Specific Learning Disablility and Dyslexia

Parents often ask me whether they should get a diagnosis of dyslexia after their child has qualified for special education services under the category “Specific Learning Disability.” The answer to this question is: “No, you do not need to get a diagnosis of dyslexia as dyslexia and a specific learning disability are basically two different terms for the same thing.” Here are some key points:

  • Specific Learning Disability (SLD) is the term used by educators and is the term used in the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA).
  • Dyslexia is the medical term used by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V (DSMV-V).
  • Both Specific Learning Disability and Dyslexia are terms for when a person has a reading disorder.
  • Schools can diagnose a specific learning disability and provide intervention and special education services for a reading disability. Typically, the school psychologist and special education teacher will administer a series of standardized tests to determine if the student has a SLD.
  • Before diagnosing a SLD, the school based team must prove that low reading results are not due to a lack of research based instruction.
  • The same researched-based phonics type approach and interventions will be used whether the reading disorder is labeled dyslexia by an outside psychologist and a specific learning disability by the school. (That is, getting the extra dyslexic label won’t give you any services that are not provided for with SLD label.)

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Monday Mornings: Proverbs, Quotes, and More

Because others have sacrificed so much–some even their lives, we should endeavor to live our lives more fully.

This quote by Thoreau is quoted so frequently, it has almost become a cliché. Still, I love the message.

“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.” -Thoreau

Have a blessed Memorial Day.

Monthy Book Recommendation: Born on a Blue Day

Monthly book recommendation:

Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant

Written by Daniel Tammet

This book is written by a man from England who is on the autism spectrum and is a savant. The title of the book can throw you off, because “blue” is usually associated with being sad, but that is not what the author, Daniel Tammet, is referring to. Tammet actually sees numbers and words in color, shapes, and different textures, and with this ability, he is able to do amazing figures in his head.

I always find savant abilities fascinating, but what I really appreciate about this book are the explanations Tammet gives for certain behaviors that are often associated with people on the spectrum. For example, he explains why he walked around the perimeter of the playground as a child, something I have observed as a teacher. He explains that he did not want to get bumped or hit with the ball. He talks about sensory issues and perfectionism, other traits I have observed. I am always so appreciative of insight from a person who is on the spectrum because people do have different experiences of the world based on sensory input and neurological makeup.

I highly recommend this book!

Monday Mornings: Proverbs, Quotes, and More

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” –Henry Ford

Feeling overwhelmed? Divide the work into small jobs. Oftentimes, it is all about getting the momentum going. I once heard a teacher say that if you are depressed, pick one drawer to clean (it gets you moving).

Some students do better if you have them do the assignment they like least first–that way they get it over with. I am more the type that likes to begin with something easier, and this gets me going. Figure out what works best for you and your students/children. It could be key to having a smoother day.

Summer Practice

I can’t believe there are only a few weeks left in the school year! (Can’t wait!)

While summer is a great time to relax, there are a few key academic items you can focus on to help your child/students:

  • Work on a few sight words a week–master reading and spelling them.
  • Continue to have your child read at least 15 minutes a day–you can take turns reading aloud.
  • Work on improving fluency with math facts–this is foundational and will help your child overall in math.
  • Work on writing–can be a good sentence a day, a paragraph, or journal writing–mix it up.

Doing these will help your child transition back into school in the fall, and will help retain those good skills learned during the previous school year. They can also be done without all the normal pressures of a school year. Try to make it fun!

Spelling Practice Sheets

My spelling practice worksheets were getting a little shabby (having been photocopied repeatedly), so I decided to make some new ones.

These are designed for 15 words or less. The packet includes one page for: writing each word three times, putting words in ABC order, using the words to write sentences, a pre-test, and a test page.

While these practice sheets can be helpful, what really matters is that you review the spelling patterns. Also, if there are new vocabulary words, the best way to help your child/students learn those is by using the words in context.

Free download: Spelling Practice Worksheets

 

 

R-Controlled Vowels

Most of us know about teaching short and long vowel sounds, but what about r-controlled vowels?

A r-controlled vowel is a vowel followed by the letter r,  and the vowel does not make a short or a long vowel sound.

When you have a student who is decoding based on phonics, you quickly learn that these words are tricky, and need to be taught.

Some examples of this vowel pattern are:

/ar/:  arm, barn, car, smart, shark, park

/ir/:  bird, fir, girl, skirt, sir, stir

/or/:  born, for, inform, north, short, order

/ur/:  curve, hurt, nurse, surf, turn, purple

Teach students about r-controlled vowels, and the influence the r has on the vowel. This can be done through teaching spelling patterns and word lists.