How can I help my child with dyslexia and dysgraphia overcome his learning disabilities?
I have a sixth grader with pronounced dyslexia/ dysgraphia diagnosed in 4th grade. He has been in RSP for the last 3 grades (4th, 5th, 6th) . Each IEP my main concern is his ability to write and written expressions. He also struggles with reading. The only thing the school adresses is his reading. This skill has improved slightly he guesses on unfamiliar words and inserts words and phrases that are not in the text. In writting he writes with capitols in the middle of words, letters are all different shapes and sizes, and the context is often non comprehsible. The school feels he is making GREAT improvements, I am worried that next year in middle school he is going to drown. Any help on suggestions that I can do for him at home is greatly appreciated.
Without knowing the school district that you are referring to, it is difficult to respond. In the the school district that my son attends, North Colonie in Latham, New York, the middle school does NOT perform reading and writing skill instruction that helps improves a childs word recognition and recall. I also have a son in 6th grade with dyslexia and I am currently in the initial process of developing an IEP for him next year. We, the special ed administrator and myself, have had a few interesting discussions about what my son's "needs" are. Like you, I continue to stress the importance of developing goals that will continue to improve word recognition and recall skills so that he can become a functional reader in life. I have been told that the middle school does not perform that type of instruction. Their main concern is comprehension of the curriculum information being offered.
My son has received special education services for two years and has made significant improvements because I have a very detailed and specific IEP that targets word recognition and recall skills. I also work with an outside education consultant that does yearly testing so that I can have unbias results of his actual process. She also provides me with a report indicating what types of instruction and instructional materials that should be used in the next school year. Her report is my source for developing my yearly IEP.
I am worried about your son. Reading is requires word recognition and writing requires word recall. Recognition is the first step to word recall. You need someone, if you don't already, outside of the school district that can provide you with an unbias assessment of your son's current performance level, as well as provide some instructional alternatives that can help your son. Relying on the middle school, I believe, will be a detriment to you son.
I also have a struggling son. Needless to say i've been doing a lot of research on the subject. I recently went to a seminar given by Susan Barton and it blew me away. You need to do some research on her yourself. She offers an at home program you can buy and tutor your child yourself. The schools usually won't be of much help. She's been teaching parents, teachers, recourse specialists, grandparents, etc. for a very long time. If the school isn't using an Orton-Gillingham based program to tutor your child then it's going to confuse him even more. Please look into it for your child's sake. He can't afford for you to confuse him any more than he already is.
I wish there was a simple answer for you. I just wanted to give you a word of encouragement. We have 3 girls ages 12 and 11(sisters) and 11 (step), at one time all 3 had an IEP. My step-daughter was to receive 675 minutes per week in special education. When we asked about her math assignments, we were told that the school could only address "problem solving math". She also has some signs of Dyslexia, Dysagneus, Dyscaliaus and Dysgraphia. Though she has not been formerly tested, we received the run around from both the school, special ed teacher, and the pediatrician. That doesn't help much when your 11 yr old can barely read "Cat in the Hat". I am speaking of a child that has been pushed through school because of her age. She has been promoted each and every school-year.
Between our living arrangements and the lack of specific needs being met, we decided to start homeschooling, all of them. This is a choice not for the faint of heart.
One thing that I did do, that might help you and does not have to be all that expensive is to go to either a used or a new book store and buy workbooks for him. The biggie is that they must be at his grade level. My step-daughter is at a first grade level, yet she is highly intelligent. This is a form of ADHD, she was just recently diagnosed with, but I can't remember the exact name.
I just wanted to send you some words of encouragement! BTW, I also hold down a part-time job and help my husband take care of both of his ailing parents.
I have Dyslexia and ADHD. I'm a sophomore in high school.
I remember 6 and 7th grade. It sucked, I hated being Dyslexic and I felt that no matter how hard I tried I'd just fail in school, which I did, so I stopped trying. My grades went down from a B to a D, towards the end of 7 grade. I got into music and stared playing the drums. My grades went back up to a B. When Ii stared the drums, for some strange reason, school got easier than it had been. Going into 8th I stared playing the guitar and played blackball and cheer and my grades went up again, to an A. I feel that just getting interested in some thing can help, it gets your mind off Dyslexia. This past year I had a report I had to do on someone or something that made a difference in my life, so I did on music and how that help me in school and in life so I stared researching "Dyslexia Drummers" and I found this story at the link i put below about Pat Gesualdo, you really need to check it out!
I know how he feels, I have an IEP still and I am in the 12th grade and I am just now getting to a 10th grade reading level. I have problems with reading and writing. I sometimes put caps in the middle of words mostly with b's and d's sometimes with others too. So I think it is cool, it's just a working process; he will get better and yes it is hard but he is not the only one. I have trust he will make it through life, don't worry too much. He will make it.... Hope this helps :) good luck.
Have you researched the Barton System? I am going to start that with my son this summer. The school keeps blowing me off...telling me he is on track "for his age" but I have a mother's instinct. I've read so many great things about this system & I'm hoping it will help my son. You as a parent can be his tutor through the system as long as you pass a phonemic awareness test.
Dear "our street",
I have a child with severe dyslexia. We tried many programs over the years even after he finally received an IEP in fifth grade. The one program that made such a significant impact that even his resource teachers noticed a difference was based on "The Gift of Dyslexia", by Ron Davis. Ron Davis is himself dyslexic. His instructor (also a Dyslexic) was trained by Ron Davis. Now my son is in high school. He knows how to work with his "learning challenge". Recently his high school English teacher suggested he take AP English! Don't give up. Most dyslexics are highly gifted in other areas that we "normal" people are not. Try to look up a list of successful people (like Albert Einstein) who were dyslexic.
Remember and remind him, he is GIFTED! Try the link I enclosed.
The only program that really works for students with
Dyslexia is Orton Gillingham. There are several variations
Susan Barton, Slingerland , Wilson,but they have the same basic premise.
Google Orton Gillingham and learn about it. It will
really help your son. If you can afford it try to
get him one to one Orton Gillingham tutoring.
Most schools don't have it so the IEP's are not effective.
If he is skipping or guessing he isn 't getting the right instruction.
Look at the Susan Barton website. She has tons of useful
information on it about dyslexia. Don't despair
my son went from being a non reader to reading at the
12th grade level. It can be OK. He still hates school but he can
My child is in 6th grade and has severe dyslexia. He was diagnosed in 4th grade. For the past 2 years, we have used workbooks created by Cheryl Orlassino. They are very affordable (~$30 each). I would suggest starting with Blast Off To Reading, then move on to Workbook for Dyslexics (3rd edition), and then Workbook for Dyslexics (2nd edition); the second edition is much harder than the third. These books incorporate the Orton-Gillingham method and have helped my son immensely. His reading and his especially his writing have improved so much.