Dyslexia is a slippery little booger. It lurks under high IQs. It hides from unsuspecting teachers and parents. It disguises itself as inattention, slow cognition, disinterest, anxiety, shyness and anger. Dyslexia is hard to see if you don't know what you're looking for. It's hard to understand if you haven't been educated about it. Dyslexia does not discriminate against male or female, white, black, brown or purple. Dyslexia is an equal opportunity learning challenge.
What is not an equal opportunity is the educational choices available to the kids with these special challenges. Most public and private school teachers don't know what to look for and have not been educated about dyslexia at all based on my experience and the experience of those I have heard from.
This is a tragic loss for all of us. People who have dyslexia are generally smart, creative, clever and witty entertainers, problem solvers and resilient creatures who think outside the box. They have to be these things to make it through school and life.
Struggling to read and failing to thrive in the school, year after year, can have a terribly detrimental effect on a person. Undiscovered and undiagnosed dyslexia can lead to depression, withdrawal, low self-esteem and a hot temper, as you might imagine.
Statistics show that 1 in 5 people have dyslexia. That's a lot. So, stop and think about how many kids in schools are not being properly identified as dyslexic, but ARE being labeled as lazy, slow, inattentive or having ADHD, angry, bullies.
My kids were labeled as slow learners, despite showing high intelligence and being interested in learning. My kids' teachers said, "Some kids just take longer to learn to read." This was even said to me by my older son's reading specialist teacher that he went to from kindergarten through second grade.
While this statement is true, each kid learns at his or her own pace, I feel that teachers should be educated to recognize the signs of dyslexia and other common learning challenges, especially reading specialists!
October happens to be Dyslexia Awareness Month. So, I thought I'd take this opportunity to share a little bit about dyslexia. This Ted-Ed video by Kelli Sandman-Hurley happens to be the best explanation I've found:
So, my kids are dyslexic. This means their brains are wired a bit differently. Consequently, they need to be taught to read in a specific way. Note this method has been shown to make any student a better, more efficient reader, regardless of being dyslexic or not.
Further note that my children, having been taught through the Wilson reading program will not have any residual reading issues. And further note that being dyslexic does not translate to being slow or having a diminished capacity or a low IQ. On the contrary, many kids with dyslexia, including my own children, have high IQs and are exceedingly bright and creative individuals.
After just 2 years of Wilson Reading my 5th grader was reading at a 7th grade level at the end of 4th grade. This is a kid who was reading at a first grade level at the start of 3rd grade. That's impressive!
The dyslexic kids and adults I know are amazing, interesting, creative, super smart, quirky, funny, witty, extraordinary individuals. There's no stopping them!
So, please get the facts straight and don't assume…we all know what happens when you assume…If you have a question about dyslexia, I'd love to hear from you. If you're looking for an excellent resource for answering questions about dyslexia, getting an assessment, finding a tutor or enrolling your child in an excellent school for kids with dyslexia or similar learning challenges, check out Groves Academy. Over and out…