The ideal time to assess the dyslexic is before the need to do so becomes apparent. Screening as early as kindergarten can be successfully accomplished using any of various screeners on the market (e.g,. Joseph Torgent and Brian Briant's Test for Phonological Awareness (TOPA). At that early age this process could be treated as a game, on the other hand, after the need for assessment is present this process could be very humiliating and painful for the student and should not be performed unless a constructive plan for intervention has been established. It is also recommended that the dyslexic be screened for other learning disorders. The Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) is a good tool for looking at the acquired and developmental learning disorders that may need treatment prior to assessing. Here are a few acceptable reasons for assessment.
Unfortunately, because of budgeting, dyslexics are sometimes placed among the wrong group for remediation. Some school systems do have special programs for dyslexics, while other schools unfortunately, cluster these students among the special education children, the mentally retarded and other slow learners. Intervention must be tailored specifically for the dyslexic. There are many improved techniques now being used successfully in reading remediation that are based on the Orton-Gillingham method. Many of these can be obtained on videocassettes. Arlene Sonday and the Scotish Rite Hospital have such programs on the market. Many teachers seek to obtain training in these areas because such courses are generally inexpensive.
Some dyslexics do not demonstrate the need for intervention but could benefit from even subtle accommodations. Where possible, these accommodations should be implemented so that the student's potential can be optimized. It would not be expected that high-cost intervention be initiated, but a simple course in certain learning techniques is sometimes all that is needed. The law also provides that a dyslexic's ability to read should not be the basis for a scholastic examination. Dyslexics should be given the time needed to complete an examination, a reader should be allowed, as well as a private room to minimize distractions. . For these accommodations to be allowed, there has to be a formal diagnosis. It is understandable however, that in this setting the cost would be the responsibility of the student and not the institution.
We find this more often among adult dyslexics. They have gone through life wondering about the cause of their deficiencies, and although materially successful, the need to understand their problems still exists. . Diagnosing adult dyslexics can also be useful in determining the need to assess their offspring.
In identifying individuals as being dyslexic, it is often helpful to search out a high achiever who can become a role model. Such models are needed for the benefit of students and parents alike, who from their perspective can only see failure.
There are many very successful dyslexics in our society, some contemporary, and others in the past. Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Gen. George Patton are a few who have left their names. Athletes Bruce Jenner and Nolan Ryan, and entertainers Whoopi Goldberg and Cher are among our contemporaries. Identifying with the successful dyslexic offers some hope to parents and children alike. The book Succeeding with LD is a collection of stories of successful dyslexics. The book was authored by Jill Lauren and published by Free Spirit Publishers. Each of these stories could make a book by itself, but is short enough for the dyslexic to enjoy reading.
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