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June Behrmann

June Behrmann is a longtime special education teacher (pre-K to grade 6) who retired for about two seconds, and is now prospecting for accessible instructional resources. Follow June on Twitter @aimnoncat. Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with us.

20 Questions/Answers about Dyslexia That Teachers Can Use to Reshape Instruction

November 4, 2015

Dyslexia often is confusing for parents and teachers as the manner in which it presents can differ widely among children and youths. Dyslexia can go undetected for a long time, but it is neurologically based, known to be inherited, and will not be outgrown. Once students fall behind, their problems connected with reading, writing, and spelling can become complicated by negative feelings that affect their self-esteem. Based on the article, "20 Things Only Parents Of Children With Dyslexia Would Understand," posted on the Massachusetts-based Health Cares Solutions Plus* website, I came up with twenty questions. Teachers can use these to reflect on, evaluate and craft their current practice so that their instruction becomes the best possible for students who struggle due to dyslexia. 

These are by no means the only questions that need answers about instructing students with dyslexia, but they are a start and can chart a course correction.

  1. In what ways do students with dyslexia read differently?
  2. Can they overcome dyslexia by reading more?
  3. Do reading problems and failure to keep pace stem from being lazy or unmotivated?
  4. Is tutoring outside of school needed and does it make a difference?
  5. Do occasional reversal of letters and words mean the students see the world backwards?
  6. How does "ear reading" with audiobooks help students with dyslexia?
  7. Will accommodations at school aid learning and how are these put in place?
  8. What aids for disorganization help dyslexic students at school and home?
  9. What can be done when students feel dumb and stupid?
  10. What types of socialization opportunities counter bad feelings that evolve?
  11. What information should be shared with dyslexic students about intelligence?
  12. What technology do these students need?
  13. How do cluttered, text-dense pages impact dyslexic students and is there a remedy?
  14. What is the best response when dyslexic students explain how text on a page looks to them?
  15. What does it mean when dyslexics are described as visual thinkers?
  16. Why can't dyslexic learners be considered a homogenous group?
  17. What supports mitigate the frustrations felt by learners with dyslexia?
  18. What evidence exists that dyslexia need not limit learners throughout their lives?
  19. What value can people with dyslexia add to an organization?
  20. Why are headphones an important option for students during some learning activities?

Answers are linked above.

Resources

Thanks to Susan Barton, who published the link to the original story in her November newsletter. Her website, Bright Solutions for Dyslexia, is rich source of information. See her shared stories about dyslexia including this one, "Special Ed Teachers Can Also Be Heroes," a personal story by an elementary school special education teacher, Geri Linari, who successfully uses Barton's Reading and Spelling System. 

Be sure to tune into the podcast, "Helping Students Overcome the Stigma of Dyslexia," on the Bam! Radio Network to hear Sharon Plante interview David Flink and Marcus Soutra, two advocates that spent their lives coping with learning differences. They created Eye To Eye, a mentoring organization, and started a movement to help the next generation overcome the stigma of being dyslexic.

*Health Care Solutions Plus is a medical claims processing software and healthcare information system used by health insurance companies, medical providers, and managed care organizations

Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with our Reading Rockets audience.

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"When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox