I listened to an interview with Sally Shaywitz on the program Disability Matters as I was cooking dinner the other night. Dr. Sally Shaywitz is a leader in the field of reading research. She is a neuroscientist, professor of pediatrics at Yale and codirector of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention. I think her book, Overcoming Dyslexia, should be required reading for all teachers. As much as I enjoyed hearing Dr. Shaywitz explain her research and findings, what stuck with me the most was the empathy she had for the struggles of people with dyslexia. Both Dr. Shaywitz and the host, Joyce Bender, told stories of how being bullied and teased, in addition to struggling with a learning disability, can take a huge toll on students’ self-confidence and feelings of self-worth.
Listen to the episode here: http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/69418/sally-e-shaywitz-md
What secondary effects of dyslexia have you seen students struggle with? What can we do to positively affect our students’ social and emotional situations?
Hearing how having dyslexia can end up being so emotionally and socially burdensome as well, fills me with empathy, but also frustration because people with dyslexia shouldn’t have to struggle with that through their school years or lifetimes. When identified early and given proper remediation instruction, the prognosis for students with dyslexia is very good! Students who are identified early and given proper instruction will more than likely not have to face the secondary emotional and social burdens.
Early Signs of Dyslexia
Parents and teachers need to be aware of the early signs that a child may have dyslexia so that the child can be given the proper instruction and receive an evaluation, if necessary. Here are some of the earliest warning signs that a child may have difficulty learning to read:
- A delay in speaking
- Generally, children say their first words around 1 year and phrases around 18 months or 2 years.
- Difficulty pronouncing words
- Generally, children should have little trouble with most words by 5 or 6.
- Difficulty with rhymes
- Generally, children begin to notice and enjoy rhymes around 3 or 4.
- Difficulty finding the right word
- Children with dyslexia may use “stuff” or “thing” instead of the specific word. They may also describe and talk around something, if they have trouble finding the term.
- Difficulty learning the names of the letters and their sounds
- Family history of dyslexia or difficulty reading
- Dyslexia does run in families. One-quarter to one-half of children who have a parent with dyslexia will also have dyslexia.
What were some of the early indicators you noticed in your student or child with dyslexia?