Overcoming Dyslexia

Dyslexia is the most common form of learning disability, accounting for about 85% of cases. People with this disorder struggle to make sense of language. Some symptoms include trouble rhyming, separating sounds that make up words, and difficulty connecting sounds to letters. The affliction is much broader than simply confusing or transposing letters.

Early treatment is the best medicine for a child with dyslexia. Testing comes in 5 areas: Cognition, academic performance, communication, sensory/motor, and health and development. While there is no cure for dyslexia, there are several treatment methods. The Orton-Gillingham Method is a process where a dyslexic child is part of one-on-one or small group learning. The process is language-based and multisensory, so the children can connect the words with the meaning in a variety of ways. The method uses systematic phonics, which stresses the alphabetic principle and letter-sound relationships. The process is cumulative, and builds on the structure of language from letters, to words, to sentences and beyond.

Other accommodations in a public school setting can also help a dyslexic child to thrive. Graphic organizers and step-by-step instructions can help organize thoughts. Combining verbal and visual information allows the child to better connect the two. Dyslexic students often need to hear themselves when they are reading, so a whisper phone may be helpful in a noisy classroom. Additionally, a student might qualify for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act help, so the school can develop a learning program which specifically addresses the child’s unique needs.

Being dyslexic is not the same as being dumb; far from it. There are a number of famous intellectuals who had dyslexia, including Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, and even the Fonz (aka Henry Winkler). Overcoming dyslexia is possible, and in some ways, having dyslexia gives people a way of thinking that puts them above and beyond their peers. In the words of Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Additional Resources

Pub Med, Developmental Reading Disorder: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002379/

Medicine.net, Dyslexia: http://www.medicinenet.com/dyslexia/article.htm

Snappy Fingers, Dyslexia FAQ: http://www.snappyfingers.com/faq/health/dyslexia/

Disabled World, Famous People who ar Dyslexic or had Dyslexia: http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/article_2130.shtml


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