snr11 asks:

I have an 11 year old with reading difficulties. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

I have an 11 year old son in 6th grade.  He can read, he reads slowly, however if he reads he has little or no comprehension with that he has read.  He is poor at handwriting, spelling and giving detailed thoughts.  He excels in math and science however not when a lot of reading or writing is involved.
I am concerned that he has some sort of reading disorder.  He has been viewed by his teachers as lazy for all of these years.  I truly don't believe that he is just lazy it is like he just doesn't get it.  He is a very intelligent child and is very compassionate and caring.
I am unsure if his reading is tied to his spelling and his handwriting.  His spelling is horrible.  It always has been.  His handwriting has also been a huge challenge.  It is almost impossible to read and teachers have simply passed him as they could not read what he wrote.  I have put him through thousands of dollars of occupational therapy for his writing with virtually no improvement.  We have also tried using raised line papers with no real improvment.
I am meeting with the school in two weeks to yet again request he be evaluated but I find it hard to request special testing when I don't know what I want them to test him for.  I have 2 siblings and a father with dyslexia however I feel that my son see's the letters correctly, he just cant process the words as a whole, if that makes sense.   Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
In Topics: Helping my child with reading, Learning disabilities
> 60 days ago



Sep 26, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

You are on the right track... DON'T STOP NOW! I think it would be safe to replace the word "concerned" with "presumed" in your question, and the real issue is not "if" but "what kind" of learning disability is causing your son to read so slowly and in so labored a fashion. Your positive family history for dyslexia and your report that occupational therapy provided little relief all point to your son having a reading disorder. A targeted evaluation (hopefully done by the school district at no additional expense to you) sounds like an excellent next step.

Reading comprehension comprehension is the result of a complex set of cognitive processes that depends upon more than just a few ingredients all working together in a synchronous, even automatic way. Vocabulary clearly plays a critical role in understanding what has been read. The reader must also be intentional and thoughtful while reading, monitoring the words and their meaning as reading progresses. And the reader must apply reading comprehension strategies as ways to be sure that what is being read matches their expectations and builds on their growing body of knowledge that is being stored for immediate or future reference.

There are a few 'proven' (effective) ways to improve rate of reading, automaticity (which means what it sounds like... having the reading process be 'automatic' rather than slow and labored) and comprehension. But they take lots and lots and lots of good modeling, rehearsal and practice.  Share your questions and observations with your child's school district as part of a formal request, in writing, to have your child evaluated. And know your rights and how to be a well-informed advocate should you have any questions and worries along the way. A wonderful resource for you and others is NCLD's IDEA Parent Guide (  
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