Resources

The key issues about dyslexia for parents in just 30 minutes.

In June 2018, Susan Barton filmed a 30 minute video for Decoding Dyslexia VA where she answered 15 questions on a variety of topics that are directly relevant to parents of children with known or strongly suspected dyslexia.  I highly recommend watching the entire video.

The Importance of Early Intervention

What is the single most important year of your child’s academic career?  (Hint: it’s probably earlier than you might think.)

Evidence that early intervention prevents reading failure: Avoiding the Devastating Downward Spiral

A look at three pivotal longitudinal studies that clearly show: Late bloomers are rare; skill deficits are almost always what prevent children from blooming as readers.

The truth about what your child’s school can and cannot do

Parents face a tough choice: spend significant time, energy and money fighting a system that this in-depth article clearly lays out, is stacked against dyslexic children, or using those resources to find a qualified Orton-Gillingham tutor to remediate their reading and spelling challenges.

Even if a school accepts a diagnosis of dyslexia, the likelihood that it has staff who can deliver an appropriate, research-based multisensory reading and spelling program with fidelity, is quite slim.

Testimony to the FCPS Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities (given Wednesday May 13, 2015) describes why I decided to remove my dyslexic son from the FCPS system at the end of 2nd grade and homeschool him.

The students are smart, articulate, and creative, yet they omit small words, read slowly, have difficulty spelling, and stumble, guess or mumble through multisyllabic words. They are placed in reading groups for extra instruction and still don’t seem to ‘get it.’  Read more in the  Dyslexia in the Schools ebook.

Many parents and teachers report that schools won’t use the word dyslexia.  Why might this be?

They knew the kids were bright. They knew they were motivated to learn. They knew they were supported at home. They knew they had all the opportunities to learn. However, for some reason, these kids just struggled with reading and spelling—despite the help of teachers and parents. Dyslexia is much more common than most people—even teachers—think.  8 Things Every Teacher Should Know About Dyslexia

Part of the problem is that teachers don’t get good training in foundational skills. Another is teachers’ fear that drilling kids in phonics will kill their love of reading. But if teachers incorporate games, songs, and physical activities, phonics can be fun. And if kids don’t learn to decode at an early age, they’re unlikely ever to enjoy reading—or become successful students.  (Read the complete article: Why Johnny Still Can’t Read and What To Do About It.)

Scientific research has shown how children learn to read and how they should be taught. But many educators don’t know the science and, in some cases, actively resist it. As a result, millions of kids are being set up to fail.  (Read the complete article: Hard Words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read?)

ADHD and Dyslexia

Dr. Edward (Ned) Hallowell on ADHD: a Ferrari in Your Brain

Since ADHD affects up to 40 percent of children, teens, and adults with dyslexia, learning what foods can either exacerbate or minimize symptoms is important. Properly fueling a student before tutoring maximizes his chances of having a productive and positive session.

The Neuroscience of Dyslexia

Dyslexic children use nearly five times the brain area as normal children while performing a simple language task, according to a 1999 study by an interdisciplinary team of University of Washington researchers. The study shows for the first time that there are chemical differences in the brain function of dyslexic and non-dyslexic children.

When he was 18, Dan Britton was failing every subject except science and graphic design. His graphic design teacher suspected something was wrong and took him to be tested. The test results showed that Britton had the reading ability of a 10-year-old and the writing ability of an 11-year-old.  Powerful images show what it’s like to read when you have dyslexia

Stanford study on brain waves shows how different teaching methods affect reading development.

Scientists are exploring how human brains learn to read – and discovering new ways that brains with dyslexia can learn to cope.

Handwriting

Does Handwriting Still Matter? Not very much, according to many educators. The Common Core standards, which have been adopted in most states, call for teaching legible writing, but only in kindergarten and first grade. After that, the emphasis quickly shifts to proficiency on the keyboard.

But psychologists and neuroscientists say it is far too soon to declare handwriting a relic of the past. New evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep.

Kimberly is trained in the Handwriting Without Tears method and used it to teach cursive to her three children. Although typing is an important accommodation for dyslexic students of all ages, there is compelling evidence for including handwriting.  Handwriting promotes memory, focus, fluency and performance (read more about this).

During every in-person Barton lesson, starting in Level 3, students spell words, phrases, and sentences in their Handwriting without Tears writing journal, reinforcing this important skill.

Spelling

This article provides a nice overview of key issues.

Accommodations

The Case for Making Audiobooks Part of Curriculum:  until a student is brought up to grade level with “eye” reading, it is vitally important that he make good use of his ears. Audio books allow struggling readers to hear sophisticated vocabulary and hone their comprehension skills by listening. Without this exposure, the word gap will increase and cause difficulties as the student moves into the upper level grades.

This font was developed by a Dutch graphic artist who is a dyslexic, but the evidence is scant that it has any impact since dyslexia, is primarily an auditory, not visual issue.   Do dyslexics need a specially designed font?


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