Not sure how many cases of reading disability (dyslexia) I’ve seen over the years, but it’s safe to assume it’s a pretty big number.
You would think that assessing another child with significant dyslexia would be pretty, “ho hum” or humdrum, as in “been there done that,” but it never is.
I am continually astounded that something most children acquire with little effort by third grade (i.e., basic reading, spelling and writing skills), can be so daunting and challenging for others, resulting in considerable anxiety, insecurity and anguish.
Take George, a 12 year old sixth grader recently evaluated.
Friendly, warm and engaging, George was open with me about the impact his learning problems have on him.
At the start of the testing, when I asked him to write three wishes, here was one of them:
“That I donuot hav dklexa.”
While listening to George read within the assessment, I understood why such a thought was front and center.
Here’s a little sample of how he read a third grade level story:
The text read...“I saw the signal on the shore.” George read that as, “I saw a sign at the store.”
Later in the same story it said, “…the bridge where the map showed it would be.”
George read that as, “...the bridge when the map swallowed it would be.”
There were no moments while reading where George stopped to consider that what he read made no sense. George simply plowed on, making error after error.
George’s spelling and writing reflected these issues, as well:
- reach / rech,
- circle / cercul,
- correct / crect,
- dress / bres,
- train / tran,
- grown / gron
Rarely causing problems in the classroom, Teachers loved him. When parents asked the teachers about his reading, spelling and writing problems, they repeatedly heard what a lovely child he was and that, “really spelling doesn’t matter since there is spell check.”
Currently, George dreads the thought of returning to in-person school and is continually anxious about possibly having to read something out-loud (not that it was much better on-line, as children would be called on to read, which George dreaded).
I wish I could tell you there were straight-forward, simple solutions, but there are no easy answers. For the George’s of the world you need to be thinking on two major fronts – the academic and the emotional.
Each child’s situation is different.
There are reasons why learning disability has been called the “Hidden Handicap.”
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