I Think My Student Has DyslexiaWendy Sweeney, MA, LP, PANDA Manager Lori Yurick, PANDA Grant Administrator
Do you think you may have a student with dyslexia? The information below will help you understand dyslexia, outline best practices in teaching an individual with dyslexia, and give you some ideas for next steps.
- Dyslexia is a lifelong neurological condition which impacts how an individual processes information.
- Another term for dyslexia is a specific learning disorder (SLD) with impairment in reading.
- To be diagnosed with dyslexia, an individual needs to have at least average intelligence. Most people with dyslexia are very bright.
- Dyslexics need to be taught differently using their strengths and senses.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans have shown the evidence of the difference in brain structure for those with and without dyslexia.
Common symptoms of dyslexia
- Difficulty breaking words down (decoding isolated words)
- Trouble spelling common words (encoding isolated words)
- Word by word reading
- Frequent re-reading
- Slowed reading and fluency
- Poor reading comprehension
You can also watch this short video to find out what it is like for an individual with dyslexia.
Best instructional practices for dyslexia
The most successful method of instruction for individuals with dyslexia is called multi-sensory instruction. The most well-known of these methods is called Orton-Gillingham.
Multi-sensory instruction involves teaching to all the senses when learning in order to access all brain pathways. For instance, using hearing, vision, touch, and movement. Examples of multi-sensory reading strategies include tracing letters and words in sand or rice trays, using textured letters, spelling words with magnetic letters, using rhyme or music, using line readers, and playing games. See the handout titled What Is Multi-Sensory Instruction for more ideas.
Additionally, there are several assistive technology programs and adaptive equipment which can be of great assistance for an individual with dyslexia. Many are already built into cell phones and computers. For example, text-to-speech, speech to text, change text color, increase text size and more. There are also several websites which are helpful with reading. See this handout titled Assistive Technology/Websites for Reading Difficulties for more ideas.
PANDA’s Adult Learner Intervention
If you have a student you suspect has dyslexia, contact PANDA to inquire about an Adult Learner Intervention, which involves interviewing and screening your student. For more information go to: https://pandamn.org/category/adult-learner-intervention/
To learn more about dyslexia go to PANDA’s website at: https://pandamn.org/category/specific-learning-disorders/
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