backgrounds, too. Of the 13 or 14 percent of school-age children who have a condition that qualifies them for special education services, 7 percent are diagnosed with a learning disability. Furthermore, 85 percent of those children have a primary learning disability in reading and language processing.

4. Prior to Kindergarten (and even as late as third grade), dyslexia may not be obvious or suspected. Children are generally diagnosed with dyslexia when they learn to read or begin reading in order to learn. That may be in kindergarten, first grade or even later at the primary level. However, as dyslexia is often suspected or discovered in older students, it is still a good idea to request assessment since the condition sometimes isn’t identified until much later. Early identification and treatment can make a very significant difference in the long-term quality of life for students. Teachers have a very important role in all of this because they are on the front lines when it comes to identifying dyslexia.

5. There is no one solution for all with dyslexia. Not all children with reading, decoding and spelling problems consistent with dyslexia actually have dyslexia. Other language problems that cause reading challenges also need attention. Educators can use tools like the Test of Integrated Language and Literacy Skills (TILLS) to help determine what individual students with language or literacy problems need to succeed in the classroom. It is important to note that in the case of dyslexia, a combination of the right tools, strategies and other supports may be required for reading success. A unique combination of these may very well be needed for each individual students affected with dyslexia.

6. Current and pending dyslexia legislation in many states will very soon affect teaching and learning methods, strategies, accommodations and more in many U.S. classrooms and at all grade levels (K-12). It is most important that educators begin to build their own "dyslexia toolbox" so that a portfolio of resources will be ever at-the-ready for dyslexic students (and others who struggle with reading) at every grade level. To learn more about the current and pending dyslexia legislation in your state, visit Dyslegia: A Legislative Information Site.


10 Things About Dyslexia Every Teacher Needs to Know-by Nickola Wolf Nelson, Ph.D.

8 Things Every Teacher Should Know About Dyslexia-from We Are Teachers

Dyslexia in the Classroom: What Every Teacher Needs to Know-from the International Dyslexia Association (IDA)

For more information about tools, strategies & support for challenged readers with dyslexia, please visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at