Dyslexia Intervention for Elementary School Students
By Joan Whetzel
Dyslexia Intervention for Elementary School Students
By Joan Whetzel
Does your child have dyslexia? It's not always easy to tell until once they get into school. And even then it can take a couple of years of practice with reading and writing for teachers to discern that a child should be tested. Testing can be done in school, and dyslexia tutoring classes are now offered to help students testing positive for dyslexia to succeed.
Reasons For Dyslexia Intervention
The main reasons for agreeing to have a child tested for dyslexia include:
· It helps teachers, parents, and tutors gain access to the best information about the causes and treatments for dyslexia.
· It helps dyslexic students get the help they need for their learning difficulties before they shut down or stop trying because school is too difficult.
· For children who aren't progressing at an proper rate with reading and writing skills, early testing - in first or second grade - can detect the dyslexia early enough to start the student on tutoring that is specific to their needs.
· The student needs fewer tutoring services over time.
· The tutoring intervention is less rigorous when started early.
· The student won't be held back a grade (or two, or three).
· Students sustain long-term academic growth.
· The consequences of learning disabilities that haven't been addressed are lessened, or even better, prevented altogether.
Dyslexia - The Struggle Through School
Dyslexia Definition and Signs
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that originates in the brain, producing difficulty with accurate, fluent word recognition, spelling, writing, and with the ability to decipher key concepts. It is the most common of the reading, writing, and spelling learning disorders. People who suffer from dyslexia are often very bright and gifted in areas that don't require language skills such as the arts and sciences, and even with computer skills. Dyslexic children often have trouble with the sound structure of words, meaning they run into trouble breaking words into their component syllables or blended vowel or consonant combinations (ai, ea, ch, sh, tion, ou, ow, sch, ch), as well as maintaining long-term memory of pronunciation for letters, word segments, or even entire words. Dyslexic children also have difficulty committing site words to memory. Parents can look for the signs of dyslexia in their Kindergarten to 4th grade students. As with any other disease or disability, students with dyslexia may only exhibit some of these symptoms.
· They may be slow in connecting the letters with their sounds
· They may have trouble reading single words, words that stand alone with not sentence to provide the context needed to figure the word out.
· They may have trouble with phonetics, sounding words out phonetically.
· They may consistently make the following reading and spelling errors:
o transposing the letters "d" and "b" as in transposing "big" for "dig"
o reversing whole words like "tap" for "pat" or "left" for "felt"
o inverting letters - "m" for "w" or "n" for "u"
o substituting another word that means essentially the same thing - "home" instead of "house"
· They may find that the small sight words confuse them: at instead of to or does instead of goes.
· They may start guessing at words based on the context of the sentence or paragraph.
· They may have difficulty learning the new weekly vocabulary words.
· They may have trouble transposing numbers or confusing the math symbols (+ - x / =)
· They may have trouble remembering those facts over time when it's time to take tests.
· They may find it difficult to learn new skills, merely memorizing key steps without really understanding why they need to do these steps.
· They may have difficulty organizing or managing their time, the materials needed for their class work, or the tasks they need to complete.
· They may even have difficulty with fine motor coordination.
· They may avoid reading, complaining that it's too hard.
· They may exhibit higher level thinking skills, including an intense curiosity or vivid imagination.
· They may pause or hesitate when speaking.
· They may use vague words like "stuff" instead of more specific, descriptive words.
· They may require more time to come up with verbal responses to questions, or in response to statements made by others in a normal conversation.
· They may intensely dislike reading aloud.
What Is It Like to Have Dyslexia? Animations and Illustrations
Testing for dyslexia requires a battery of tests that measure students' communicative oral language (what they are able to express verbally), communicative written language (what they are able to express in writing), receptive oral language (their ability to respond orally), receptive written language (their ability to respond in writing), intellectual performance, cognitive processing, and their educational achievement, or how well they have been learning in general.
Included in the battery of tests is a comprehensive assessment to establish whether the student's learning disability may be caused by other factors. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), disorders like anxiety or depression, hearing problems, developmental disorders, and physical or sensory impairments must be ruled out as contributing factors.
Classroom observation is done to see how the student responds and behaves in a classroom setting. Other tests include:
· A base IQ test to the student's learning ability.
· A complete evaluation of their reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary, sentence, paragraph skills, both oral and written.
· Basic math skills - calculation, basic concepts, math/reasoning skills, and practical application.
After testing a written report is provided to the school and the parents. The testers will sit down and discuss the testing with the parents to make sure they understand the strengths and weaknesses that their child demonstrated during the testing. Solutions and suggestions for helping the student will be provided. The names of tutors and programs will be provided, both in school and external.
There is no cure for dyslexia, only measures aimed at teaching the dyslexic students some coping techniques that will help them succeed in school and in life. Most dyslexic students will need help from a teacher or tutor who has been trained in multisensory and structured language approaches to teaching. Multisensory learning approaches (visual, auditory, and tactile) are essential since dyslexic people are "wired different", meaning they don't learn the same way as most other students. One-on-on help is also essential to helping dyslexic children advance at their own pace.
Many schools implement academic modifications into the school program for dyslexic students. Some of these modifications include:
· allowing the dyslexic student additional time to complete tasks.
· allowing other students to help them take notes.
· work assignments geared specifically toward the needs of the dyslexic student.
· taped or oral exams.
· books on tape.
· completing assignments on computer.
· structuring information for each assignment and learning unit from the most simple aspects to the most complex.
· reinforcement of new skill throughout the day.
· integrating the spelling, reading and writing portions of each assignment and classroom unit to reinforce the student's reading, writing, and spelling skills.
· longer practice periods for the student to learn new skills.
· repeated reviews of skills learned earlier.
· pacing the lessons so that the dyslexic student does not become overwhelmed by information overload.
· intensive reading to reinforce and enhance fluency and reading rate.
· decreasing homework load.
· grading system based on substance rather than spelling and handwriting proficiency.
· avoiding or reducing essay exams.
· providing handouts to complement the notes taken by the student.
· keeping classroom visual aids uncomplicated.
Frost, Julie A. and Emery, Michael J. Kid Source. Academic Interventions for Children with Dyslexia Who Have Phonological Core Deficits.
Wikipedia. Dyslexia Interventions.
Overcoming Dyslexia. Dyslexia Symptoms.