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The student who struggles with reading and spelling often puzzles teachers and parents. The student displays average ability to learn in the absence of print and receives the same classroom instruction that benefits most children; however, the student continues to struggle with some or all of the many facets of reading and spelling. This student may be a student with dyslexia.
The Texas Education Code (TEC) §38.003 defines dyslexia in the following way:
Dyslexia means a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity.
Related disorders includes disorders similar to or related to dyslexia such as developmental auditory imperception, dysphasia, specific developmental dyslexia, developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability.
The current definition from the International Dyslexia Association states the following:
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.
At this stage, children are developing the underlying oral language base necessary for learning to read. Signs that indicate possible difficulties with reading acquisition include:
At this stage, children are developing basic word recognition skills both through the use of word attack strategies and contextual cues. Students with dyslexia will show some of the following characteristics:
At this stage, children progressing normally have mastered basic reading skills and are now expected to learn new information form reading. Many students with dyslexia continue to have significant difficulties with developing word recognition skills and therefore have trouble coping with more advanced reading activities necessary to succeed in the upper elementary grades and beyond.
Students at this stage are expected to analyze and synthesize information in written form as well as acquire factual information. Although many individuals with dyslexia may have compensated for some of their difficulties with reading, others may continue to have problems with automatic word identification.
What is the primary deficit associated with dyslexia?
Phonological awareness – the awareness that words, both written and spoken, can be broken down into smaller units of sound and that the letters constituting the printed word represent the sounds heard in the spoken word.
Canyon ISD offers a range of services to students with dyslexia. Programming is always decided upon by a committee of people familiar with the student and knowledgeable about dyslexia and related disorders. The options available to the student with dyslexia are as follows:
The Dyslexia Intervention Program is a fast-paced, phonetic-based dyslexia program. There are 146 lessons in the program. The program includes alphabet activities, review of reading and spelling sounds and concepts, new concept (sound), reading practice, handwriting, listening and verbal comprehension, reading comprehension, and writing activities. Students must commit to being in intervention each day and to reading for an additional 20-30 minutes per day. The books read during this additional time need to be on the student’s reading level. This independent practice is crucial to overall progress.
The strategies used in the Dyslexia Intervention Program come from many sources including Scottish Rite Dyslexia programs, Project Read, the Neuhaus Center, and Lawrence Greene and Bernice Bragstad’s Study Skills.