Dyslexia and attention and vision issues often co-exist in the same child.
In her article What’s the Difference Between Visual Processing Issues and Dyslexia? Dr. Eden says
“However, the definition of dyslexia that doctors use does not include visual processing issues,
which aren’t thought to be a common cause of dyslexia. It’s also important to note that treatments for vision problems,
such as eye exercises or behavioral vision therapy, are not considered helpful for dyslexia.”
There are two very different comments made here:
1- That the definition of dyslexia does not include visual processing nor should it. However, we do check every student for visual processing issues, because visual processing issues exist in over 70% of the students we see, with many being very significant issues.
2- We do refer many students for vision training and it makes what we do far more effective. Not only have we had hundreds of students who have made significant gains with our training and vision therapy, we know other professionals who say the same thing and have met hundreds of parents whose children have benefited from vision therapy.
We have also had cases where a student with dyslexia had been through several dyslexia programs and their comprehension was several years below grade level.
We understand the dyslexia community focuses on phonics and phonemic awareness, but we tend to look at the whole child.
Consider the following issues:
– Learning style
– Sight word vocabulary or what we call frequently used word vocabulary
– Recognizing words previously seen and not mastered
– Visual processing or eye teaming issues
– How long various programs take
More than half the students we see learn differently and have an attention and an eye-teaming issues. Furthermore, dyslexia and attention and vision issues often co-exist.
Many students with dyslexia are visual-spatial learners who learn best when a student sees and experiences information. These students learn from whole to part and often find that traditional dyslexia programs are very frustrating for them. We believe a dyslexia program is an option, but so is a holistic program that teaches your child the way he or she learns and identifies and addresses the relevant issues.
As Dr. Linda Silverman wrote in her book “Upside Down Brilliance”
“Phonics instruction does not need to be eliminated altogether, but sight word vocabulary needs to be built first. Then whole words or syllables can be compared and the pattern recognition capacities of the visual-spatial learner can be brought to bear”.
We agree phonics is important, but we also believe that it is very important to address frequently used word vocabulary and pattern recognition skills
Attention is another critical condition that is not included in the definition of dyslexia, but is often present in the student with dyslexia.
How long various programs take. We have heard Wilson (R) providers say the program takes three years and that is hard to argue with — because the program is laid out to take three years. Our goal is to have students go from Stress to Success in Months and not Years
When we recognized that dyslexia and attention and vision issues often co-exist in the same child. we realized it is best to address them all in an integrated way
We find that the smarter students with dyslexia can succeed in months and not years if one assesses and addresses the relevant problems and teaches the student the way the student learns best and identifies and addresses his or her challenges.
We strongly recommend parents consider both options.
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