As we discussed in the last week’s post (“Misunderstanding the “D-Word'” ), the problem with the use of the word “dyslexia,” which has become quite popular among parents and professionals, is that the word is almost universally misunderstood.
We encouraged you to ask the question at your Super Bowl gatherings to a few people (off to the side) as to what they knew about dyslexia, with the inevitable response involving reading “upside down and backward or reversing.”
To set the record straight, this definition from the NICHD (National Institute of Child and Human Development):
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduce reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
Well, there you have it. Sound like anyone you know?
Notice, there is no mention of upside down or backward reading in the definition. There is also no mention of IQ scores (which in the state of New Jersey is an essential aspect of classifying a child with a learning disability).
To address the child showing these features, just like having difficulty with a sport skill, such as hitting a baseball, you would find someone who could teach the basic skills.
The same is true with addressing the “D-Word.”
I would encourage you to let common sense prevail when it comes to these reading problems.
If you ask yourself, “Is your child struggling with reading” and the answer is “yes,” then regardless of the ultimate “diagnosis,” the child needs help, whether this is provided by the school or on the outside in the form of tutoring with appropriate methods supported in the research.
It really isn’t all that mysterious.
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