Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Struggling Reader---Waiting for an Official Diagnosis

Whether you suspect your child has dyslexia or some other reading challenge, it is essential to obtain an official and appropriate diagnosis. However, sometimes there can be considerable “wait time” before an initial visit with a medical professional or other appropriate diagnostician.

Depending on the circumstances in your area (i.e. the number of individuals needing evaluation or the appropriate professionals available to the population), it can take some weeks before an appointment can be scheduled for testing, evaluation, and a proper diagnosis to be determined. What, if anything, can be done in the meantime to help a child or adult struggling with reading? There are some tips and strategies to consider that could be helpful.

Overlays, which are colored or clear transparent sheets placed over a page of printed text, can be beneficial to some challenged readers. Often, the white background on a page of text can be “visually stressing” or even “offensive” to many individuals with reading issues. Try a different colored sheet each week to learn if a specific color helps more than others in promoting focus, concentration, better comprehension, and retention.

Focusing tools can also help. These types of tools should block out surrounding text and promote the line(s) of text to be read at a particular time. They are usually inexpensive and non-invasive, which are added benefits to their use.

One such tool called the Reading Focus Card (U.S. Patent 7,565,759) actually blocks out more surrounding text than any other tool available at this writing. It is inexpensive, non-invasive, and created by an experienced teacher for her students. In addition, this solution for struggling readers is customizable for each individual and includes 3 different colored filters (like mini-overlays) from which to choose for changing the color of the white background of any page. The Reading Focus Card Combo Pack comes with all components for 2 tools (each a different length for different text line lengths. Visit to learn more or to order.

Other tips and strategies
for readers who struggle should also be considered. The following are just a few that could make a difference:

1. Underline or highlight important key words in a set of directions BEFORE beginning an activity, worksheet, or other assignment.

2. Fold a worksheet so that only a small amount of text, information, or problems is visible at one time.

3. Allow for standing while reading or even moving to optional work areas with less distraction.

4. Try “colored paper” for all printed materials including worksheets, outlines, notes, etc. Experiment with pastels as well as bright shades. One particular color may produce the best results for an individual.

For more information: For focusing tools that work! For info, resources, and support

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