This lack of support and my determination to help my student has led me to do more and more research on Dyslexia. Through my journey, I've also found that there are many misperceptions of Dyslexia.
Sound familiar!? I've also heard, "Dyslexia is not real." Well folks, it is real!
These children are not being lazy, nor do they usually need glasses. They are struggling. And yes, letter reversals are normal through the first grade, but after that they should be a red flag! Dyslexia is a language disorder that is neurological in origin, and is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.
There is a great amount of evidence that even indicates a change in the brain in a person with Dyslexia versus a person without Dyslexia. Evidence from a number of laboratories using functional brain imaging indicates that there is a disruption of left-hemisphere posterior neural systems during reading tasks when compared to non-dyslexic readers. These findings imply that Dyslexia is a "valid" disorder, and a necessary condition for identification and appropriate treatment. Yet many of us continue to receive no support or tools for teaching these individuals. So as my research continues, I will continue to share it with you.
We know how important it is to have a correct diagnosis in order to best serve our students, so don't make the common mistake of confusing Dyslexia with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD).
And btw, is Dyslexia THE only disability that does not have an abbreviation?!? :o I am going to give it the abbreviation of DX for the purpose of this post.
One of the things I spent a lot of time researching this year was programs for my student. Of course when I first started looking I was just planning to hopefully be able to afford and purchase a curriculum for my student just as I have purchased other programs for my other students. Add to my cart, pay, and wahlah! Not so easy! I found that all of the evidence-based programs offered for students with DX, required extensive training. :0
I have spent so much time researching Dyslexia that I started logging it as shown below and using it as evidence towards my teacher evaluation. Here are the top 3 evidence-based programs I found.
For me, I was back to ground zero! Barton seems doable and requires no training, but $3,000 is not in most of our school budgets. Wilson would be impossible for most of us to do considering the 60-lesson practicum requirement. Orton is the one I've read the best reviews on and is totally doable if there is a training in your area. However, if there is not one close to your area, like me, and you have to pay for a flight and lodging, that is going to be a little expensive. It seems that trainings are only located in the states where DX is "acknowledged." If you'd like to see if there is a training in your area, click here for a full list of upcoming trainings.
I also recently just discovered the Dyslexia Training Institute, which I have not yet added to my "evidence" sheet yet, but love, and they do offer online courses, of course at a price! They also offer an online Orton-Gillingham certification online, but it also requires the practicum that involves working directly with a student with DX. Since I do have a student with Dyslexia I am planning to definitely look further into this site!
I cannot lie. I have yet to find the perfect resource or system for my DX student. I'm still working on it. But here are some accommodations that have seemed to help my student.
1. Books in audio format
2. Text to speech software
3. Reduced paper/pencil work; allow oral responses or scribe
4. Explicitly teaching sight words (student says each letter, then word)
5. Repetition, over and over
6. Color coding
7. Tracking dots
8. Finger tracking
9. Larger print
10. Providing what needs to be copied from the board on a small whiteboard in front of student.
11. Alternating colors of words in a sentence or paragraph. If using written text, you can do this with a highlighter.
12. Additional processing time
13. And learning to accept inconsistent performance
I also began doing crossing the midline exercises with my student this year. I discovered through my research that children with dyslexia are not able to communicate the right and left side of the brain like we do, which is one of the reasons for reading difficulties. What's interesting is that I found that my student with DX could not cross the midline!!
We do these exercises every morning now from "Integrated Learning Strategies" to help teach my student learn to cross the mid-line. You can see the exercises and their post here.
This video will explain it further!
There's also a DX font that you can download for free that was developed by a gentleman that has DX. Watch his video below.
Download the font here!
Here are some great sites I've also found along the way that you may find as useful too.
Learning Ally is amazing! Over 80,000 audiobooks to choose from & they also offer trainings.
The Yale Center for Dyslexia
Head Strong Nation
You may also enjoy Gina Cooke's videos to see the meaning behind the spelling of words!
The research has been there, but just now seems to be showing itself. I am so excited that this "hidden" disability is finally coming out and beginning to be accepted as "real," and that many districts are also jumping on board, including mine. We have to continue to advocate for these students, diagnose them early, and begin providing interventions asap!