Overcoming Dyslexia For Dummies by Tracey Wood

By Tracey Wood

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The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) calls dyslexia a specific learning disability, and many schools talk only about a “learning disability” (LD) or “specific learning disability,” not dyslexia. Why? Most school districts currently use the term SLD in their documentation, so teachers in turn use it. You may find yourself in a strange situation: An independent psychologist tells you that your child has dyslexia, but all through the school system, you talk only of SLD. If you were to insist that the school define your child as having “dyslexia” and not the “specific learning disability” written into documents (with no option for “dyslexia”), it can hamper the process of establishing his eligibility for special education services (which I cover in Chapter 8).

A dyslexic child hears sounds okay, but he processes them all wrong. Dyslexia is a “phonemic” rather than a hearing disorder. Your child’s ears work fine, but when he identifies and makes sense of sounds (in his brain), he goes wrong. He doesn’t distinguish between sounds (or phonemes) inside words in the same way that other children do. This kind of awareness is called phonemic awareness, and experts consider the lack of it the number one feature of dyslexia. A child who lacks phonemic awareness can’t tell the difference between words like tot and top, cot and cut, and tin and Tim.

Figures on this “increased chance” range from 25 to 75 percent. Because of various factors (like whether a child receives good instruction and is specifically called “dyslexic”), a more accurate prediction really isn’t possible. 37 38 Part I: Figuring Out What Dyslexia Is All About ߜ Because many older dyslexics are unaware that they have dyslexia (they say things like “I didn’t do well in school,” “I’m not a reader,” and “I don’t like writing”), you may not realize that dyslexia is in the family.

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