Thread: Dyslexia opinions please
12-05-2016, 05:53 PM #1
Dyslexia opinions please
I admin a couple of fb groups. One of them recently had a post by a professional asking what kind of resources would be available to a client of hers who has several homeschooled children with dyslexia and cannot afford to privately pay for intervention. I asked her if they needed intervention, and she says they need a three pronged approach, accommodations, curriculum, and intervention (and they need all three).
If there are any research studies specific to the outcomes of dyslexic homeschoolers, I can't find them. I don't know much about dyslexia, so I am completely open to the idea that the lack of professional intervention will cause significant damage to students' potential as adults and I am also open to the idea that parent-education on dyslexia is sufficient in the homeschool setting, and this lady is just a professional who feels a need to justify the existence of her profession.
Thoughts? I wouldn't be surprised at all if my own 6yo turns out to be dyslexic so I am very interested in learning more. If you have any specific articles, research, or funding ideas I will post them to the fb group. I did find a dyslexia summer camp that has scholarships and responded with that idea.
12-05-2016, 07:40 PM #2Homeschooling DS10, DS4.
12-05-2016, 07:45 PM #3
The professional mentioned in her post that this mother was crying in her office. It seemed like an overreaction to me (and I wondered what the prof said that led to that response??) but I am trying to keep an open mind. Maybe this is like ABA for autistic kids--makes a huge difference for a lifetime?
12-05-2016, 10:21 PM #4
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The problem with dyslexia is that there is no textbook definition, meaning simply that dyslexia is a cover term for any number of difficulties a person may have with information processing leading to reading, writing, or spelling problems. That means that there is no one "treatment" for dyslexia and the approaches can be as individual as the child. Our youngest son was assessed as likely having dyslexia when he was in kindergarten (awfully early for such a diagnosis, IMHO) and we started homeschooling him in first grade. He had multiple challenges that we worked through including dysgraphia, difficulty with phonics, severe trouble with spelling, and a significant receptive language deficit. By working one on one with him for years to address these issues, by the time he was finishing middle school his standardized language scores were at (or even above!) grade level in almost every area. Granted, I did a TON of research on dyslexia, learning differences, and interventions throughout. I even wrote a short ebook on successfully homeschooling a student with dyslexia for Time4Learning, the curriculum that we found most helpful for my son during his homeschooling years. I feel like my son (now graduated and working successfully) is proof positive that a parent certainly can address dyslexia successfully without professional intervention, but I won't say it was easy, nor will I say that our situation is representative of any other family - - just that it can be done.Topsy
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12-05-2016, 10:37 PM #5
This will be long because this is my can't-stay-off-the-soapbox-topic!
They need tutoring - and it must be the right type of tutoring. The gold standard is Orton-Gillingham based tutoring, such as Barton, which a parent can do at home with only the training included with each level.
Dyslexia is a language-based, inherited brain difference that has to do with phonemic awareness - hearing sounds, separating them into units, attaching them to letters, then words - then the reverse. No matter how smart a dyslexic student is, they have to be explicitly taught this skill with a specific multisensory methodology (see it, touch it, hear it, say it) and repetition. Students with more severe dyslexia will need more time.
Right now in most schools students are not receiving the right type of intervention and often are not even diagnosed early enough, if at all, to head off great stress for both the student and parent.
It's not an over reaction at all to cry. At all. I'll tell you a bit about my kiddo. We found out at the end of third grade that she had dyslexia. I'd been questioning for 3 years that I thought something was wrong. Her vocabulary is amazing, she's clearly no intellectual slouch. Our house is practically a library and books and being read to were part of my kids' lives from day one. Her older sister was identified gifted. My little one had been the happiest darn kid until about half way through kindergarten. Then it got stressful. Fast forward to third grade and she can barely write (too much effort for output that would only be criticized with a red pen), could not sound out any unknown words but had memorized literally every word that she had encountered to that point - so there was no way to know except for a cold read out loud that she had trouble. She hated school. Hated everything. Hated herself. Wanted to die. She said all of these things. I knew absolutely nothing about dyslexia and her school did nothing except blame her and tell me she just didn't want to do her work. Well... I found out about dyslexia. I had her tested, at my own expense. And then I educated the hell out of myself. I read books. I went to Susan Barton's Screening for Dyslexia seminar a few months ago. I watched videos. I read website. I know a lot now.... but then?
There were tears of relief, anger, a feeling of being overwhelmed and not knowing at all what was going to happen to my kiddo, who was despondent and hating life and we couldn't figure out why (until then). It's a lot to take in at once and in no way an over reaction. The level of knowledge about dyslexia in the education system is so low that there is virtually no support system for families. I had to learn everything to do on my own. I was so pissed. That led to a few more tears of just frustration.
I should have pulled her out of public school then but I held out hope that the school would do the right thing. Nope. Fourth grade was just as miserable. We were trying to tutor Barton after a full day of school and it was so stressful and time consuming. School didn't have a clue. We had a couple of well intentioned teachers but really they just added to the stress because they didn't know how to teach a dyslexic student or how to adjust their expectations of what was obviously a very, very bright child.
She asked to homeschool a few times, I finally gave in when it was clear that the school was not going to do what we needed. Best decision ever. We are 80% way through Barton. She took the MAP test a couple of months ago and scored through the roof with no accommodations. She is writing stories and essays on demand.
This would not have been possible without going back to the beginning and teaching the basics of literacy with a solid methodology. I'm sure that some of the spelling rules will be forgotten, but she's great at using tech to help her out and I'm teaching her some solid self-editing skills. It will make a huge difference for a life time and if I'd left her future up to the school and whatever attempt they were going to make at helping her, she'd be even worse of this year than last.
You may remember I said it was inherited ... we found out my husband is dyslexic. He had a similarly awful school experience until he found his niche. He's brilliant and accomplished. I'm left handed. 50% of dyslexics are left handed. I have some very mild dyslexic traits, but truly mild dyslexics are rarely discovered. My dad - an architect - nearly failed high school English and his teacher would not give him a recommendation for Tulane because she said he was a failure and could never pass. (she was clearly wrong). He does crosswords for fun, reads voraciously, has crap handwriting when he's not block lettering, and can't spell. His mom was a logician who helped create logic that early computer programs were based on. She was left handed. An artist. Wrote in block letters. Read voraciously and did crossword puzzles, and used to make the goofiest spelling errors! My father in law? Can't spell well at all. Engineering, building, tools - no problem. Charming when he was young --- all of these are traits of dyslexia alone, and when combined, and then combined with knowledge, create that big ole' inherited trait arrow at my daughter!
Dyslexia is not behavioral and it is not a choice the student is making. You have to create the neural pathways that a non-dyslexic uses to process language. Brain imaging studies show a difference in dyslexic and non-dyslexic brains before remediation, then that the remediated dyslexic brain has the same pattern as a non-dyslexic brain, and that the change lasts.
I hope that answers your question.
12-05-2016, 10:43 PM #6
Topsy, that is a very encouraging story! Thank you! A little confused about there being no textbook definition--it's in the DSM?
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-V) (2013) includes classification criteria for “specific learning disorder.” Dyslexia is listed as an “alternative term” within the category of “specific learning disorder” that refers to “a pattern of learning difficulties characterized by problems with accurate or fluent word recognition, poor decoding, and poor spelling abilities” (DSM-V, p. 67).
I am going to check out that book you wrote!
12-06-2016, 12:07 AM #7
CO-mom thanks so much, that is very informative. I just want to clarify something... I understand there are Barton tutors for hire or you can make yourself a Barton tutor, you did it yourself right?
Also, the mom was not crying in her office because of the diagnosis, she was crying in her office because she could not afford "professional intervention," (ie, in-office sessions with a professional) and was given the impression that her children "need" it and obviously she felt she failed them somehow.
So from reading your post it sounds like yours is another success story of someone who did not get professional intervention (in person therapy or a professional tutor) and everything worked out fine because of a home program you could implement yourself (and loads of work on your part).
One more observation... I watched a video on the Barton website and it said that Barton is not appropriate for students with a receptive language disorder. My daughter, in case she does turn out to have dyslexia, has severe MERLD. So if she turns out to have dyslexia, I guess that's out for us.
12-06-2016, 12:55 AM #8
Yes, you can purchase each level of Barton (1-10) as you need it, watch and work through the training DVDs for a level, and then follow the script. It's all very clearly laid out so that as long as a tutor follows instructions and doesn't push too hard / too fast, it works.
You can also hire a tutor, but it's so expensive! To buy all of the levels new from Barton the total is about $3000. You don't buy them all at once and there is a secondary market for the kits, so you can get some of the money back. That may sound daunting, but if you compare it with hiring a tutor (then scheduling, driving to and from, etc) it's a huge savings. Tutors are $35+/hour, depending on the market and their experience.
A parent would run through $3K within the first few levels of paying for a tutor, easily, would have nothing to sell second hand, and also wouldn't have the option of becoming a tutor themselves. DIY is the way to go if it would work for a family - it does take time and patience. What a test of the parent-child relationship. Egad.
From what very little I know about MERLD ... I think the source of the problem is so different that something like Barton wouldn't begin to address it. I don't know what the recommendation would be for a student with both dyslexia and MERLD. You could email Susan Barton's office and she may be able to point you in the right direction.
12-06-2016, 08:39 AM #9
What about hiring a student of the Orton-Gillingham based method? I have a teacher friend who decided to become a reading specialist trained in the method, she had to spend time tutoring as part of her experience. And by tutoring I mean working with one student for hours every week, for a year. Although she had been teaching ES for years, since she was getting her certification, she was not able to charge.Rebecca
DS 11, DD 9
12-06-2016, 08:19 PM #10
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Loyal minion, er...ADMIN of SecularHomeschool.com