Dyslexia is an unexpected difficulty in reading in children and adults who have the ability to be better readers. Without specific interventions, dyslexia interferes with a student’s ability to read at his or her potential. Of all the possible learning disabilities, dyslexia is the most prevalent. The dilemma is that this disability is invisible, yet no less debilitating. Students are normal in every other respect and in fact are often of higher intelligence.
Academic success in our schools demands proficiency in reading the written word. What can parents and schools do to remediate the necessary skills for success and give these students hope?
The first essential ingredient is understanding what dyslexia is and how it affects students and adults. Secondly, a method is needed for early identification of students who are affected. Dyslexia is a specific entity that brings about predictable symptoms, including difficulties in reading fluently, spelling, learning a foreign language and retrieving spoken words. Educators should receive baseline training to recognize those students who are “suspect” for dyslexia and therefore request appropriate testing.
Lastly, reading teachers should be trained in a course of evidence-based instruction that effectively teaches dyslexics to read, coupled with a metric that will test and track results.
Many school districts will do this voluntarily. Some states have passed legislation to require testing for early identification and scholarship programs for educators to receive specialized training.
As a free society, isn’t it incumbent upon us to provide an appropriate education to enable each and every student to reach his or her own potential and therefore become a contributing member of society? The cost of doing nothing far outweighs the cost of providing talented students with the reading skills so necessary for academic and lifelong success.
Dyslexia Revealed, an informative program for parents, children and educators, will be presented on Tuesday, April 9, at 5 p.m. at Stonington High School. Doctors Sally and Bennett Shaywitz, co-directors of the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity at Yale University, will explain what it really means to have dyslexia and clarify some of the common misconceptions about the disorder. The event is free and open to the public.