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Learning Ally Blog: Access and Achievement
Now more than ever, people with learning and visual disabilities are flourishing in the classroom, launching productive careers and becoming assets in their communities. This blog spotlights remarkable individuals who demonstrate that having a visual or print disability is no barrier to educational success.
Susan Barton: Myths About Dyslexia
On November 13, 2013 in
Jenny Falke (LAE)
When parents try to get their child's school to recognize -- and do something -- about their spelling, writing, or reading difficulties, they may hear a large number of myths about dyslexia. In this webinar, Susan Barton, internationally recognized expert in dyslexia, shares more than 20 of the most common myths moms will hear -- and the facts parents need to refute them.
Download Susan Barton's "Dyslexia Myths Handout" with live links to research refuting the myths.
During the "Myths about Dyslexia" webinar, the audience asked over 100 questions, many of which we were not able to cover during the live session. Read below for some of these pertinent questions along with Susan's answers:
What are common tests for dyslexia so that I may request them?
Susan Barton: To learn the skills that should be tested to determine if a child has dyslexia, and what a dyslexia testing professional would be looking for, go to:
. I do not list the names of specific tests in that section of our website because there are many tests that can be used to check the same skill. But please know that public schools are not required to give all of those tests, and if the person doing the testing does not have in-depth training in dyslexia, they might not know how to interpret the results and see the big picture.
How can I diplomatically suggest to my public school that they need to provide more dyslexia training to teachers?
You could ask the principal or the superintendent, “When was the last time you had a teacher in-service training on dyslexia?” Advice about this from
: If your child has an IEP, check out what IDEA says about support and training for school personnel. Use your “Wrightslaw: All About IEPs” and your “Wrightslaw: Special Education Law” books and look up 20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(1)(A) and the federal regulations 34 C.F.R. 300.320(a)(4). IDEA envisions services that are provided to the parents or teachers of a child with a disability to help them to more effectively work with the child – that’s why “supports for school personnel” was included in this section of the law.
How can I confirm that the program administered by my school is proven to help students with dyslexia?
For a list of the names of the evidence-based reading programs for students with dyslexia (why they work, what is so different about them, and the research), go to:
. Then ask the school for the name of the program they are using. See if it is on that list. If it is not, you could (and should) ask the school or the publisher if they can provide you with any independent replicated research that proves their program works for students with dyslexia. By “works,” I mean closes the gap in their reading and spelling skills. If they can’t provide any, be skeptical. But it takes more than just the right system to work. So to learn the 5 things that are required in order to work, go to:
As a homeschooling parent, where can I find resources to help my dyslexic child?
I have a free 30-minute online presentation with advice for homeschoolers that answers that question – and many more. To watch it, go to:
How can I get methodology included in an IEP?
The answer to that is at:
. You may also want to watch this free webinar by Kelli Sandman-Hurley and Tracy Block-Zaretsky of The Dyslexia Training Institute on education law:
Do you recommend that dyslexic students share with their peers (in and out of class) about their learning difference?
Yes, but only if or when they are comfortable doing that. If they understand dyslexia and are comfortable with it, then when someone asks them why they are such a terrible speller, they could say something like: “I have dyslexia. That means I have trouble hearing the individual sounds in words, and that makes spelling really hard. But I’m working with a tutor on sounds, and I’m getting better.” A great book that contains a step-by-step action plan for parents to help their child understand and embrace dyslexia is called
The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan
by Ben Foss. To read my description and recommendation of that book, go to: http://www.dys-add.com/resources/Newsletters/Fall2013Enewsletter.html.
Are schools required to provide the tech tools recommended in an official diagnosis?
No. But if they refuse, you can do the following. How to Advocate for Assistive Technology: excerpt from an article by Dave Edyburn published in 2009 on
. "Fewer than 5% of students with disabilities are assistive technology users. Yet federal law requires consideration of assistive technology when developing an IEP or a 504 Plan. If a school official says, 'We've considered your child's need for assistive technology and have determined that s/he will not benefit . . .' You should say, 'I would like to review the documentation that supports your decision. In particular, I would like to see the data regarding performance with assistive technology and performance without.'" To learn many other effective ways to advocate for assistive technology, read that entire article by going to:
Which pieces of technology do you personally recommend for dyslexics?
Some of my favorites are listed at:
What would you recommend for a child with mild dyslexia who seems to do well but spends an enormous amount of time on homework?
Document how much time you typically spend on each homework assignment. Then provide 3 accommodations during homework to cut that time in half, and get rid of the tears and frustration. For a list of them, send me an email (Susan@BrightSolutions.US) with the subject: Homework Accommodations.
My son’s 3rd grade special education teacher has told him he doesn’t have dyslexia and doesn’t need tutoring because he doesn’t see letter reversals. What do I do? I’ve shown her his official diagnosis and provided her with fact sheets about dyslexia.
Find out what sort of dyslexia training the school provides to teachers. Also set up a one-hour meeting with the teacher, bring your laptop, and together, watch the recording of my "Myths about Dyslexia" webinar, posted above. Also worth watching are any of my free online videos on dyslexia, which are listed at:
My daughter was recently humiliated in a college chemistry class when the professor publicly pointed out spelling errors in her report. She disclosed that she has dyslexia but the professor was unsympathetic. What can she do to stop this type of humiliation?
Is she registered with the Office of Students with Disabilities at that college? If so, I recommend she contact them and ask for their assistance in this matter.
How can I convince a resistant public school to evaluate my child?
I recommend watching the free webinar by Kelli Sandman-Hurley and Tracy Block-Zaretsky of The Dyslexia Training Institute on education law:
. They provide a letter that parents can write to request their child's public school evaluate their child for a possible learning disability.
, an internationally recognized expert in dyslexia, is the founder of
Bright Solutions for Dyslexia, Inc
. She is the developer of the Barton Reading and Spelling System - an Orton-Gillingham influenced system designed specifically for parents, homeschool parents, and volunteer tutors in literacy programs. The Barton System is easy to learn and contains enough support for parents and volunteer tutors, yet is complete enough for professional tutors as well as reading and resource specialists.
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