Warning Signs of Dyslexia


It’s important to keep in mind that if your child attends a Fairfax County Public School, the Development Reading Assessment (DRA) is used to measure reading progress. A child may be “reading” at grade level and still show many of these warning signs (read more about my son’s example). Many teachers are not familiar with dyslexia and have not received training in identifying students with this different brain wiring.

Does your child have 3 or more of the following warning signs?

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Requirements for Remote Success

Kimberly added remote tutoring capability in 2017.  When in-person tutoring is not an option, the remote format can be highly effective .

Please note that if attention is a significant challenge for your student then remote sessions may not be the best option.

Listed below are the essential requirements for remote tutoring success.

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Why I pulled my dyslexic son out of Fairfax County Public Schools

Testimony to FCPS Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities, given Wednesday May 13, 2015 at 7:30pm.

My name is Kimberly Downey and my narrative describes why I decided to remove my dyslexic son from the FCPS system at the end of 2nd grade and homeschool him.

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The Next Chapter: How Barton Helped My Dyslexic Son Go Back to School

Although homeschooling was never in my plan, when I confronted the reality of how my son’s public school was failing its dyslexic students, I was clear that was going to be the best choice.

Garrett has never gone through a full neuropsychological evaluation. My main concern was why he was having so many difficulties with reading and spelling. Even though his teacher and the school said he was reading at grade level, frankly, I didn’t believe them. I also wasn’t willing to wait-and-see what happened. Research shows

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Reading: what every parent needs to know

Up to 20 percent of the population experiences significant difficulty with reading, spelling and writing. Kimberly Downey’s talk will explain the science of reading and what parents need to know to be effective advocates for their children, both in and out of school.

Join me Wednesday, February 26 for this important presentation that I will be giving at the George Mason Region Library from 6:30 – 8pm.


The IEP Song and Dance (part 1)

The independent educational plan (IEP) song-and-dance creates the impression that important activity is occurring for students, even though the reality is that very little is accomplished.

Parents must learn how to turn that around by understanding their rights and drawing clear boundaries to limit and focus what the school does.

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Fun has an Important Purpose

The multi-sensory aspects of Barton reading and spelling instruction are truly what sets it apart from typical language arts instruction that my students receive at school.

The maracas are a fun, tactile way to reinforce what the Watch-Out vowels are when they are first taught in Level 3. Even my most low-key students become animated when using them. All of my students enjoy the various card games that I incorporate into their sessions.

There is no busy work in Barton; everything has a purpose and everything matters. To borrow the motto from my three children’s former preschool (Sleepy Hollow Co-op), we “learn through play,” whenever possible. In a one-on-one environment, I have the ability to tailor my tutoring sessions as much as needed.

Does Handwriting Instruction Still Matter?

One of the key attributes of the Barton Reading & Spelling System, and any reputable Orton-Gillingham program for dyslexia remediation, is that it simultaneously engages several of the five senses. Handwriting Without Tears uses a similar approach, for print and cursive instruction. Since many dyslexic students have poor handwriting and find writing by hand to be tedious, some parents may wonder, why bother with it at all?

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