Sunday, February 05, 2006

Dyslexia - Educating The Educators

So much of what I do is dictated by my experiences in the world of real estate and in my life as an evolving human being. Just yesterday I had an in depth conversation with a client about her frustration with a system that failed to see what she as a mother innately knew. Early in her son's schooling, she began to notice that something was not quite right. This was not her first child and although all her interactions with the educators indicated that her son was doing "just fine," she knew it simply wasn't so.

Advocating for her son led her on a journey that I hope may help another family on Long Island, or anywhere else in the world. The diagnosis of dyslexia can be a relief for a parent, or a fear for the future of their child. Importantly, dyslexia is not a disease and there is no cure. Neither is it an indication of low intelligence or a behavioral problem. It is a learning disability and affects the way the brain processes language. Interestingly, many people with the disorder are very creative and adept at the visual arts.

One of the significant problems though is that learning is predicated on reading. Therefore, the child suffering from undiagosed dyslexia is often frustrated by the inability to keep up and the isolating emotions that come with "not fitting in." Mainstream education, because of the very structure of it, many times fails these children because teachers either lack the training or resources to accommodate this segment of the population. In researching this, I read a statement that perhaps says it best, "learning disabilities should be replaced by teaching disabilities."

Research studies have suggested that phonics is the best way to teach students to read. When I was a child, it was the only way. Have we come so far that we've regressed to a point where our children and our children's children receive less of the basic reading tools than we did so long ago. For children with learning disabilities phonics is critical and multisensory presentation of language (sight, speech, touch, hearing and writing) allows them to absorb it on a level that works.

If your child is experiencing difficulties in school that can't be attributed to anything else, dyslexia could be the cause. Here are some of the resources you can access: - for help on Long Island

Don't let "the experts" tell you nothing's wrong, if everything in you is screaming there is. Trust your instincts and look for help. Children have a right to self esteem and feeling "less than" and different can rob them of it. Good luck in your quest.

Author: Geri Sonkin


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Geri,
Wonderful piece on Dyslexia. My son has ADHD innatentive subtype (Hyperactivity is not an issue). The first thing we noticed was him struggle with reading. A multisensory reading program that we pay for privately was also necessary for him. I happen to live in a school district which has an excellent reputation, but a horrible special education department. Bad enough that we want to leave a home and friends that we love to find a district where my son can get what he needs. Obtaining information on a district which specificly has a good special ed department has been a difficult process. I was curious if you had any advice or were interested in connecting other parents in similar situations to network and share information.

5:38 PM  

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