What dyslexia looks like in the classroom
Teachers, right now, there are unidentified students with dyslexia in your class. How do you identify them? What should you look for? Start by reviewing this guide for teachers called Dyslexia in the Classroom. In addition, watch this video, made by The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, to learn how dyslexic students often appear and behave in school. We thank you for taking time to learn about dyslexia - you can make a huge difference for your students!
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT DYSLEXIA
- Talk to the student’s parent/s about your observations. Yes, you can use the “D” word! Many teachers are told they can’t discuss dyslexia because of Iowa’s non-categorical status regarding special education, or because of the false belief that dyslexia is only a medical diagnosis. However, Iowa now has a law that defines dyslexia within the state’s education code, making dyslexia officially an educational term. In addition, dyslexia has always been named as a Specific Learning Disability under the federal Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). Ask yourself – if this was your child, and the teacher suspected dyslexia, wouldn’t you want to know?
- Encourage the student’s parent/s to seek a private diagnostic evaluation. Contact us if you need a list of people who can test for dyslexia. Support the evaluation process by answering any questions the evaluator may have for you and following up with the student’s parent/s. Ask for permission to read the diagnostic report, paying attention to the student’s strengths and weaknesses and the evaluator’s recommendations.
- If appropriate, talk with the family about an evaluation for special education eligibility or a 504 plan.
- Learn about Structured Literacy methods for teaching reading and spelling to dyslexic students. Advocate for the use of such programs in your school. Structured Literacy methods are recommended by the International Dyslexia Association and the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, and are used by every private school for dyslexia. Examples include the Barton Reading and Spelling System, Wilson Language, Slingerland, Alphabetic Phonics, and Sonday.