Before I tell you what dyslexia is, I need to tell you what dyslexia is NOT.
• Dyslexia is NOT a reading problem that will go away with time. You should never take a “wait and see attitude.”
• Dyslexia is NOT an attentional problem. Telling someone to “Focus more” and “Concentrate harder” is not the solution.
• Dyslexia is NOT a problem with motivation.
• Dyslexia is NOT about just reversing letters likes b and d.
• Dyslexia is NOT a vision problem.
• Dyslexia is NOT being “dumb” or “lazy.”
According to the International Dyslexia Association and National Institutes of Health:
Dyslexia IS a language based learning disability that impacts phonological processing in reading, writing, spelling, handwriting, and sometimes in arithmetic. Phonological processing is the ability to see or hear a word, break it down to discrete sounds, and then associate each sound with letter/s that make up the word.
Red flags for dyslexia might include:
• Difficulty with segmenting words or blending words. For example, “Say the word FOLD but don’t say F,” those with dyslexia might have difficulty determining that OLD is left.
• Words like /of/ and /from/ or /then/ and /when/ can get mixed up.
• When writing, they insert or delete letters. For example, when asked to write “born,” they may write, “boirn.” When asked to write “cage”, they might write “cag”
• Difficulty with imprinting words. For example, once you have taught them a word on one page of a book, they don’t seem to recognize it by the next page
• Spelling the same word different ways (graphic: eskape, exskap, escap for the word escape.)
I’ll give you an analogy:
From the outside, an electric vehicle looks like a gasoline powered vehicle. Internally, it is quite a different story. Trying to fill up an electric car with gasoline is not going to help the car run. Teaching dyslexic students to read without the correct instruction is not going to work.
Can you imagine how silly it would be if someone kept trying to take the electric car to a gasoline pump to get it to go? An electric car is strong and powerful just like the dyslexic brain, but it needs the right type of energy to make it drive. Similarly, dyslexic students need the right type of instruction.
So, what is the right instruction?
1. First, It should be structured using a peer reviewed scientifically researched program (Graphic could show well defined organization, arranged in a definite pattern)
2. Second, it should be Systematic (graphic could show having a method or plan, methodical in procedure)
3. Third, it should be Sequential (graphic could show from easiest to hardest based on the research)
4. Fourth, Cumulative (graphic could show increasing or growing by successive additions)
5. Fifth, Multi-sensory (graphic could show visual, auditory, kinesthetic, tactile (VAKT) delivery of information at the same time)
6. Sixth, And maybe most importantly it needs to be phonologically based (sounding out words)
Let’s get those electric cars to the charging stations!