I was seeking someone to assess a student for dyslexia but had a very difficult time. Who is accepted by schools to assess for dyslexia? Where are these experts hiding?
I have assessed students before as a Special Education teacher, not for dyslexia, but for auditory processing delays, which is a huge part of dyslexia. The experts are your general ed teachers or psychologists who use these tests and understand how to read them! I have been advocating for families who had assessments completed and the school psyches don’t understand dyslexia, so they don’t correctly read the assessment results.
How Come These Folks are Hiding?
Or do they exist? It is a very frustrating challenge to look for someone to diagnose your child for dyslexia when you expect the schools to do it. Districts put the responsibility on the school psyches. They refer to the district office. They, in turn, refer to the principals of schools who delegate to assistant principals. But they are handling the discipline of kids. The buck stops here!!! Why should you have to fly across the country or drive hours to have your child assessed?
What are Red Flags to Suspect Dyslexia?
- Relative or spouse with dyslexia
- Words regularly are spelled incorrectly, missing letters, added letters where they don’t belong
- Writing barely make sense
- Reading is so low: the child can’t sound words out or remember words
- Months of the year and days of the week are other red flags
- Not being able to rhyme is another.
Can a Child Be Diagnosed as Dyslexic? Why Aren’t Schools Using that Word?
If it doesn’t have a name, you can’t cure it. Assembly Bill 1369 in CA (2015) allows us to say the name! Schools must diagnose and provide mediation for dyslexic kids or they are being sued. Schools are still afraid to say the word dyslexia! Doctors as well are not diagnosing dyslexia.
I have been passionate about helping our dyslexic population for nearly two decades. I taught the same struggling readers in math and noticed the reading intervention offered was barely making a dent. There are programs acceptable by the schools for assessments and they are very pricy. This would be the Woodcock-Johnson IV. However, easier assessments can be used to diagnose dyslexic kids.
In order to qualify as dyslexia under the recent legislature, your specialist can use needs:
- The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
- The Gray Oral Reading Test
- A phonemic Awareness Test for reading nonsense words and writing unfamiliar sentences.
What is Orton Gillingham, Mentioned in the State Mandates?
Orton Gilligham is a pedagogy, a way to teach. They provide lessons, classes, but not the curriculum. The curriculum you select must be:
- Multisensory (Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic – hands-on)
- Explicit – Direct Teaching
- Cover Vocabulary
- Develop Cognitive Skills
- And of course, develop Phonological Awareness
Programs must be taught with fidelity, meaning 60 minutes, five days a week. I have developed an app, called Dunking Dyslexia, to go with my reading program, Step By Step Reading. You have to take a look at it.
Why is Using Music with Dyslexic Kids Helpful?
You can view this video and learn so much!
The App, Dunking Dyslexia is awesome! Kids are making 1-3 year gains in only 6 weeks!
Here’s what happens:
- The dyslexic child is reading from the wrong side of the brain
- The Corpus Callosum and the Left and Right Angular Gyrus are critical in retraining the brain.
- Brain scans (FMRIs) reveal (while students are reading) the language center (left side) of their brains does not light up while reading.
- With my app, the music enters the left ear, and crosses to the right angular gyrus.
- The spelling exercises enter the right ear, and cross to the left angular gyrus.
- The corpus callosum (undersized in dyslexic kids) is bypassed allowing a direct crossing of music to the right and spelling to the left!
The Plasticity of the Brain
The brain can be retrained!!!
Some authors of curriculum for dyslexia state that brain does not light up in the dyslexic student, whereas in the non-dyslexic student, the brain lights up in the right side primarily and also on the left side. The plasticity of the brain is amazing and dyslexic students’ brains can be retrained. The great thing about teaching a multisensory reading program is that students do not regress 9lose what has been taught (over the summer months or vacation periods.
You Must Know About Assembly Bill 1369
- National legislation mandated that schools assess and provide for dyslexia. California lags in diagnosing dyslexia and providing intervention.
- AB 1369 is the California Assembly Bill, passed in October 2015. The mandate was to be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year. So why are our schools out of compliance? Someone explained it to me this way, “There is a law to wear your seatbelt, but do people always wear them?”
AB 1369 is Not Funded but Special Ed Is!
- Special Education students bring in twice as much taxpayer money as students in general ed classrooms.
- The mandate didn’t come with funding so what motivates schools to be in compliance?
- Parents are getting informed and lawsuits are bringing school districts to conform.
- If dyslexic students qualifying under Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) were remediated, they could exit from Special Education, saving taxpayers millions of dollars!
- Not only in school remediation, as California Governor Newson points out, but in medical expenses and how mental health impacts our communities and prisons.
What do I Read to Learn About My Rights?
Chapter 11 of AB 1369 is the key to advocating for your child. Chapter 9 addresses who will assess. (Go to page 54) It reads, “The decision to make a special education referral is the responsibility of the individualized education program (IEP) team or intervention team and the parents or guardians of the student.” (https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/ac/documents/cadyslexiaguidelines.pdf)
Who is Impacted with Dyslexia?
Dyslexia impacts the student/adult, society and the economy at large. It causes difficulties in reading, writing, speaking, and spelling which affects academic success, self-esteem, and social-emotional development. When it goes untreated, it impacts our crime rate, drug and alcohol abuse, and prison rates. It also impacts homelessness, joblessness, and poverty rate in our communities.
What is California Governor Newson Proposing?
California Governor Newsom shares about his dyslexia and the likelihood that his two children have it. He wasn’t diagnosed until fifth grade. He is passionate to help our low- income dyslexic kids. He recently pledged $200M to assess and provide intervention for dyslexia. The task force meeting in April in Sacramento that wants to have dyslexia assessed for the low -income kids in kinder or first grade just as hearing and vision are tested. We all know the earlier the better. In the past, students aren’t really considered for Special Education services until third grade.
Our Schools Have Dropped the Ball!
- Parents are needing advocates! I know because students come to me and require more services! I have become an advocate for two families!
- Research shows that one in five students has dyslexia so we need more classes and teachers for remediation. Schools need to hire and/or train more staff to accommodate the assessment load.
- Sadly, parents have to put their trust and faith in the assessments of school psychologists and teachers who are not sufficiently trained to understand and recognize dyslexia.
85% of Kids in Special Ed Under the Eligibility of SLD (Specific Learning Disability)
Research says that 85% of students with SLD eligibility have dyslexia. Parents want them remediated and exiting Special Education! Our psychologists work extremely hard, but they are not trained to be the experts in dyslexia. Their primary role is to complete the psychoeducation testing. The Special Education Teacher does the academic testing and collaborates with all the teachers, the Speech Pathologist, and others who know about the student. The Speech Pathologist does Speech testing. Education staff members’ plates are so full. How do they have any time to learn about dyslexia?
Call To Action!
Contact me if you want to have your child diagnosed or if you need an advocate. Also, please check out my website and see my curriculum. Try my music app free for three days:
- Resources: dyslexia-solutions.com
- Dunking Dyslexia app for IOS and Android