Should the ‘RTI’ model delay evaluation of struggling students for years?

The following the link will take you to a parent’s passionate plea for help for her daughter. She is pleading with her school board to revisit its policies. She praises the child’s teacher who is going above and beyond but unable to give her daughter what she needs.

https://docs.google.com/a/guilford.edu/file/d/0BwodmMudG_2kUDNCaVdjLV9JLVk/edit?pli=1

From Learning Ally…

Although this article is about children with Dyslexia, it has good information for parents of children with many different types of  learning challenges.

August 28, 2014

10 Things a Parent to a Child with Dyslexia Wishes You Understood

 Since discovering that my children have dyslexia, I have been absorbing all of the information about dyslexia that I can possibly find. In the process, I’ve learned so much.

I’d like to help others understand the 1 in 5 kids who have dyslexia as well.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 things a parent to a child with dyslexia wishes you understood:

10. Grammar police, please stop.pic

Example:  “Your dog is LAYING next to you?? What’s he laying? An egg?”

Why this is an issue: Dyslexia is a learning difference in processing language. It is much harder for someone with dyslexia to read, write and spell. Your gift may be in grammar, but someone with dyslexia may be gifted in science or music or inventing new products. Think before you judge, and think before you type that judgment into someone’s comment section. Would you like us to follow you around pointing out your un-athletic abilities or your deficiency in art? Didn’t think so.

9.  Not all reading programs are equal.

Example: “I used XYZ early reading program/book/movie/device with my child, and he was reading full sentences by age 3. You should try that!”

Why this is an issue: Children with dyslexia learn in different ways. While these programs are just fine for non-dyslexics, a child with dyslexia needs a program built around multi-sensory explicit instruction in phonemic awareness. Orton-Gillingham, Wilson, and Barton are  some of the methods with proven track records to help children with dyslexia. If you are not in the dyslexia community, it may not be helpful to give advice. We know it’s well meaning, but our children learn differently, and different reading programs match up with different kids.

 

books8. Reading more isn’t the cure.

Example: “You should read to your kid at least 20 minutes a day. You know, I read to my kid since he was in the womb, and he caught right on!”

Why this is an issue: Okay, we are not discouraging reading to your child. We think it’s a great thing to do! Please, keep it up! Here’s the thing, though ….we DO actually read to our children as well! Every single day! We have read to them since birth. We have loads of books in our home. We have library cards, and we go weekly.

Reading to our children builds vocabulary, helps them learn about different cultures, and fosters imagination. It will not, however, magically teach them how to decode words. Please don’t assume that dyslexia is caused by a lack of early reading.

 

7. My child is NOT unmotivated/lazy/ignoring you/etc.homework

Example: “I kept him in from recess because he was lazy and not finishing his work.” or “He is not following directions, I told him to close his book, put up his backpack, and sit on the carpet. He just stayed by the backpack area.”

Why this is an issue: Dyslexia does not solely affect reading. While no two dyslexics are alike, many children with dyslexia struggle with processing speed. This includes processing both written and spoken language. Due to the slower processing speed, it will take them longer to do a worksheet. They may even yawn because so much effort is being put into decoding the words on the page. They are not being lazy. They are using so much brain-power that they are exhausted! Please, don’t hold them in from recess. They are spending their entire day working hard in a written world, and their brains need that break.

Also, multi-step directions may be a problem for many children with dyslexia. They are working hard to process the very first direction, and thus they may literally not hear the last step. They are not ignoring you. Repeat your directions, and most will say “oh!” and get busy doing whatever you said.

 

bright boy6. There are GIFTS that come with dyslexia.

Example: “Oh, that must be so hard to be dyslexic. What will he do in life?” This is usually followed by a very sad face.

Why this is an issue: Many people consider their dyslexia to be a gift! Yes, it makes processing language more difficult. However, other areas soar! A large number of people with dyslexia are inventors, scientists, athletes or actors. People with dyslexia tend to be very successful after graduation. As Dr. Sally Shaywitz from Yale often says, “dyslexia is an island of weakness surrounded by a sea of strengths!”

5. Accommodations are not cheating!

Example: “I can’t allow Johnny extra time on that test. It wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the class.”

Why this is an issue: Accommodations level the playing field for Johnny. They don’t give him an unfair advantage. Think of it like this, would providing a ramp up a set of stairs for a child in a wheelchair be “unfair?” What about a child who needs glasses? Is allowing him to use his glasses in class “unfair?” Just because you can’t see the difference in the brain does not mean it is not there.

4. Ear reading is real reading.pic

Example: “Oh, he’s listening to a book? That’s sweet. What has he actually read though?”

Why this is an issue: Ear reading is our word for audio books. This is important because reading, however you do it, helps to raise vocabulary, introduces you to different cultures, and gives you background knowledge you would not otherwise acquire.

For children with dyslexia, their IQ level is usually much higher than their actual reading level. As technology has advanced, we now have a way for our kids to read, independently, on their actual IQ level. My own son has seen such benefit from audio books via our Learning Ally membership! He listens daily. This allows him to not only build his vocabulary, but to also discuss books with his peers like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter, or Freckle Juice. It allows him a way to fit in, and to not feel so different.

Why would anyone want to discourage that?

We do still practice eye reading nightly as well. We work on it. It is equally important.

3. Help in school is not automatic.

Example: “Why are you upset? He gets all that help in school now.”

Why this is an issue: When you are the parent to a child with dyslexia, it’s an uphill battle. First, you need to secure a diagnosis. Most schools will evaluate a child for special education services, but not necessarily for dyslexia. A specific diagnosis is important because it helps parents and educators know which type of reading program to provide.  If your child does qualify for special education services in school (not all dyslexics meet the qualifications), there is no guarantee that the program provided will be one that is research based specifically for dyslexia. That’s because most schools do not test for dyslexia. And we go round and round.

So, what do parents do? If we can afford it, we hire private dyslexia tutors, who are specialized beyond most reading tutors. See point number 9.

pic2. Our kids can learn to read. They also do not see backwards.

Example: “Your child is dyslexic? That means he can’t read, right? It must be hard since he sees everything backwards.”

Why this is a problem: Our kids can, in fact, learn to read, and some will even read well!  They just need to have access to a research based reading program made specifically for dyslexia. Also, kids with dyslexia do not “see” backwards. They see just like everyone else. Sometimes you will see them reverse letters, but that is because many have struggles with left vs right and orthographic processing.  It has nothing to do with how they see.

1. My child is one of the smartest kids in the class. 

pic

Example: “Slow readers are clearly …well …slow.”

Why is this an issue: The reading circuit in the brain is totally separate from intelligence. If our school system was set up in a way where everyone learned via musicals, then the people who don’t sing well would be considered “slow.” Reading is just one area where some people excel, and some do not. It is not a sign of intelligence. Actually, the majority of people with dyslexia have average to above average IQ levels. All upper level thinking skills are there. Our kids can do grade level work (and sometimes above grade level work), but many will need to acquire the information in some format aside from written text. This is where audiobooks really benefit our children! They are just as smart as all of the other kids in class, and sometimes they are even the smartest child in class. Reading text is not the best way to measure intelligence.

5 Ways Dyslexia Can Affect Your Child’s Social Life

Remember that no two dyslexics are alike. This is a good reminder of how a children can be impacted, yet others may not be.

From NCLD.org

Written by Emily Lapkin

Dyslexia's Impact on Your Child's Social SkillsDyslexia makes reading and other language-based tasks difficult, but it can also affect your child’s social skills. Here are five common social challenges your child with dyslexia may face—and ways you can help.

5 Ways Dyslexia Can Affect Your Child’s Social Life Having dyslexia can sometimes contribute to social issues on top of learning difficulties.

Social Challenge #1: Your Child Doesn’t Get the Joke

The dyslexia link: Dyslexia can make it hard for your child to understand jokes or sarcasm.
How you can help: Tell jokes or stories at the dinner table to help your child practice responding.

Social Challenge #2: Your Child Has Trouble Finding the Right Words

The dyslexia link: Kids with dyslexia can’t always find the words they want to say—especially if they feel strongly about the topic or need to respond quickly.
How you can help: Give your child time to think. Slow down the overall pace of the conversation.

Social Challenge #3: Your Child Misses Social Cues

The dyslexia link: Kids with dyslexia might not pick up on body language, facial expressions and other social cues.
How you can help: Watch your child’s favorite shows the volume off. Ask your child to guess how a character is feeling based on his body language.

Social Challenge #4: Your Child Hesitates to Message Friends

The dyslexia link: Kids with dyslexia may shy away from texting because they have trouble understanding the abbreviations.
How you can help:Show your child how the abbreviations work. Some are based on spelling (“idk” for “I don’t know”) and others on how letters and numbers sound (“l8r” for “later”).

Social Challenge #5: Your Child Remembers Things Inaccurately

The dyslexia link: Dyslexia can make it hard to recall specific words or details. This can lead to confusion about what friends said.
How you can help: Play games that can help strengthen memory. Have your child name the different kinds of cars on the street and then say the names back to you a few minutes later.

Not fitting in can take a toll on your child’s self-esteem. But there are many ways you can help your child build confidence, improve working memory, develop strong social skills and avoid hurt feelings.

Upcoming Community Events

Parents Advocating for Student Success in EDucation (PASSED)
Monthly Lunch Gathering

Bixby’s Bagels (Mount Royal Shopping Center)
Wednesday, May 21st
11:45 ish to 1:00 ish

The movie “Journey into Dyslexia” will have two showings:

Monday, May 19th @ 6:30pm @ Cloquet Gospel Tabernacle
and
Thursday, May 22nd @ 6:30 @ Myers-Wilkins School (old Grant)

Questions call 340-7393 or email dwyers@boreal.org

Essential Reading Skills

Orton-Gillingham methods build strong, confident readers.   If your child is struggling in school, consider working with an Orton-Gillingham tutor over the summer to help them build reading confidence and a lifetime love of learning.  Don’t let them struggle for years.  Signs that a child will struggle with reading are evident in kindergarten.

The sequential part of Orton-Gillingham teaches reading skills in a direct, systematic, orderly way and including: phonemic awareness, letter recognition, concepts of print, sound/symbol relationship, word reading and spelling, syllables, fluency skills, vocabulary, and comprehension.  When a child struggles with fluency, usually one of the more fundamental building blocks, listed above, is weak.   Fluency involves the pace and accuracy of reading and prosody.  Prosody is the expression, volume, phrasing and smoothness.

Minnesota has adopted Read Well by 3rd Grade, but most of us don’t know what that means.  We read to comprehend information, but before we do that reading fluency is key and before that, other building blocks.  Today, in many of our schools children’s fluency is measured by giving them the same three grade level passages multiple times over the year and having a child read each for one minute. A recorder marks the errors a student makes and indicates the number of words the child read.  Sometimes comprehensions is tested by having the student retell the story…. but that is a different conversation.  Most research expect that a third grade child should begin the year reading grade level material at a rate of 70 or more words per minute and end the year reading 100 or more words per minute they are considered meeting their benchmark with 95% – 97% accuracy, respectively.  The numbers for the rate of reading represent the 50th percentile.  If a students falls below the midpoint they should be receiving additional intentional support in the area that they have demonstrated a weakness in that comes before fluency on the continuum of learning to read.  If your child is not meeting the midpoint by the end of third grade, fourth grade will be significantly more challenging than previous years.  I could argue that for some students meeting the middle is even too lower of a threshold.

I’m happy to talk with any family about reading, if I can’t help you, I can often direct you to someone that can.  Please feel free to call me at 218-340-7393.

 

 

 

iPad Apps for Struggling Reading

from http://www.educatorstechnology.com

February 1, 2014
Whether you’re the parent of a child with a reading disability or an educator that works with learning disabled students on a daily basis, you’re undoubtedly always looking for new tools to help these bright young kids meet their potential and work through their disability. While there are numerous technologies out there that can help, perhaps one of the richest is the iPad, which offers dozens of applications designed to meet the needs of learning disabled kids and beginning readers alike. Here, we highlight just a few of the amazing apps out there that can help students with a reading disability improve their skills not only in reading, writing, and spelling, but also get a boost in confidence and learn to see school as a fun, engaging activity, not a struggle.

Helpful Tools

These tools are useful for both educators and students with reading disabilities alike, aiding in everything from looking up a correct spelling to reading text out loud.

Speak It!: Speak It! is a great text-to-speech solution that can allow students with reading disabilities to get a little help with reading when they need it.
Talk to Me: Talk to Me is another text to speech application. It can be used to read words out loud as they are typed, which can help students to better correlate the letters and words with how they’re pronounced.
Dragon Dictation: Dragon Dictation works in reverse of the two apps we just listed. Instead of reading text out loud, the applicationwrites down spoken text. For students who struggle with writing, it can be a great way for them to jot down ideas or get help learning.Merriam-Webster Dictionary: If spelling is a problem, it’s always a good idea to have a really great dictionary on hand. This app from Merriam-Webster can provide that.
Ditionary.com: If Dictionary.com is your go-to place for definitions and spelling help, this app can be a great way to bring that functionality to your iPad or iPhone.
Prizmo: With Prizmo, users can scan in any kind of text document and have the program read it out loud, which can be a big help to those who struggle with reading.
Flashcards for iPad: This app makes it easy to study words, spelling, and other things that young and LD readers might need help with.
Soundnote: Using Soundnote, you can record drawings, notes, and audio all at once, balancing reading-based skills with those that are auditory and visual.
For more apps see
http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2014/03/40-ipad-apps-for-struggling-reading-and.html

New Tutor Consortium

Tutoring Duluth is joining a new group of area tutors.  This new cohort is a group of like-minded tutors meeting the needs of students on an individual bases. Most important, for us as tutors, this will help us help our students, but we will also be able to support each other and grow as tutors.  In addition to the reading and writing support I offer, one of the cohort tutor’s does high school and college level support for students in math and science and another is a professional writer.  These tutors will be able to support students in preparation for the ACT/SAT as well as day-to-day academia.  We are scattered around the Duluth-Superior area and the Arrowhead region making it easier for families to find conveniently located services.  Look for the new website….

TwinPortsTutoring.org …..coming soon.

I’m so excited to be part of this group.

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

 

Film Screening– Tuesday, October 29

12:00pm-1:00pm,

and

7:00pm-8:30pm

Lake Superior College 

Room S1981 

(Parking near the S bldg. entrance)

Q&A follows 7:00pm showing 

Refreshments Provided! 

Co-sponsored by

Lake Superior College Disability Services & PASSED

For additional information contact Deb Dwyer                                                 dwyers@boreal.org – 218-340-7393 or PASSED on Facebook

Individuals with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations by contacting LSC’s Disablility Services at (218) 733-7650 or g.robillard@lsc.edu