The Dyslexia Controversy Heats Up
The Dyslexia Controversy has become a hotter issue in Congress as Senator Cassidy, a Louisiana Senator who has a child with Dyslexia, recently grilled Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan on the need for focusing on Students with Dyslexia.
This may be the worst answer a Secretary of Education has ever given http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4534666/senator-cassidy-sec-arne-duncan-dyslexia
Secretary Duncan has focused on many key issues, but Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities do not appear to have benefited from the effort.
Dyslexia is said to impact 1 in 5 students or 20% of the student population.
The International Dyslexia Association has defined dyslexia as:
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.
For a right-brain learner, wh0 has difficulty with:
– Understanding what sight words mean — words like what, if, but, and therefor
– Recognizing words seen and not mastered
– Visualizing what he or she reads, because decoding is taking all their energy and they have never been taught to visualize what he or she reads
– Skipping words and lines when reading — this is often, but not always the case, for dyslexic students
– Paying attention to that which is boring
– Frustration and anxiety
One could define dyslexia as difficulty learning the way the student is taught. Then the Dyslexia Controversy needs to widen the range on the camera to make sure one identifies and addresses the relevant issues.
For example, if a dyslexic student has all of the above challenges, and many do, it is important to address all these issues before phonics will work.
We have seen dyslexic students get 2 or 3 years of phonics-based programs and still be at the first grade reading comprehension level — because the focus is on phonics and not moving to the next level until the skill has been mastered.
We have had a student Lisa, whose parents had spent $34000 on an expensive Dyslexia Treatment and had made no progress. With our program, which can be viewed as a dyslexia treatment, she improved her reading comprehension 4 grade levels in 6 months and doubled he reading speed.
Alex did our program first and then an expensive dyslexia program –where he completed 12 months worth of work in 3 months, because he had the foundational skills a student with right-brain dyslexia needs before phonics will work
As the Dyslexia Controversy hears up, we need to balance the effort by recognizing
– Dyslexia students do not all learn the same way and a different program may be needed for thos with right-brain dyslexia
– Dyslexia rarely comes without two or more co-morbid conditions — attention, eye-teaming, working memory, processing speed and /or auditory processing challenges
– Parents and educators need to match the dyslexic student’s needs with the right dyslexia treatment and other efforts
Click here for more on Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities from a 3D Learner perspective.