Dealing with dyslexia

Ask The Experts

October 14, 1998

October has been designated Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. In the Oct. 7 edition of Parent and Child, reading specialist Susan Rapp described this reading disability and its far-reaching impact. Today, she offers some advice to parents.

If you suspect your child has dyslexia, the first step is a thorough diagnosis, through the school referral system or privately. Once identified, an Individualized Educuation Program is written to include the most appropriate teaching techniques and to set goals for the child. The program can contain behavioral as well as academic objectives and is a legal document that should be tailored to your child's specific needs. A useful handbook, "Special Education Rights ... and Wrongs," discusses parental rights and the special education process, and is available

through the Maryland Disability Law Center (410-727-6352).

Older children (usually sixth grade and up) who cannot read standard print because of a diagnosed learning disability may be eligible for books on tape from Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (800-221-4792). Recorded textbooks and other helpful services are available through this organization.

Once your child's program is in place, you likely will need to help him with organization and reinforcement at home. Here are some tips:

Establish a routine time for homework. It will help your child develop a sense of responsibility and independence.

Provide an area free from visual and auditory distractions and furnish all needed school supplies in a readily accessible container.

Use magnetic letters to help practice spelling and sight words.

Obtain a list of sight words your child is learning in school, put some on cards and label objects around the house to give your child a visual picture. Or cut out pictures of the words from magazines, paste on index cards and write the word below the picture.

Read daily to your child to maintain and encourage interest in literature and books. Point out what is happening in the pictures, so the words will make sense. Ask questions to see if he can recall the logical order of events in the story. If your child wants to read by himself, tell him the word when he hesitates and allow him to read from memory to simply enjoy the story.

Other useful resources on dyslexia are available from the International Dyslexia Association (800-ABCD-123).

Pub Date: 10/14/98

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