Dyslexia is a learning problem characterized by difficulties with reading, spelling, writing, speaking, or listening. In many cases, dyslexia appears to be inherited. Some people believe that dyslexia is when a person reverses letters or words or reads letters backwards. Those can be symptoms of dyslexia, but it is much more complex than that.
When a person has dyslexia, there is often an unexpected difference between achievement and aptitude. However, each person with dyslexia is unique. Many students with dyslexia have talents in art, athletics, drama, or music. These special talents are often in areas that require the ability to integrate sight, spatial skills, and coordination. Often, a person with dyslexia has a problem turning language into thought (listening, reading), or turning thought into language (writing, speaking).
Students with dyslexia can be diagnosed clinically by a combination of medical history, observation and psychological testing. There is no one test that can give a definitive diagnosis. The diagnosis is made based on the results of all the data. Schools do not administer tests to diagnose dyslexia. Schools do administer academic and ability testing to see if students verify for special education services, but this is different from specific dyslexia testing.
In September, a nationally recognized dyslexia expert, Susan Barton, gave a free, three hour long, dyslexia presentation at the Alliance Library Learning Center. She discussed the classic warning signs of dyslexia, the latest brain and genetic research on dyslexia, and techniques to improve reading, writing, and spelling skills. Included in this newsletter is a handout from her presentation. Many parents have asked recently about dyslexia and how it might apply to their child in the public school setting.
If you are concerned about your child’s development or progress in school, please contact your child’s teacher. The classroom teacher is knowledgeable about the Nebraska state standards and how your child is progressing towards meeting those standards. If a child is having difficulty in school, a parent or teacher can refer a student to the Student Assistance Team. The SAT is a problem solving team made up of teachers and faculty. They observe in the child’s classroom, identify strategies the teacher can use to better meet the child’s needs, and follow-up to see which strategies have been most successful. The SAT team will also review the cumulative academic file.
If the SAT decides that a more thorough assessment of the child’s strengths and weaknesses is needed, they may recommend individual testing. Written parent permission is required before this testing is begun. If you live within the Hemingford School District and have or know of a child who may benefit from special education or related services, please contact Mandy Plog, Hemingford Special Education Director, at 487-3330 for details on the referral process.