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Navigating Dyslexia: Understanding, Intervention, and Empowerment

Updated: Feb 23

When faced with the daunting task of understanding learning differences, particularly dyslexia, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. This blog aims to simplify the information available and guide those navigating this journey, whether you're a parent, educator, or personally affected by dyslexia.



"Explicit teaching of alphabetic decoding skills is helpful for all children, harmful for none, and crucial for some"

-Snowling, Hulme, Snow, and Juel



Understanding Dyslexia

Dyslexia is more than just a challenge with reading; it's a specific neurobiological learning disability. The International Dyslexia Association defines it as a condition characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition, poor spelling, and decoding abilities, often due to a deficit in the phonological component of language. This means that dyslexia isn't just about struggling to read but also encompasses difficulties with spelling, writing, and pronouncing words.


Wilson Reading System and Barton Reading and Spelling System


The Wilson Reading System

The Wilson Reading System (WRS) is at the forefront of dyslexia intervention, designed as a comprehensive Tier 3 program to explicitly teach the structure of the English language related to reading and spelling. WRS is grounded in research and addresses critical areas such as:

  • The construction of words and their reading and spelling rules

  • Recognition and memorization of High-Frequency Words or Sight Words

  • Vocabulary development and usage

  • Reading fluency for smoother reading

  • Enhancing listening comprehension

  • Improving reading comprehension


And more, making it an invaluable tool in supporting individuals with dyslexia.



Characteristics of Dyslexia

Individuals with dyslexia might exhibit various signs, including:

  • Trouble rhyming words

  • Difficulty in naming letters and their sounds

  • Challenges in reading fluently, particularly when reading aloud

  • She struggles with sounding out unfamiliar words or inferring words based on partial letter cues

  • A family history of reading and spelling difficulties


These symptoms can lead to broader academic challenges, affecting reading comprehension, spelling, writing, and math skills.



Dyslexia Myths

It's crucial to debunk common myths about dyslexia. It is not a reflection of intelligence or related to vision problems. Dyslexia cannot be "cured," but with the proper support, individuals with dyslexia can achieve great success.



Choosing the Right Intervention

With many programs claiming effectiveness, it can take time to select the right one. Here are vital factors to consider:



Orton-Gillingham based


Orton-Gillingham (OG) Based Programs

The gold standard for dyslexia intervention is the Orton-Gillingham (OG) approach. OG programs are tailored for students with learning differences and are scientifically proven to be effective. They are multisensory, sequential, incremental, cumulative, individualized, based on phonograms, and explicit in instruction.


Research-Driven Programs

Ensure the program you choose is backed by solid research. While new programs frequently emerge, not all have the empirical support to guarantee their effectiveness. For example, the Wilson Reading System (WRS) is based on the OG approach and has a proven track record of success.


Certified Professionals

The instructor's qualifications are as essential as the program itself. Look for tutors with Wilson Level 1 or Level 2 certification or those actively undergoing their practicum. A quality tutor will prioritize building a rapport with their student and should have the following:

  • Completed intensive training and a supervised practicum

  • Provided a minimum number of lessons under supervision

  • Undergone Master's level coursework relevant to the program

  • Maintained their certification with ongoing education



Conclusion

While a diagnosis of dyslexia can initially feel daunting, understanding the condition and knowing what to look for in intervention programs can empower you to make informed decisions. Remember, "Explicit teaching of alphabetic decoding skills is helpful for all children, harmful for none, and crucial for some" (Snowling, Hulme, Snow, and Juel). Whether your student has been diagnosed with dyslexia or not, targeted intervention can significantly aid any child struggling with reading or writing.


If you're seeking expert guidance and support tailored to your student's unique needs, don't hesitate to contact LD Experts. Our team is dedicated to providing effective, research-driven solutions that can make a real difference in your child's learning journey. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Dyslexia


What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a neurobiological learning disability characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition, poor spelling, and decoding abilities. It's related to a deficit in the phonological component of language, affecting reading, spelling, writing, and pronunciation skills.


Can dyslexia be cured?

Dyslexia cannot be "cured," as it is a lifelong condition. However, with appropriate intervention and strategies, individuals with dyslexia can significantly improve their reading and writing skills and succeed academically and professionally.


How is dyslexia diagnosed?

Dyslexia is diagnosed through a comprehensive evaluation that typically includes cognitive and psychological assessments and tests specifically designed to identify reading, spelling, and phonological processing difficulties.


What is the Wilson Reading System?

The Wilson Reading System (WRS) is a research-based intervention program designed to explicitly teach the structure of the English language, including reading and spelling rules, vocabulary, and comprehension strategies, tailored for individuals with dyslexia and other reading difficulties.


How can I choose the right intervention program?

When selecting an intervention program, look for research-driven ones based on the Orton-Gillingham approach and delivered by certified professionals. Programs like the Wilson Reading System, which are multisensory, sequential, and individualized, are often recommended.


Are there any resources available for parents and educators?

There are numerous resources available for parents and educators, including organizations like the International Dyslexia Association, educational websites, support groups, and professional services like LD Experts that offer guidance, training, and intervention programs.


How can LD Experts help?

LD Experts provide specialized services for individuals with dyslexia and other learning differences, including assessments, personalized intervention plans, and tutoring by certified professionals. They are dedicated to empowering students through evidence-based practices and supportive instruction.



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