Aug 022013
 

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Q: My child can sound out words, but she has to sound them out every single time even though she’s just read the word. She has some reversals of b’s and d’s too. Do you think she is showing signs of dyslexia?

Answer:


What you describe could very well be a milder case of dyslexia.  Dyslexia varies in degree. There are also a number of signs of dyslexia.

We also have to be aware that there are learning difficulties that can cause signs of dyslexia, but they aren’t really the clinically diagnosable form of dyslexia.

Signs of Dyslexia : The Diagnosable, Neurological Learning Disability

True, diagnosable dyslexia it is mainly characterized by a lack of phonemic awareness. That is a difficulty with the ability to hear or segment individual sounds within a word. For example, the word “cat” has three phonemes in it– the sound of hard c, the sound of short a, and the sound of t.

The specific learning disability diagnosed as dyslexia also includes a deficit in short-term working memory. There are also other issues with vision and perception that appear like they may be dyslexia. However, those conditions require treatment of a very different type, so you don’t want to assume your child has true dyslexia without an evaluation.

You’ll want to reference our page providing information about the Symptoms of Dyslexia to become more aware of signs of dyslexia, what dyslexia is, and what it is not.

Other Reading Disabilities that May Not Signal Signs of Dyslexia

Whatever your child’s issue may be, children often have random reversals in their writing. However, a child usually outgrows the tendency by time he’s 7. If your child is older than 7 and still has reversals, he may have some visual perception difficulties. These often accompany true dyslexia, but the conditions aren’t quite the same thing. Visual perception difficulties are not the same thing as the neurological dyslexia because visual perception deficits are treated in a different way.

Again, check out the information about the Symptoms of Dyslexia to find out if your child’s problems are significant enough that you should seek help.  Should you “wait” for your child to “outgrow” his problems? DEFINITELY NOT! The Symptoms of Dyslexia page also discusses advice about seeking help too.

Signs of Dyslexia and Early Intervention

Early intervention is key to keeping your child on grade level across all subjects. Your child will fall further behind in ALL subject areas if he still can’t read past the third grade and isn’t given assistive technology to learn. 

A lack of reading help can set your child up for years of educational struggling and lower his self-esteem. Kids often start feeling “dumb” because they have difficulty with reading. It also affects your child’s access to the curriculum in all subjects. If your child doesn’t receive help, he will experience frustration with academics. He may learn to hate schooling. He may even develop a “couldn’t care LESS” attitude towards schoolwork. Many kids develop anxiety about learning.

Signs of Dyslexia – Where Do You Begin?

While NOT MEDICAL OR PROFESSIONAL advice, there are some simple things you can do when your child is showing signs of dyslexia. You’ll want to decide which direction you want to pursue in first. 

Why do I say you need to decide what to pursue first? Because symptoms can be caused by a wide variety of conditions. You MUST identify the RIGHT cause of your child’s signs of dyslexia in order to get the RIGHT treatment. Your child may need colored glasses, vision therapy, visual-perception training, phonemic awareness instruction, etc. OR.. He may even need more than one type of help!

As an example, my son had problems with reversals and his eyes hurting when he read. It turned out he needed vision therapy and visual-perception training. He also had the neurological lack of phonemic awareness and some attention deficits. Therefore, he had to have specialized reading instruction. Addressing ALL of those areas was required to get him reading on grade level.

SO, you’ll need to pursue all probable or possible problems through testing. Then you will need to get solutions for the specific problems your child has. You will find additional information about steps you can take to help figure out the root cause of your child’s reading problems on our page with additional information about true dyslexia.  You’ll find three basic steps to take on the second half of the page.

Where to Get Testing When Your Child Shows Signs of Dyslexia

Take steps to obtain a complete neuropsychological evaluation. Continue pursuing solutions for your child’s reading difficulties in each area that appears to be a problem. Keep in mind children often have multiple issues. Therefore, finding one problem may not be the complete solution to your child’s reading struggles.

A great place to ask questions about where to find a good evaluator is through the Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys. Locate an advocate or attorney in your area. Then contact them. Ask for the name of a highly qualified independent evaluator near you. Most of the time they can refer you to one or more neuropsychologists who will provide a comprehensive evaluation for your child. The evaluator will evaluate the signs of dyslexia you see and pinpoint the causes of your child’s difficulties.

Hope the info helps !!
Best Wishes
Sandy

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Aug 022013
 

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Q: Our child is struggling with reading. We suspect dyslexia. Our school administrators say they can’t diagnose dyslexia in children. Is this true?

Answer:


The school system is REQUIRED by Federal law to provide your child a full and comprehensive evaluation if you notified them you suspect your child has dyslexia. They are violating federal laws by claiming they can’t identify dyslexia in children. If your child has a learning disability in reading, whether or not they choose to call it “dyslexia,” they can evaluate for the learning disability. A refusal to evaluate for dyslexia in children or a specific learning disability in reading is a delay tactic.

You can learn about your child’s rights under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act — See http://idea.ed.gov/ ). I would recommend becoming knowledgeable about Federal IDEA laws and trying to stand up for your child’s rights. You will probably find it helpful and necessary to read “Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy – The Special Education Survival Guide.”

There is an online free IEP training course at http://learningabledkids.com/iep_training/welcome.htm. The free course will give you a good overview of the Special Education Process. I’d also recommend checking out http://www.fetaweb.com/ (From Emotions to Advocacy).

You will HAVE to stand up for your child’s rights and educational needs. Unfortunately, your school district is likely to walk all over your child’s rights given they are already refusing to determine if your child has a learning disability in reading. Saying they can’t identify dyslexia in children is either ignorant of them (they don’t even know what dyslexia is.) OR they are purposefully avoiding testing for learning disabilities.

Write your school’s principal a note stating you are requesting an evaluation to determine if your child has a learning disability in reading. You can add that IDEA requires that they provide comprehensive evaluations within 60 days of parental permission to evaluate. Tell them they have permission to evaluate effective with the receipt of your letter. Also include in your note a statement that you will seek a private evaluation at THEIR expense if they do not evaluate your child within the federally required 60 day timeframe. Then, send the letter to them with a delivery confirmation.

Two Choices for Getting Assistance with Schools Which Refuse to Address Dyslexia in Children:

dyslexia in children

1) You can go to this site:  http://www.parentcenternetwork.org/ and click on your state / region to find the agency in your state which may be able to help you with this matter. These are federally funded agencies who are paid for with your tax dollars. They have knowledgeable staff who can help you navigate your local services in order to obtain the services your child needs. The Parent Center Network does not provide legal assistance. They may or may not be effective in helping you get the services your child needs.

2) You can contact an advocacy agency in your state to get help. You can also find local advocates or attorneys through the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates. You may have legal grounds to pursue due process with your school if they continue to dismiss dyslexia in children. This is particularly true if your school refuses to evaluate your child for a specific learning disability in reading.

Put ALL of your communications to the school into a written form. Otherwise, they may claim you never requested an evaluation or never said anything about dyslexia in children.

It can be very distressing to suspect or “know” your child has a reading disability and have your child’s school refuse to address dyslexia in children.  It happened to us.  It happens in schools across America all the time.  We could only take so much stress and fighting at the expense of our son’s education. In the end, we gave up on our school and homeschooled to overcome dyslexia. Homeschooling was AWESOME for us! I pray you have a much better outcome with your school than we did!

BEST Wishes!
Sandy

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