Dyslexia Diagnosis (or not!)...
Researching Learning Differences can feel overwhelming! We understand, and we are here for you.
Below is some scientifically-based information we have compiled.
It is important to note that even if your student does not have a diagnosis of dyslexia, intervention that targets the areas outlined below is still beneficial to any student that struggles with reading or writing!
“Explicit teaching of alphabetic decoding skills
is helpful for all children, harmful for none, and crucial for some.”
- Snowling, Hulme, Snow and Juel
What is Dyslexia?
According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is "...a specific learning disability that is neurobiological 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..."
Additionally, dyslexia is not just struggling with reading. Children with dyslexia often also have difficulty spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. The severity of dyslexia varies from person to person and affects individuals throughout their life.
Other characteristics of dyslexia are:
Difficulty naming letters and naming letter sounds
Difficulty reading fluently while reading aloud, especially when trying to group words together in sentences using appropriate tone and phrasing
Difficulty sounding out unfamiliar words or guessing what a word is based on letters at the beginning and/or end of a word
A family history of reading and/or spelling difficulties
These difficulties can lead to academic challenges related to reading comprehension, spelling, writing, and math.
Dyslexia is NOT:
Dyslexia is not related to intelligence, an issue related to vision, or curable.
However, it is important to note that children - like all humans! - are complex. This means that they can have different symptoms, characteristics, diagnoses and/or other learning differences present and also be dyslexic.
How to Choose an Intervention:
There are a LOT of programs out there promising effectiveness and results, but how do you know which one to choose? Here is what to look for...
1. OG Based
The best dyslexia intervention programs are Orton-Gillingham based. In order for a program to be considered an OG program, it must meet certain criteria. These programs are specifically designed with students that have learning differences in mind, and they are scientifically proven to deliver the best results.
Orton-Gillingham curriculums will be multisensory, sequential, incremental, cumulative, individualized, based on phonograms (letters or pairs of letters), and explicit.
2. Research Driven
The program that you select for your child should be research driven. This is an important piece of the puzzle that often gets overlooked. New programs are created all the time, but they don't often have years of empirical research to support them. This is one reason why we like the Wilson Reading Program (WRS). The WRS program is a curriculum based off the Orton-Gillingham approach. The LD Expert uses the Wilson Reading System to fidelity in order to provide the best services to our students.
3. Certified Professional
While the program itself is very important, the person delivering the instruction is also critical! Most importantly, they should be fully certified in the intervention program. Wilson tutors should have Level 1 or Level 2 certification, or be currently completing their practicum. Simply completing the 3-day workshop is not adequate. Additionally, your tutor should make building a relationship with your student a priority!
Before becoming a certified WRS practitioner, a tutor will have:
Completed an intensive 3-day training workshop
Completed a supervised practicum year involving a minimum of 65 lessons
The supervisor will have also completed advanced requirements in order to become a WRS trainer
Completed the Master’s level coursework that is paired with the supervised practicum
Maintained their practitioner status with continuing education that must be submitted every five years