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Dyslexia (long and confusing!)
Old 04-11-2008, 05:16 PM
 
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I teach in a private school and we have a high number of kids with dyslexia... I normally have 2-3 kids per year, and I have 13-15 students.

A friend who teaches at the local public school (similar socio-economic group and about 15 blocks away) says she has NEVER had a dyslexic student. She has only taught k-1 so I also wonder if it just isn't diagnosed until later. Usually they say dyslexia is diagnosed around 2nd grade.

I'm confused. Are they not diagnosing it? Or is something about the way we teach CAUSING it. I know it is genetic, but some sorts of teaching have shown less dyslexia. Also, we have a very highly educated parent population, so it would be surprising if the kids were getting it from their parents.

However, of the 5 kids I have had with dyslexia in the last 3 years, 2 were adopted, and 2 had parents who stated that they had problems in school as children with reading and/or writing.

What is the breakdown in your class for dyslexia?

I will say that we have a balanced literacy program SUPPOSEDLY, but a lot of the older teachers are still teaching primarily with whole language. I worry this may be part of the problem for one of my kiddos... the other thing is that 4 of the 5 kids I have had with dyslexia had a couple of teachers who were TRAINED to work with dyslexia and had those teachers for 1-2 years... so that sort of blows that theory in terms of the other kids. I'm just confused and a bit worried that it may be our program.

The other thing is it may be that our small class sizes and philosophy attract more people with LD... for example, parents who struggled in school may see our school as the kind of place they wish they had gone to and then enroll their children. These kids have all gone to our school from preschool on.

Any thoughts???


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Dyslexia
Old 04-11-2008, 05:24 PM
 
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Here in PA they won't even test a kid for dyslexia until third grade. Before that it could be developmental. My brother has it and was diagnosed in third grade. I've always taught K-2 and have never had a child diagnosed with dyslexia.
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:37 PM
 
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Ok... I teach 2-3-4 generally, and have always found that kids were diagnosed LATE in 2nd grade or in 3rd. Perhaps that's part of it.
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:56 PM
 
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The way the IEP testing is done is according to IDEA (the federal law supporting special ed) is a child must be two years below his/her age level in learning. This is hard to achieve in first grade, a child who can barely recognize alphabet sounds is beginning kinder. There also has to be a noticable discrepancy between the child's IQ and the level they are learning at. If a child does not get placed during an IEP the school needs to wait two years before testing the child again. So usually children unless they are very low are not tested in K or 1.

What might be going on in your school is the testing being used may not be the same as what is used for public schools. Or like you say the small classes attract families who have worries about their children.

No offense intended, but dyslexia is a lay term for a variety of processing difficulties. Usually the term used is visual processing, verbal processing, auditory processing, or just processing difficulties.
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Dyslexia
Old 04-11-2008, 06:48 PM
 
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The way students are taught does not cause dyslexia. The way a dyslexic student is taught affects their ability to learn. You might want to check out this site. I think it's full of very valuable information.
http://www.dys-add.com/


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Old 04-11-2008, 07:19 PM
 
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This is a great topic for discussion.

Thanks for the link. I hadn't planned to spend my Friday night watching a webcast on dyslexia --- oh well.

Last edited by n2n2n2n; 04-11-2008 at 07:46 PM..
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I have two sons with Dyslexia
Old 04-12-2008, 05:42 AM
 
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My oldest was disgnosed by me at two but it usually is not diagnosed until abut second grade. He had LOTS of fine motor issues, a high IQ (you wouldn't know anything was different if you talked with him), and phonological issues. He had a tutor from first through fourth grade that was Orton-Gillingham certified/trained. He continues to need support and adaptations to his work at school.
My younger one is SLD however he has more of the autism traits but not enough for services so we settled on SLD (Severe learning disability). He has not had the Orton tutor since he is adapting well much better than his brother.

I teach KGN and have sent those children I felt were SLD or Dyslexic to what some of you call "child study" to have testing done. It can be diagnosed early. Second through fourth grade is the most realistic time for that diagnosis.
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I, too, am in a private school...
Old 04-12-2008, 06:19 AM
 
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...and we tend to have one student per classroom with diagnosed dyslexia. By that I mean they have an actual evaluation with the diagnosis.

Statistically, dyslexia occurs at a much higher rate than one would think. The parent of my dyslexic student told me recently that 1 out of 5 children have some form of dyslexia. It simply isn't recognized or diagnosed as often as it should be. I suspect I have a second student, and possibly even a third, with some form of language processing difficulty.

I do believe that one reason many children are not identified is for the reason a previous poster stated -- that many school districts do not diagnose dyslexia. The child-study process, or whatever a sped referral is called in your part of the world, oftentimes will only produce the label of "specific learning disability." My student received this label via his public-school sped evaluation. The diagnosis of dyslexia came from a specialist that the parents paid for.

Maybe that's the reason right there -- schools won't diagnose it, and getting the diagnosis requires time, effort and lots of $$$$ on the part of parents. Private school parents ... well, sometimes they have more resources in the $$$$ department :-).
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Old 04-12-2008, 07:26 AM
 
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The referral thing makes SO much sense. We do send children out for a child study, often as early as K. I know one of my 2nd graders next year already is in tutoring this year for dyslexia, so he was diagnosed in K or 1st.

These parents DO have the money to pay for a private consult, and most get it done through a learning center and by a PhD or someone who very clearly diagnoses the issue. Sometimes families do the evals through the public schools, but not as often. We also often refer parents to places that really look at the whole kid, and they may get a neuro consult as well if there are other issues! We do try to go deep. Often they are done at the child-development center at our university or with a university affiliate.

Our students also do things like LindamoodBell and Orten-Gillingham. The parents can afford these intensive programs, so they get the interventions. It makes me think the public school evals are just not as thorough.

I was just SO surprised when she told me she had never had a student with dyslexia- and never HEARD of a kid at her school with dyslexia!
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Dyslexia
Old 04-12-2008, 08:24 AM
 
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as EarthMonkey said, is a widely thrown-around term, and is often a face-saving term. I have taught reading to thousands of children, and have not yet had a single dyslexic child.

No one in public schools, unless they have a masters specifically in dyslexia, is qualified to prescribe remediation for dyslexia. True dyslexia must be diagnosed by a neurologist, not the school. So unless all those cum files have neurologists' diagnoses, I'm not ready to call your students dyslexic. A parent saying a child is dyslexic is NOT good enough and should never be accepted without a neurologist's diagnosis to corroborate what the parent says.

Dyslexia occurs almost exclusively within gifted populations, with a high number of dylexics somewhere on the autism spectrum (autistic kids show a disproportional representation in giftedness).

There are many different types of dylexia, depending upon where in the brain the dyslexia arises. Dsylexia can arise in Wernicke's area, which often produces dysphonetic dyslexia. It can arise in Broca's area, which can cause dyseidetic dyslexia (cannot acquire sight vocabulary). It can arise in the corpus callosuem (sp) or can be generalized across the entire cortex. All of these are very different types of dyslexia. Are these children dysphonetic dyslexics? Or dyseidetic? Or, more rarely, both? If no one in the school has asked these questions, or even knew to ask these questions, or knew there were so many different types, then I'm sorry, but it's not responsible to call these children dyslexic.

Many children have reading difficulties, some severe. They are not automatically dyslexic, nor should they be labeled as such. In fact, MOST children with reading disabilities are not dyslexic.

Adults who are functionally illiterate are fond of saying they're dyslexic. Most of them are not, either.

I do not mean to say that anyone on here with diagnosed students, or children of their own with diagnoses, are wrong. I am speaking in terms of the general classroom, and I am speaking out against widespread and irresponsible use of this term.


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And believe it or not
Old 04-12-2008, 08:26 AM
 
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I actually do know how to spell "dyslexia." My fingers don't always do my mind's bidding. :-)
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in our district
Old 04-12-2008, 08:45 AM
 
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we tell the parents that is a medical diagnosis. We don't give it at all. No one will work with "dyslexia" per say. I have read a lot and tried things on my own a classroom teacher - but I've NEVER gotten any support. In 5 years I have had 2 girls- both 2nd grade that I suspect have dyslexia.....it breaks my heart because both of them will get no outside help due to their family situations.
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Old 04-12-2008, 10:23 AM
 
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The kids I have who are diagnosed dyslexia all have reports from a neurologist or a learning specialist PhD so I'm not worried about misdiagnoses, and I also know it's an umbrella term for multiple learning/reading/processing issues...

I'm glad for the feedback and the information from how other schools deal with this.

I've also seen research that shows how MRI's look different when a person with and without dyslexia attempt the same task, so I fully believe it is a neuro-biological issue... my main worry is that it was more prevalent here b/c of some ways we were NOT teaching. (For example, not a systematic enough approach to phonics.) I think I feel good about the conclusions I can draw for myself based on what I have learned. Thanks.
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Private Schools
Old 04-12-2008, 11:15 AM
 
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I teach at a private school also and find that - some years more than others - many of my children have unique learning differences which range from behavioral difficulties to processing disorders. I believe that this preponderance is due to wealthy parents hoping to give their children every possible advantage. I do not think that the dyslexia is a result of the way they are taught, however I do share Kermit's concern for the way we teach children who clearly need extra help.

My experience is that private schools often place a greater emphasis on the arts, science, sports, etc. While that is hardly a bad thing, it seems to me that children who are dealing with difficulties of any sort usually need to spend more time on the basics - such as phonics - and because of the time spent on enrichment, there is often actually less time available for the basics than in the public schools. I wonder sometimes if we are truly meeting the most pressing needs of our students...
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Changes to IDEA
Old 08-19-2008, 05:57 PM
 
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The discrepency model no longer is a "given" in identifying eligibility, which has led to RtI models springing up across the country. Much of the changes with eligibility requirements stem from Frank Vellutino's research which found that, in many cases, the discrepancy model isn't as predictive as monitoring how students respond to intensive, appropriate intervention.
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