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Dealing with Dyslexia

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dealing with Dyslexia; VBIDA selects CBA students as scholarship recipientAccording to the International Dyslexia Association, as many as 15 percent of school population in the U.S. have some symptoms of dyslexia, and dyslexia can affect people of all backgrounds and intellectual levels. Shana Hatzopoulos, President of the Virginia Branch of the International Dyslexia Association talks more about dyslexia, how to treat it and why it’s important to raise awareness about it.

Watch Shana on The Hampton Roads Show!

What can you tell us about Dyslexia and the Virginia Branch of the International Dyslexia Association’s efforts to heighten dyslexia awareness?
The Virginia Branch of the International Dyslexia Association (VBIDA) is a non-profit, scientific, and educational organization dedicated to the study and treatment of dyslexia as well as related language-based learning disabilities. VBIDA is one of 42 branches of the International Dyslexia Association that operate throughout the United States and various other countries.  Our goal is not only to heighten awareness about dyslexia throughout the state, but to also provide resources and education across the State of Virginia.
One in 10 people have symptoms of dyslexia, including slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, poor writing or mixing up similar words. Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability and contrary to some beliefs, it is not due to either lack of intelligence or a desire to learn.  Despite federal and state laws guaranteeing that public schools must provide a “free and appropriate” education to ALL students, it simply doesn’t happen for most children with dyslexia. The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) is changing this by better informing parents and ensuring that teachers across the country are trained in a structured literacy approach. With a structured literacy approach, individuals with dyslexia can and do learn successfully.

What is the structured literacy approach?
Structured Literacy describes highly organized, carefully sequenced and cumulative instruction of the basic language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students systematically and explicitly learn the structure and use of sounds, syllables, words, sentences, and written discourse.

Who is affected by Dyslexia and what are the warning signs?
Dyslexia occurs in people of all backgrounds and intellectual levels. People who are very bright can have dyslexia. They are more often capable or even gifted in areas that do not require strong language skills, such as art, computer science, design, drama, electronics, math, mechanics, music, physics, sales and sports.  Dyslexia is not simply “reading backwards.” Some of the warning signs associated with dyslexia include:

  • Difficulty learning to speak
  • Trouble learning letters and their sounds
  • Difficulty organizing written and spoken language
  • Trouble memorizing number facts
  • Difficulty reading quickly enough to comprehend
  • Trouble persisting with and comprehending longer reading assignments
  • Difficulty spelling
  • Trouble learning a foreign language
  • Difficulty correctly doing math operations

Parents who suspect that their child might be exhibiting signs of dyslexia or another language-based learning difference are encouraged to take action as soon as they suspect a problem. The earlier a child receives intervention the sooner he or she can get on the path to successful learning.

What should parents do if their child is exhibiting signs of dyslexia?
Parents who suspect that their child might be exhibiting signs of dyslexia or another language-based learning difference are encouraged to take action as soon as they suspect a problem. The earlier a child receives intervention the sooner he or she can get on the path to successful learning.

What to do if your child is exhibiting signs of dyslexia:

  • Contact your child’s teacher, head of school, guidance counselor or pediatrician and express your concerns.
  • Request a formal evaluation of your child by a professional or request a referral for testing to confirm a diagnosis of dyslexia or another language-based learning difference.
  • Visit the International Dyslexia Association’s website www.interdys.org for an online screener, fact sheets and helpful resources for parents.
  • Be an advocate for your child. If your child is diagnosed as having dyslexia, fight for proper accommodations in his or her current school or look into specialized schools or tutors. Information and resources can be found at www.interdys.org.
  • Keep a positive attitude. A diagnosis of dyslexia or another learning difference is not the end of the world. Children with dyslexia are bright, capable and able to go on to college and successful careers. If your child has dyslexia it simply means that he or she learns differently. Many top CEOs, scientists, artists and entrepreneurs have dyslexia.

Source: IDA National

For more information about diagnosing and education kids with dyslexia, visit contact Dana Calo at (757) 497-6200 or email dcalo@cba-va.org