Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Scientifically Based Programs

If a child is dyslexic early on in school, that child will continue to
experience reading problems unless he is provided with a scientifically based,
proven intervention.
P. 34 Overcoming Dyslexia, Sally Shaywitz, MD

We sought out a tutor that provided such a program. There are a number of good programs out there - the program that Natalie's tutor uses is Bright Solutions. It is so encouraging to me to know that with the correct program, Natalie will be reading at grade level in hopefully about three years. With the public school, she probably would never be "bad enough" for help - and if she did recieve it - without using a proven program for Dyslexic children - she would still remain behind and struggling.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our Schools

The quote below really struck me personally - Sometimes I think the public school system needs some serious help.
“The notion of dyslexia as a discrete entity has provided the basis for a special-education policy that provides services only to those who satisfy what are seen as specific, unvarying criteria… Children who do not meet these arbitrarily imposed criteria may still require and benefit from special help.”

“By not recognizing shades of gray represented by struggling children who haven’t yet failed enough to meet a particular criterion, schools may be underidentifying many children who will go on to experience significant reading problems.”
Data from the Connecticut Longitudinal Study for Dyslexia, p.28 Overcoming Dyslexia, Sally Shaywitz, MD

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Early Diagnosis

The public school system likes to wait until a child is failing before they receive "assistance." This does seem to make sense on a basic level. I am sure that they cannot "afford" to help everyone - so they are holding out for the most "needy." However - with dyslexia- early intervention is crucial. It is the difference between a child being able to read at "grade level" - or ALWAYS - (into adulthood) struggling. Natalie is doing "allright" in reading right now - (she is at a 2.2- she should be at a 3.0) but everywhere I've read - the third grade is the "brick wall" of reading. (Natalie enters the third grade this fall.) I am hoping that I "caught" this in time. She is starting her tutoring a year past what would have been optimal - simply because a year ago I hadn't even considered dyslexia- I simply thought she was a little slow.

Speaking of children with dyslexia:

“A little knowledge and careful analysis of the child’s case would soon make it clear that the difficulty experienced was due to a defect in the visual memory of words and letters; the child would then be regarded in the proper light as one with a congenital defect in a particular area of the brain, a defect which, however, can often be remedied by persevering and persistent training. The sooner the true nature of the defect is recognized, the better the chances of the child’s improvement.”

p. 22 Overcoming Dyslexia, Sally Shaywitz, MD

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Some symptoms to look for...

When I started wondering if Natalie had dyslexia - I looked up some symptoms on several web sites - here is the most comprehensive list that I found. It was on WebMd. I found the adult symptoms helpful - as dyslexia is generally genetic - and yet most go "undiagnosed" - determining that dyslexia was in my daughter's "genes" was part of diagnosing her.

They said on Web MD:

If your child has one or two of the signs, it does not mean that he or she has dyslexia, but having several of the signs listed below may mean that your child should be tested.

- A preschool-age child may:

  • Talk later than most children.
    Have more difficulty than other children pronouncing words. For example, the child may read aloud "mawn lower" instead of "lawn mower."
    Be slow to add new vocabulary words and unable to recall the right word.
    Have trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, days of the week, colors, shapes, how to spell and write his or her name.
    Have difficulty reciting common nursery rhymes or rhyming words. For example, the child may not be able to think of words that rhyme with the word "boy," such as "joy" or "toy."
    Be slow to develop fine motor skills. For example, your child may take longer than others of the same age to learn how to hold a pencil in the writing position, use buttons and zippers, and brush his or her teeth.
    Have difficulty separating sounds in words and blending sounds to make words.

A child in kindergarten through fourth grade may:

  • Have difficulty reading single words that are not surrounded by other words.
    Be slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds.
    Confuse small words such as "at" and "to," or "does" and "goes."
    Make consistent reading and spelling errors, including:
    Letter reversals such as "d" for "b."
    Word reversals such as "tip" for "pit."
    Inversions such as "m" and "w" and "u" and "n."
    Transpositions such as "felt" and "left."
    Substitutions such as "house" and "home."

A child in fifth through eighth grade may:

  • Read at a lower level than expected.
    Reverse letter sequence such as "soiled" for "solid," "left" for "felt."
    Be slow to recognize and learn prefixes, suffixes, root words, and other reading and spelling strategies.
    Have difficulty spelling, and he or she may spell the same word differently on the same page.
    Avoid reading aloud.
    Have trouble with word problems in math.
    Write with difficulty or have illegible handwriting. His or her pencil grip may be awkward, fistlike, or tight.
    Avoid writing.
    Have slow or poor recall of facts.

Students in high school and college may:

  • Read very slowly with many inaccuracies.
    Continue to spell incorrectly or frequently spell the same word differently in a single piece of writing.
    Avoid tests that require reading and writing, and procrastinate on reading and writing tasks.
    Have trouble preparing summaries and outlines for classes.
    Work intensely on reading and writing tasks.
    Have poor memory skills and complete assigned work more slowly than expected.
    Have an inadequate vocabulary and be unable to store much information from reading.

Adults with dyslexia may:

  • Hide reading problems.
    Spell poorly or rely on others to spell for them.
    Avoid writing or not be able to write at all.
    Be very competent in oral language.
    Rely on memory rather than on reading information.
    Have good "people" skills and be very good at "reading" people (intuitive).
    Have spatial thinking skills. Examples of professionals who need spatial thinking abilities include engineers, architects, designers, artists and craftspeople, mathematicians, physicists, physicians (especially orthopedists, surgeons), and dentists.
    Often work in a job that is well below their intellectual capacities.
    Have difficulty with planning and organization.
    Be entrepreneurs, although lowered reading skills may result in difficulty maintaining a successful business. Terrible spelling.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Journey Begins

Natalie's Dyslexia tutoring begins this morning. I can tell that I am on a journey, and I am learning every day. I wanted to start a blog to document our journey- and perhaps help anyone headed down the same road.