"....Here is an issue that we constantly encounter at our Dyslexia Centre. Parents tell us that their children are not getting effective reading and spelling support in schools. This situation applies equally in elementary, middle and high schools.
Our Dyslexia Centre families describe examples of situations they are coping with:
• Situation 1 – The school doesn’t acknowledge that the child needs more help or specialist intervention. Teachers believe the child is "coping."
• Situation 2 – The school does acknowledge that the child is not progressing as expected, but does not have specialist staff or resources to offer.
• Situation 3 – School acknowledges concern and promises to offer appropriate support but, in practice, this can be one or more of the following:
o Delivered by non-specialists o Not appropriate to the child’s needs o Not sustained o Ineffective
All of these situations can lead to similar outcomes, such as:
o students become aware that they are falling behind their peers o students lose confidence o students begin to find reading & writing stressful o students become disengaged & try to avoid literacy tasks o the whole family is under stress
Why Can’t Schools Provide the Right Kind of Help?
The reasons for the lack of effective literacy remediation are often pretty straightforward. Though mainstream schools widely include students with special educational needs, many teachers tell us that their teacher training does not include enough specialist training. This applies to special educational needs in general and, in particular, for dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties.
The teachers attending our Dyslexia Awareness courses tell us that they do not know enough about dyslexia and therefore do not feel able to:
o Identify children who may have dyslexic difficulties o Undertake diagnostic assessments for dyslexia o Select appropriate intervention methods o Access the appropriate resources o Provide sufficiently effective support"....
"...While it is true that dyslexics possess and can develop a skill set that is prized in the marketplace, it is a skill set that is overwhelmingly devalued, ignored, and sometimes even punished in school. No school-age child has ever heard the words, “You have dyslexia,” and felt lucky.
Rather, students with dyslexia are called “disabled” by parents and teachers, and much worse names by other kids. They get low grades. They get teased by peers. Because dyslexics struggle to memorize and repeat rote information, misguided teachers, counselors, and even parents draw negative conclusions about their ability to think through and solve problems. Teachers may encourage dyslexics to apply more effort, or may even suggest that a child doesn’t care enough about school work.
The truth is that students with dyslexia often work harder, and care as much as any of their peers—but the results of their efforts are exhausting, disappointing at every turn, discouraging over time and, eventually, totally defeating....."
"If several of these warning signs apply to you, don't hesitate to seek help from qualified professionals. If the outcome of an evaluation determines that you have dyslexia or some other type of LD, rest assured that with proper support you’ll be better able to succeed in school, the workplace, and in life. Print this article, check off the warning signs that apply to you, and share the list with your doctor or with another professional and ask for guidance about a formal evaluation. By taking this initiative, you’re advocating for yourself – a critical skill that will serve you well both personally and professionally"
For at least the past six months, I’ve had trouble:
Distinguishing between words that look or sound alike. Understanding non-literal language such as jokes and idioms. Picking up on non-verbal cues; participating properly in conversation. Understanding directions/instructions. Avoiding "slips of the tongue" (e.g., a rolling stone gathers no moths"). Summarizing the main ideas in a story, article, or book. Expressing ideas clearly, in a logical way, and not getting bogged down in details. Learning a foreign language. Memorization.
Reading at a good pace and at an expected level. Reading aloud with fluency and accuracy. Keeping place while reading. Using "word analysis" (rather than guessing) to figure out unfamiliar words. Recognizing printed words. Finding enjoyment and being self-confident while reading.
Writing: Spelling words correctly and consistently. Using proper grammar. Proofreading and self-correcting work. Preparing outlines and organizing written assignments. Fully developing ideas in writing. Expressing ideas in a logical, organized way.
Social-Emotional: Picking up on other people's moods and feelings. Understanding and responding appropriately to teasing. Making and keeping friends. Setting realistic goals for social relationships. Dealing with group pressure and embarrassment, and unexpected challenges. Having a realistic sense of social strengths and weaknesses. Feeling motivated and confident in learning abilities at school and at work. Understanding why success is more easily achieved in some areas compared with others.
Other: Organizing and managing time. Navigating space and direction (e.g., telling left from right). Accurately judging speed and distance (e.g., when driving). Reading charts and maps. Performing consistently from day to day. Applying skills learned in one situation to another..."
"...In conjunction with the new website launch, Learning Ally is also introducing a web-based tool for educators to individualize instruction for students with print disabilities. Teacher Ally will enable special education teachers to easily assign audiobook reading materials to individual students or an entire class; provide individualized instruction; monitor progress; generate detailed reports on the number of pages completed and time spent reading; and collaborate more effectively with parents.
“For decades, our audiobook library has been recognized as a proven accommodation for those who are already certified with a disability – but children and parents at earlier stages of the family journey have critical needs as well,” said Andrew Friedman, Learning Ally President and CEO. “We’ve made tremendous efforts to work with parents, students, teachers, and reading specialists to provide new services that meet their needs. Our newly transformed website, the Teacher Ally tool, the Parent Resource Center and other services have all resulted from listening carefully to our community.”
he Lamar County School District will use the $45,000-a-year grant to screen its kindergartners for dyslexia and train K-5 teachers on how to identify and work with dyslexic students.
Petal School District received a $134,965 grant to be used over the three-year period. Also, Jones County School District was awarded a $134,971 grant.
"This means for us that we're hopefully going to do a better job of identifying reading problems in our students and help them do a better job in reading," Lamar County Superintendent Ben Burnett said.
Work under the grant begins when school starts next week.
The district previously gave dyslexia training to 125 kindergarten through third-grade teachers under a grant it received last year from the state Department of Education.
"A recent survey indicated a high percentage of the instructional staff wanted more knowledge on identifying characteristics of dyslexic students or working with students with characteristics of dyslexia," Assistant Superintendent Stacey Pace said in an email.
Burnett said the grant would allow the district to meet its teachers' needs for dealing with dyslexic students.
"It is the intent of the district to meet the needs of the dyslexic population, especially in grades K through 5 and to address the needs for reading improvement," she said.
Lamar County School District and Petal School District were among eight public school districts in the state to receive the grant.
"This grant will be implemented in grades K through 5 in each of our elementary schools," said Pace.
Training will take place monthly, and detailed training will occur for about 25 teachers throughout the three-year grant, according to Pace.
Teachers will be trained in the Orton-Gillingham method - a teaching approach that is commonly used with dyslexic students.