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  • Autumn Foster, M.S., CCC-SLP

Understanding Dyslexia

The word “Dyslexia” is becoming a hot topic. Reading and writing are complex tasks. Rightfully so, Dyslexia is a complex condition. Have you heard about Dyslexia? Are you wondering if your child or a loved one has Dyslexia? Do you know what YOU can do to help? If you are interested in learning more, check out these general topics of conversation relating to Dyslexia.

What is Dyslexia?

According to the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), “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.” Furthermore, IDA states, “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.”

Based on this definition, it is known that difficulties with phonological awareness will negatively impact a child's ability to decode (read) and encode (spell) single words. In addition, a child with dyslexia may have difficulty with reading accurately and fluently. When student's struggle in these areas, reading comprehension is also impacted and children have negative experiences, resulting in less reading experience overall.

The IDA states that as many as 1 in 10 people have Dyslexia.

Information gathered from: The International Dyslexia Association:

Legislative Changes

The state of Missouri has developed a Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia. This task force is working to develop recommendations and guidelines for public schools to begin effectively identifying and providing appropriate instruction to students who have Dyslexia.

For more information, see the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website:

Action steps

If you think your child may have Dyslexia, here are some things you can do, as a parent:

1. Look for “Red Flags”

-Check out the self-assessment tool from the International Dyslexia Association:

-Preschool Red Flags: Children may have difficulty learning nursery rhymes and developing speech and language skills appropriately.

-School Age Red Flags: Children may have difficulty reading and spelling on grade level, following rapid instructions, and sounding out/spelling new or unfamiliar words.

-Adolescent Red Flags: Children may have difficulty with reading and writing on grade level, reading out loud, memorizing information, and keeping up with grade level math problems.

2. Start the Conversation: If you think your child may have Dyslexia, begin the conversation with their educators and caregivers. Speak to their physician, therapists, and teachers about your concerns.

3. Ideas for Home:

-Make Reading Fun! Children with Dyslexia often feel discouraged about reading and don’t get the practice they need. Turn reading into a game and make every reading experience positive!

-Help them gain the information they need for school. These children CAN learn, but they may need to gain the information in ways other than reading. Help your child read their homework when it is appropriate so they can gain the knowledge needed for academic success.

-Practice Rhyming: Make nursery rhymes, silly songs, and poems the child’s new best friend!

-Play, Play, Play! Parents can help their children by playing games! Any game that requires rapid thought processes or recall are great for building memory and word retrieval skills needed for reading. We love games like: Blink, Slamwich, Uno, Headbanz, War, Catch Phrase, and Spoons.

Do you have concerns about your child’s reading abilities and or would you like more information on what you can do for your child?


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