Understanding Dyslexia: Parent Guide: My Child has Dyslexia, Now What?!

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It is hard to believe this is the last full week in October!  I hope you have found the Understanding Dyslexia Series helpful and informative.  If you missed any of the posts this month, you can find them here on the Understanding Dyslexia Landing Page.

This week I’m talking to the parents of Dyslexic children.

The social-emotional well-being of your child is the best place to start after receiving a diagnosis of Dyslexia.  This can be achieved in several ways.

  • Help your child understand what Dyslexia is and that this is something that they will have their entire life; however, they can learn strategies and skills to overcome the struggles they face in spelling, reading and writing.  There are many books like: What is Dyslexia?: A Book Explaining Dyslexia For Kids and Adults to Use Together  Also, you could watch the YouTube video: What is Dyslexia?, by Dr. Kelli Sandman Hurley.  The best website, I highly recommend visiting is Understood.org This website is the learning difference hub for parents & teachers.  Anything you want to know about learning differences, including Dyslexia is right at your fingertips at Understood.  There are parent forums where you can connect with other parents in similar situations as you.  There are experts, Live on hand to answer your questions, too.
  • Make sure your child is receiving an Orton-Gillingham based intervention.  Read here about Multi-sensory Teaching Techniques. If your school does not provide this specific intervention, there are other alternatives.  Find Dyslexia Therapists who are providing services in your area by visiting the Academic Language Therapy Association {ALTA}‘s Directory of Certified Therapists.  The International Dyslexia Association {IDA} is also a great resource.
  • Knowledge is power.  The more you know about Dyslexia & the laws that apply to your state as well as national laws including 504 & SPED, you will empower yourself to be the best advocate for your child.  When your family is facing your child’s dyslexia together, everyone’s social-emotional well-being will be strengthened.
  •  All of the resources linked above are a great resource not only to empower children to understand dyslexia, but for their parents as well.

My child hasn’t received a diagnosis, but I suspect dyslexia may be why they are struggling in school…where do I go from here?

If you suspect your child has a learning difference, you may request a meeting with the Campus Intervention Team.  This “team” varies in its acronyms in every school district; however, the purpose is all the same.  Each intervention team consists of administrators, specialized teachers and your child’s classroom teacher – anyone who is directly teaching, assisting through intervention and responsible or will be potentially responsible for your child’s academic progress.  A parent or teacher may request testing for a potentially dyslexic child, but an evaluation cannot take place without parent’s consent. This particular meeting is typically referred to as a 504 ARD Meeting when testing is discussed and agreed upon by parent(s) & intervention team.

Receiving a Diagnosis or Identification of Dyslexia.

In my district, I am qualified to assess students for an identification of Dyslexia according to my school districts parameters via Texas State Dyslexia Law.  If there is not a Certified Academic Language Therapist who is qualified to assess at your child’s school, the intervention team may refer you to a diagnostician or psychologist and/or a health professional to effectively diagnose the difficulty.

Several factors are considered to effectively carry out a proper evaluation for Dyslexia, specifically.  The goal of a dyslexia evaluation is to help determine if there is an inconsistency between the child’s cognitive ability {ability at which they should be performing academically} and their actually performance in spelling, reading and phonological awareness.  A basis cognitive test, such as the K-Bit, is given to provide a baseline of cognitive abilities.  Each assessment that is given in spelling, reading, reading comprehension & phonological awareness is determined by age level.  Family history is also an important factor in carrying out a proper Dyslexia diagnosis. As mentioned in the first post in this series,  Dyslexia is-neurological in origin and typically there are family members who have struggled with the same characteristics. Having your child evaluated for a learning difference provides information about why they are struggling, as well as providing an insight into your child’s strengths.  All of this information is valuable in helping determine the best intervention for your child.

Multi-sensory curriculum & activities focus on utilizing the child’s strengths while strengthening his or her weaknesses.  I will attest to the validity of the effectiveness of a multi-sensory approach because I use this with my dyslexic students as well as non-dyslexic students who struggle in the areas of spelling and reading, with great success.  I see the most successful attitudes in my students whose parents are meeting their social-emotional needs in understanding their learning difference.  When a student realizes their strengths & positive attitudes will benefit them by strengthening their weaknesses, they receive way more than what I teach them through a multi-sensory approach. They learn life-long values and a positive mind-set for future successes.

Read more about why your child should be provided a multi-sensory approach to learning in this recent post.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments about how this series has helped you more understand dyslexia.  Are you a teacher? A parent?  I’d love to hear the different perspectives about what you found helpful in this series and if there was something specific to dyslexia you would like to find out more about.

Hang in there this week as Halloween excitement, cooler weather, costume parties & candy are going in full effect!!  At least there is not a full moon…last week was crazy!

~sherri

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