Too often the focus is on a term like dyslexia. That often misses how a child learns best, and that there are often attention and visual processing issues that are just as critical in helping a child to understand what he or she reads.
Consider what happened to Matthew. His mom had read a similar definition to the one adopted by the International Dyslexia Association — you can read it below:
The International Dyslexia Association has a very different definition of dyslexia than we might have. Their definition of dyslexia is:
Q: What Is Dyslexia?
A: Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological 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 reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
The challenge was that Matthew did not do well with any of the typical dyslexia programs. He learned differently and had visual processing and attention challenges, factors which were missed with the Dyslexia Test that Matthew had been through. Note: dyslexia symptoms tend to focus on the definition of dyslexia, and not what your child may need to succeed.
At 3D Learner, we avoid labels, unless it helps students to get services or accommodations. We look at the following questions:
- Does your child learn best when your child sees and experiences information?
- Does your child skip words and lines when reading?
- Does your child have difficulty paying attention to that which is boring or frustrating?
and related questions about other challenges.
We focus on identifying gifts and challenges
We also assess for your child’s present level of reading comprehension,which we think is the key issue for most smart kids who struggle in school.
Matthew was a 5th grader whose reading was close to grade level, but his comprehension was 3 years below grade level.
Matthew was considered a success by the people who provided the dyslexia program he had recently taken, but to us, the key issue persisted — Matthew did not understand what he was reading.
What makes 3D Learner so different for other dyslexia programs is that we focus on improving reading comprehension and the love of reading, versus a focus on decoding and phonemic awareness, both of which are important but not the first foundational skills your child may need to succeed.
Rather than focus on the symptoms of dyslexia, we think you should consider whether your child learns differently, what would engage your child, and what issues are holding your child back. Attention, visual processing and working memory may all be critical to address before phonics will work.