My Kid Can’t Read

26 Feb

I remember the moment I realized that my son was not just being stubborn by refusing to do his reading assignment and I realized that he literally couldn’t
sound out the words to do his homework. Later, I would learn that this was dyslexia. Dyslexia it’s a learning difference that’s labeled as a learning disability (when it is labeled at all that is – as school districts often do not use the term at all). A disability is what we call it when we don’t know how to teach the child. It puts the onus on the child and not the instruction. I also came to find out that his teachers, reading specialists and specialized academic teachers had no understanding of this disability at all.

The Mayo Clinic defines Dyslexia as is a learning disorder characterized by difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words. Also called specific reading disability, dyslexia is a common learning disability in children.

It is actually a specific language impairment. Phonology (speech sounds) is the first building block of speech and language development.

Early warning signs include:

Delayed speech articulation skills

Mispronunciation of words when articulation skills are intact

Inability to sound out words

Frequent guessing of the word based on the first letter sound in the word

Poor spelling skills

Extreme frustration completing assignments and homework

Avoiding reading and writing

Failure to thrive academically despite high intelligence

Being missed perceived as lazy and going as far as being mislabeled as “defiant”

Children who suffer from this type of specific language impairment simply do not look “disordered”. They look normal thus are frequently mislabeling as “lazy”. This “silent”disability can have extreme consequences. These children may feel like failures and disappointments to their teachers and family as they struggle to understand how it is they can know so much and demonstrate so little through written language. These children may often be punished for their seeming “unwillingness to put forth effort”. Teachers and parents often misunderstand them because they are very smart. It seems like they should be able to complete a simple task of sounding out simple words. As academic text become increasingly more complex they may appear to fall further and further behind thus leading to acting out or task avoidance. They may often end up in the principal’s office and much much worse. The estimates on how many of the prison population suffer from this “disability” are dismal.

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