What do Albert Einstein, JFK, Tim Tebow, Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, Whoopi Goldberg - and possibly your own child - have in common? If your child struggles to read, they may have dyslexia just like those famous people do. To the general public the word “dyslexic” conjures thoughts of someone reading words backwards. Dyslexia is an unexpected difficulty in reading in relation to intelligence and education. Dyslexia is often called the hidden disability because it is often misunderstood and sadly never diagnosed. Dyslexia is hereditary and it is something that will not be outgrown. Each dyslexic has different characteristics.
According to the National Institute of Health, dyslexia affects at least one in every five children in the United States which is approximately 10 million children. Dyslexia is not the only cause for reading problems, but it is the most common.Characteristics of dyslexia are a child who learns to talk later than average, difficulty using age appropriate grammar, confusion with left and right, trouble learning the alphabet, rhyming words and naming shapes, colors or letters. It will then progress into difficulty learning how to read, distinguishing different sounds within a word, poor reading comprehension, slow laborious oral reading and difficulty with spelling, writing and sometimes math. You may have been told that you child has auditory or visual processing problems, lack of phonemic awareness, and problems with sight words or math facts. These are signs that your child may have dyslexia.
It is a learning disability, but really it should be called a learning difference. The remedy is an educational one that requires highly trained, highly skilled teachers in reading and writing. The program should be systematic, explicit with direct instruction with mastery of concepts taught being required before moving on. Frequent progress monitoring and diagnostic testing is necessary as well. Dyslexics can and will learn how to read with proper intervention and programs. Research shows that these types of programs are more effective when taught using multi-sensory techniques. Dyslexia can be very mild to severe, depending on the person.
This isn’t just an educational concern, but also a concern for society as a whole. The highest rate of high school drop-outs are dyslexic, as well as, a high percentage of the inmate population. There is hope for children struggling with dyslexia. Dyslexics are known to have average to high average IQ, but sometimes they are seen as lazy or unmotivated when in reality their brain just processes information differently. Dyslexics are out of the box thinkers! 14 states have passed Dyslexia Legislation for early screening and intervention and NJ has appointed a Reading Disabilities Task Force to make recommendations for legislation in NJ. The problem is parents are unaware and uneducated about the true signs of dyslexia.
If you are interested in learning more about dyslexia please attend the Decoding Dyslexia New Jersey parent roundtable that will be held on Tuesday, June 12th at 7pm at the Howell Township Library at 318 Old Tavern Road. Decoding Dyslexia NJ is a grassroots movement driven by NJ families concerned with the limited access to educational interventions for dyslexics. We aim to raise dyslexia awareness, empower families to support children and inform policy makers on the best practices to identify, re-mediate and support students with dyslexia in NJ public schools.For more information or to RSVP (not necessary, but appreciated) please email us: MonmouthOceanDDNJ@hotmail.com.