What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a disorder which makes it difficult for individuals of average or above average intelligence to read, write, and spell and sometimes to compute, organize, and comprehend material in their native language. It often runs in families and may be caused by naturally occurring brain differences. Many individuals learn to compensate for or practically overcome their weaknesses through proper teaching methods and practice.

How would I know if my child has dyslexia?

The characteristics of dyslexia vary from person to person. Some children experience problems in many areas while some may have a difficulty in only one area.

Many young children exhibit one or more of the following characteristics; however, persistent occurrences should alert teachers and parents to the possibility of dyslexia:

  • Problems in learning the names of the letters of the alphabet
  • Difficulty in learning to read
  • Difficulty in learning to write the alphabet correctly in sequence
  • Reversal of letters or sequences of letters/numbers
  • Cramped or illegible handwriting
  • Repeated erratic spelling errors
  • Ability to learn to spell a “list” of words sufficiently to “pass” a weekly test, but may be unable to spell any of the words the next week
  • Ability to express self orally but unable to write what s/he has said
  • Inability to rhyme or “play with sounds” in words
  • Reading well enough to “get by” in elementary school only to collapse when reaching middle school or high school
  • “Grade level” reading ability may not be commensurate with child’s intelligence

 

The following characteristics may be associated with dyslexia:

  • Delay in spoken language
  • Difficulty in finding that “right” word when speaking
  • Late in establishing preferred hand for writing
  • Late in learning right and left and other directionality components such as up-down, front-behind, east-west, and others
  • Problems in learning the concept of time and temporal sequencing, e.g., yesterday-tomorrow, days of the week, and months of the year
  • May form letters from bottom to top
  • Family history of similar problems

 

How can my child be dyslexic and still make good grades?

A child may make good grades but resist any writing and reading activity. As school work becomes progressively harder, the child may: become less eager to complete assignments; rely on others to write or read assignment; refuse to work altogether.

What do I do if I think my child has dyslexia?

Discuss you concerns with your child’s teacher. You have a right to ask for your child to be assessed for dyslexia by your child’s school.

Whom do I contact if I have questions?

In Sonora ISD, first contact your child’s school.  A CARE Team meeting will be scheduled to discuss your concerns and your child’s academic progress.  The CARE Team may refer your child for a dyslexia evaluation.  For further information contact the Sonora Special Programs Office at 325-387-6940, ext. 3400.

What is the assessment process?

Your child will be given a series of assessments which would enable the school and you to determine the most appropriate instructional program for your child. The assessment instruments are designed to determine how well your child can: decode words, understand what s/he reads, understand what s/he hears, and how well s/he communicates thoughts in writing. The assessment instruments also determine: phonemic awareness, reading accuracy, rate and fluency. The assessment is conducted at the child’s campus by a member of the assessment team.

What happens after my child is assessed?

You will be invited to a meeting at your child’s school. During that meeting, you will be given the results of the dyslexia evaluation and appropriate instructional options will be discussed.

What should I look for in a program?

Students with dyslexia need more help than most students do in sorting, recognizing, and putting together what they see, hear, and feel in order to organize the raw materials of language for thinking and expression. They must be taught by a method that uses the learning pathways of seeing, hearing, touching, and moving. The method must be simultaneously multisensory; (i.e.) see it, say it, and write it at the same time.

Remember that you cannot/should not “program shop.” Your student is entitled to receive a program, not necessarily the program you feel is best. When looking at your child’s instructional program, ask yourself, “Is my child learning?” If the answer is, “Yes,” then the instructional technique is working with your child. If the answer is, “No,” you might discuss your concerns with your child’s teacher and ask for a reevaluation of his/her program. Because not all instructional techniques work with all students, it is important to monitor your child’s progress so that the appropriate instruction is being delivered.

What can I do to help my child?

  • First, understand the nature of your child’s difficulty. Read books on the subject and emphasize your child’s strengths and talents. Don’t pressure your child; give him/her praise more than negative comments.
  • Home life should be as stress-free as possible. Establish regular routines with your child.
  • Keep instructions simple by giving one direction at a time. Ask your child to repeat instructions and make certain s/he understands what you have directed by asking, “What do you understand to do?” So that the child has an opportunity to repeat back in his/her own words what action is expected. Give your child time to think.
  • Break tasks into small chunks. Once one thing is completed, give another direction and allow time for your child to complete that particular phase of the task.
  • Don’t assume anything. If your child doesn’t understand, show him/her how to do something. Build on what your child knows.
  • Help your child schedule time – what subjects should be studied first, when should breaks be taken, etc. Discuss with your child’s teacher(s) homework assignments that take unrealistic amounts of time to complete.