Monday, November 2, 2009

Math Issues

Kids with dyslexia can have a lot of trouble with rote math facts. No one ever told me this. All I ever heard about are reading and writing issues. But it makes perfect sense....why would random numbers make any more sense than random letters.

So that hard stuff is multiplication tables, adding and subtracting facts, etc.

The easy part is word problems because there is logic and sense around them!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This is a skill

Knowing that you are overwhelmed and need a break IS A SKILL!

When your child comes to you and says, "I am overwhelmed and I need a day off of school", then listen to them!

In 20 years, it is not going to matter that they had a day off of school. Give them the time they need to regroup and start over the next day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Learning Disability Simulation

One of the best experiences that a teacher or parent can have is to participate in a learning disability simulation. A group of adults sit at a table and do a simuation that makes them feel like they have a disability - including hearing, dyslexia, dysgraphia, etc. I can not recommend enough that you try to find such an event in your area and attend. A good place to start is by looking at the Parents Helping Parents website: Even though they are located in the SF Bay area, they may be able to help you find a simulation event in your area.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Spelling test tricks

A good way to manage spelling tests is to organize the spelling words into categories. For example: All the long "i" words are in one category and all the "ee" words are in another category.

Once you get all the categories for the words, create a spelling paper that is a grid with a box for each category. Label the top of the box with the category type.

Read the spelling word to your student and have them think about what category it goes into (ie which box should it go in). Once they have the logic they think - "oh that is an "ee" word", it greatly increases their success!

How to remember Pi

Have trouble remembering the digits of pi? I can help with the first six digits, though you're on your own for the remaining 58. :-)

Pi is approximately equal to 3.14159 (with another 58 digits to follow).

To remember this, create a phrase where each word contains the number of letters contained in each digit in Pi. For example:

May I have a large milkshake?

May = 3
I - 1
have - 4
a = 1
large = 5
milkshake = 9

If you really want to remember the rest, just make a longer phrase.

Monday, August 17, 2009

STAR testing

All states have their own standardized test for schools. I always call them tests to see how well the teachers are covering the material to be tested. NOT tests for how well the kids are learning or how smart they are. I am not a supporter of these types of standardized tests and was not a supporter even before I had a daughter with dyslexia.

Last spring when it was time to take the STAR test at school, Gracie and I had many talks about whether or not she was going to take the test. It is not surprising that a kid with dyslexia is not a good standardized test taker. And I was concerned that taking the test would be a total downer for her. But on the other hand, the world is full of standardized tests and the experience would be good for her.

So we made a deal. Take the test the first day and then if it totally freaks her out - then she didn't have to take the rest of the test. Giving her that out made her feel better about taking the test and after one day, she decided to keep going.

We had also told her that it does not matter how she does on the test and that we just want her to have the experience. And we discussed that the STAR testing is not a true measurement of what a kid knows - especially a kid with dyslexia - and that we don't care what score she gets. We also relieved her fear that if she did not do well, she would have to repeat grade 3! Her biggest worry was being held back.

Fast forward to now:

We got the STAR test scores....and she scored proficient in everything -- including LANGUAGE ARTS!!!

This is no minor feat - this is a HUGE accomplishment!

GO GRACIE!!!! Girl Power strikes again!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

That time of year....

It is that time of year that brings new anxiety to the mom of a dyslexic....the beginning of school. It means new challenges for my daughter and new challenges for me. My daughter has to face a new routine, new pressures and harder work. I have to face bringing a new teacher up to speed, supporting my daugther as she goes thru her new challenges and managing school and educational therapy at the same time.

It feels this way every year. It's just part of the journey.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

1000 Different Alternatives to Book Reports

1. Do a costumed presentation of your book. Dress either as the author or one of the characters.
2. Write a letter from one character to another character.
3.Write the first paragraph (or two) for a sequel. Outline what would happen in the rest of book.
4. Write a new conclusion.
5.Write a new beginning.
6.If a journey was involved, draw a map with explanatory notes of significant places.
7.Make a diorama and explain what it shows.
8.Make a diorama showing the setting or a main event from the book.
9.Make a new jacket with an original blurb.
10.Use e-mail to tell a reading pen pal about the book.
11.Participate with three or four classmates in a television talk show about the book.
12.With another student, do a pretend interview with the author or with one of the characters.
13.Cut out magazine pictures to make a collage or a poster illustrating the idea of the book.
14.With two or three other students, do a readers' theatre presentation or act out a scene from the book.
15.Lead a small group discussion with other readers of the same book. Focus on a specific topic and report your group's conclusion to the class.
16.Keep a reading journal and record your thoughts at the end of each period of reading.
17.Write a book review for a class publication.
18.Find a song or a poem that relates to the theme of your book. Explain the similarities.
19.For fun, exaggerate either characteristics or events and write a tabloid-style news story related to your book.
20.Draw a comic-book page complete with bubble-style conversations showing an incident in your book.
21.Use a journalistic style and write a news story about something that happened to one of the characters.
22.Write a paragraph telling about the title. Is it appropriate? Why or Why not?
23.Decide on an alternate title for the book. Why is it appropriate? Is it better than the one the book has now? Why or Why not?
24.Make a poster advertising your book.
25.Make a travel brochure inviting tourists to visit the setting of the book. What types of activities would there be for them to attend?
26.Write a letter to the main character of the book.
27.Write a letter to the main character of the book. Write the letter he or she sends back.
28.Make three or more puppets of the characters in the book. Prepare a short puppet show to tell the story to the class.
29.Write a description of one of the main characters. Draw or cut out a picture to accompany the description.
30.Make an ID card which belongs to one of the characters. Be sure to make the card look like the cards for that particular state. Include a picture and all information found on and ID card. Don't forget the signature!! ******This gets them researching what ID cards /Driver's Licenses look like; as well as thinking about the character--especially the signature. I have seen kids ask each of the other students to sign the character's name to find the one that would most likely belong to the character.********

31.Prepare a list of 15 to 20 questions for use in determining if other people have read the book carefully.
32.Must include some "thought" questions. "How?" "Why"
33.Dress up as one of the characters and tell the story from a first person point of view.
34.Rewrite the story as a picture book. Use simple vocabulary so that it may be enjoyed by younger students.
35.Write a diary as the main character would write it to explain the events of the story. Must have at least 5 entries.
36.Make a map showing where the story took place.
37.Make a dictionary containing 20 or more difficult words from the book.
38.Describe the problem or conflict existing for the main character in the book. Tell how the conflict was or was not resolved.
39.Make a mobile showing pictures or symbols of happenings in the book.
40.Make a collage representing some event or part of your book.
41.Make a crossword puzzle using ideas from a book. Need at least 25 entries.
42.Choose any topic from your book and write a 1-2 page research report on it. Include a one paragraph explanation as to how it applies to your book(not in the paper itself--on your "title page.")
43.Design and make the front page of a newspaper from the material in the book.
44.Write a song for your story. (extra marks if presented in class)
45.Write a poem (or poems) about your story.
46.Pretend you are a teacher, preparing to teach your novel to the entire class. Create 5 journal prompts.
47.Make a comic strip of your story.
48.Make a display of the time period of your book.
49.Make a banner of cloth or paper about your book.
50.Create a movie announcement for your book.
51.Create a radio ad for your book. Write out the script and tape record it as it would be presented. Don't forget background music!

52.Make a "wanted" poster for one of the characters or objects in your book. Include the following: (a) a drawing or cut out picture of the character or object, (b) a physical description of the character or object, (c) the character's or object's misdeeds (or deeds?), (d) other information about the character or object which is important, (e) the reward offered for the capture of the character or object.

53.Research and write a 1 page report on the geographical setting of your story. Include an explanation as to why this setting was important to the effect of the story.|

54.Design an advertising campaign to promote the sale of the book you read. Include each of the following: a poster, a radio or TV commercial, a magazine or newspaper ad, a bumper sticker, and a button.

55.Find the top 10 web sites a character in your book would most frequently visit. Include 2-3 sentences for each on why your character likes each of the sites.

56.Write a scene that could have happened in the book you read but didn't. After you have written the scene, explain how it would have changed the outcome of the book.

57.Create a board game based on events and characters in the book you read. By playing your game, members of the class should learn what happened in the book. Your game must include the following: a game board, a rule sheet and clear directions, events and characters from the story.

57.Make models of three objects which were important in the book you read. On a card attached to each model, tell why that object was important in the book.

58.Design a movie poster for the book you read. Cast the major character in the book with real actors and actresses. Include a scene or dialogue from the book in the layout of the poster. Remember, it should be PERSUASIVE; you want people to come see the movie.

59.If the book you read involves a number of locations within a country or geographical area, plot the events of the story on a map. Make sure the map is large enough for us to read the main events clearly. Attach a legend to your map. Write a paragraph that explains the importance of each event indicated on the your map.

60.Complete a series of five drawings that show five of the major events in the plot of the book you read. Write captions for each drawing so that the illustrations can be understood by someone who did not read the book.

61.Make a test for the book you read. Include 10 true-false, 10 multiple choice, and 10 short essay questions. After writing the test, provide the answers for your questions.

62.Select one character from the book you read who has the qualities of a heroine or hero. List these qualities and tell why you think they are heroic.

63.Imagine that you are about to make a feature-length film of the novel you read. You have been instructed to select your cast from members of your English class. Cast all the major characters in your novel from your English classmates and tell why you selected each person for a given part.

64.Plan a party for the characters in the book you read. In order to do this, complete each of the following tasks: (a) Design an invitation to the party which would appeal to all of the characters. (b) Imagine that you are five of the characters in the book and tell what each would wear to the party. (c) Tell what food you would serve and why. (d) Tell what games or entertainment you will provide and why your choices are appropriate. (e) Tell how three of the characters will act at the party. (f) What kind of a party is this? (birthday, housewarming, un-birthday, anniversary, etc.)

65.List five of the main characters from the book you read. Give three examples of what each character learned or did not learn in the book.

66.Obtain a job application from an employer in our area, and fill out the application as one of the characters in the book you read might do. Before you obtain the application, be sure that the job is one for which a character in your book is qualified. If a resume is required, write it.

67.You are a prosecuting attorney putting one of the characters from the book you read on trial for a crime or misdeed. Prepare your case on paper, giving all your arguments.

68.Do the previous activity, but find a buddy to help you. One of you becomes the prosecuting attorney; the other is the defense. If you can't find a buddy, you could try it on your own.

69.Make a shoe box diorama of a scene from the book you read. Write a paragraph explaining the scene and its effect in the book on your title page.

70.Pretend that you are one of the characters in the book you read. Tape a monologue of that character telling of his or her experiences. Be sure to write out a script before taping. You could perform this "live" if you so choose.

71.Make a television box show of ten scenes in the order that they occur in the book you read. Cut a square form the bottom of a box to serve as a TV screen and make two slits in opposite sides of the box. Slide a butcher roll on which you have drawn the scenes through the two side slits. Make a tape to go with your television show. Be sure to write out a script before taping or performing live.

72.Tape an interview with one of the characters in the book you read. Pretend that this character is being interviewed by a magazine or newspaper reporter. You may do this project with a partner, but be sure to write a script before taping. You may choose to do a "live" version of this.

73.Write a letter to a friend about the book you read. Explain why you liked or did not like the book.

74.In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield describes a good book as one that "when you're done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it." Imagine that the author of the book you read is a terrific friend of yours. Write out an imaginary telephone conversation between the two of you in which you discuss the book you read and other things as well.

75.Imagine that you have been given the task of conducting a tour of the town in which the book you read is set. Make a tape describing the homes of your characters and the places where important events in the book took place. You may want to use a musical background for your tape.

76.Do some research on the hometown of your book's author. You may be able to find descriptions of his or her home, school, favorite hangouts, etc. What else is of interest in the town? Imagine that you are conducting a tour of the town. Make a tape describing the places you show people on the tour. You may want to use a musical background for your tape.

77.Make a list of at least ten proverbs or familiar sayings. Now decide which characters in the book you read should have followed the suggestions in the familiar sayings and why.

78.Write the copy for a newspaper front page that is devoted entirely to the book you read. The front page should look as much like a real newspaper page as possible. The articles on the front page should be based on events and characters in the book.

79.Make a collage that represents major characters and events in the book you read. Use pictures and words cut from magazines in your collage.

80.Make a time line of the major events in the book you read. Be sure the divisions on the time line reflect the time period in the plot. Use drawings or magazine cutouts to illustrate events along the time line. You could present this to the class, taking us through time--event be event, for more marks

81.Change the setting of the book you read. Tell how this change of setting would alter events and affect characters.

82.Make a paper doll likeness of one of the characters in the book you read. Design at least threes costumes for this character. Next, write a paragraph commenting on each outfit; tell what the clothing reflects about the character, the historical period and events in the book.

83.Pick a national issue. Compose a speech to be given on that topic by one of the major characters in the book you read. Be sure the contents of the speech reflect the characters personality and beliefs.

84.Retell the plot of the book you read as it might appear in a third-grade reading book. Be sure that the vocabulary you use is appropriate for that age group. Tape your storytelling.

85.Complete each of these eight ideas with material growing out of the book you read: This book made me wish that. . ., realize that. . ., decide that. . ., wonder about. . ., see that. . ., believe that . . ., feel that . . ., and hope that. . . .

86.After reading a non-fiction book, become a teacher. Prepare a lesson that will teach something you learned from the book. It could be a "how-to" lesson or one on content. Plan carefully to present all necessary information in a logical order. You don't want to confuse your students! Present your lesson to your students. How did you do? If you taught a "how-to" lesson, look at the final product to see if your instructions to the class were clear. If your lesson introduced something new, you might give a short quiz to see how well you taught the lesson.

87.Look through magazines for words and pictures that describe your book. Use these to create a collage on a bookmark. Make the bookmark available for others to use as they read the same book.

88.Write the title of your book. Decide on some simple word--picture--letter combinations that will spell out the title "rebus style." Present it to the class to solve (I will make a transparency or copies for you.) After they have solved the rebus., invite them to ask questions about the book.

89.After reading a book, design a game, based on that book as its theme. Will you decide on a board game, card game, concentration? The choices are only limited to YOUR CREATIVITY! Be sure to include clear directions and provide everything needed to play.

90.Choose an interesting character from your book. Consider the character's personality, likes and dislikes. Decide on a gift for him or her. . . something he or she would really like and use. Design a greeting card to go along with your gift. In the greeting, explain to your friend from the book why you selected the gift.

91.Design a poster to advertise your book. Be creative. . . use detail. . .elaborate. . . use color! Can you make it 3-D or movable?

92.Make a large poster that could be a cover for that book. Imagine that you are the book and plan a way to introduce yourself. Make the group feel they would like to know you better. Organize your best points into an introduction to present to the class. Be sure to "wear" your cover!

93.Read the classifieds. Find something a character in your book was looking for or would like. Cut out the classified. Write a short paragraph telling why he or she needs/wants the item. Would the one advertised be a good buy for him or her? Why or Why not?

94.Create cutout sketches of each character in your novel. Mount the sketches on a bulletin board. Include a brief character sketch telling us about the characters.

95.Design a symbol for a novel or a certain character.

96.Gather a large collection of current events that reflect incidents that closely parallel those in your novel.

97.Write a letter to the author of your novel and explain how you feel about the book.

98.Prepare and present an oral interpretation to the class.

99.Create a poster that could be used as an advertisement.

100.Do a five minute book talk.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another Powerful Person with Dyslexia

NEW YORK – Words have always been Rex Ryan's biggest challenge.

Not so much saying them, of course. The New York Jets' loquacious rookie coach has no trouble speaking his mind. Reading and writing, though, have made Ryan cringe since grade school.

That's the effect dyslexia can have, even on the most confident of NFL coaches.

"It was really frustrating," Ryan told The Associated Press. "So much of school, you have to write, but I just struggled. I couldn't help it."

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability which affects people's abilities to read, spell, write and pronounce words. According to The International Dyslexia Association, perhaps as much as 15-20 percent of the population has symptoms of dyslexia.

Ryan, 46, knew something wasn't quite right while he was growing up, but he was diagnosed with dyslexia just a few years ago when his oldest son, Payton, was tested for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

"They gave me a test, too, and there were like 100 words, not real words, but letters just thrown out there," Ryan said. "It might've taken me, I don't know, maybe 15 minutes to read it out. They brought in my youngest son, who was maybe 10 or 12 at that time, and he read it in like a minute.

"The further we went along with it, the more I realized, 'Man, oh, man. I can see where I definitely had it.'"

It's a stunning admission by a man who has exuded so much confidence and bravado since becoming the Jets coach in January.

"It's probably pretty common for someone who has communication problems or issues to be very reserved, shy or laid back," said Jets safety Jim Leonhard, who played on Ryan's defense in Baltimore last season but only recently heard about the coach's dyslexia. "Rex is the total opposite. He's too competitive of a guy to let something like that slow him down."

That wasn't always the case. Ryan remembers the anxious moments when he was called upon to read in class and the page appeared nothing more than a muddled mess of letters. And there were all the miserable scores on spelling exams.

"It wasn't like they had spell check back in those days, so it was impossible," he said. "I was a terrible student."

It got so bad Ryan would often skip school unless floor hockey or softball games were planned.

"I never wanted to embarrass myself," he said.

Adding to Ryan's frustrations were the facts that his mother, Doris, has a doctorate in education and was a vice president of the University of New Brunswick in Canada, and his father, Buddy, was a two-time academic All-American before becoming one of the NFL's greatest defensive minds. Ryan's older brother, Jim, has an MBA and a law degree.

Even Ryan's twin brother, Rob, who is Cleveland's defensive coordinator, "was pretty decent, too," he said, laughing.

"I was like, 'What the heck's wrong with me?'"

Well, nothing when it comes to coaching. Ryan, whose Ravens defenses were among the league's best the last several years, believes his dyslexia might have even helped shape his approach.

"He's a fighter and a competitor," Leonhard said, "and you can tell he probably got some of that from having dyslexia and overcoming it."

Many coaches today use colors to code their playbooks and game plans, but it's something Ryan has been doing for as long as he can remember to make things easier to comprehend.

"We can go back as many years as you want to go and you'll see it that way," Ryan said.

One set of plays might be green, while another yellow, and so on — a colorful learning tool that amused Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, a former assistant under Ryan in Baltimore.

"It would drive him crazy," Ryan said. "He would say, 'Don't say that stands out! How can you read that better?' This was before I even knew I was dyslexic."

The Jets also help Ryan with TV and radio commercial spots by reading the copy to him and letting him repeat it before taping.

"If you talk to me, I can pick things up better than I can just off a white piece of paper and black letters," he said.

Still, being dyslexic isn't something normally associated with NFL head coaches. Ryan was open about it when he interviewed for the Jets job, as well as previous opportunities.

"I never wanted to paint a false picture of myself," he said, "because if I got that job, I wanted to be myself."

Despite the struggles, Ryan was able to earn a master's degree in physical education from Eastern Kentucky. And then there's all he has achieved in the NFL.

"For the weaknesses I have with spelling and all those other things with being dyslexic, I have a lot of other strengths also," Ryan said. "I want people to know that you can have dyslexia and still reach your goals."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Books for dyslexic kids

High Noon books is a great resource for kids with dyslexia. One of the problems with dyslexic kids is they are often very bright but have trouble decoding the books that they would find interesting. For example, my daughter's interest is in 6th grade content but her reading abiility is at the 3rd grade level. High noon books provide advanced content with less advanced sentence/word structure. It is also a good place to start in order to increase confidence.


Remember the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent – never give it!”

One of the biggest issues for kids with dyslexia is a lack of confidence. It is understandable as they have been knocked down over and over again.

That is why as parents we need to make sure that these kids never feel inferior. I think that is our number one job. How do we do it?

1. Make sure they know they are not dumb because they have dyslexia rather they just learn different than others.
2. Make sure they know all the famous and successful people who have dyslexia.
3. Give them frequent opportunities that allow them to be successful.
4. Make sure they realize their gifts and talents and talk about how everyone has gifts and talents and everyone's are different.
5. Position dyslexia as a gift - it allows them to see the world differently and more vividly than non-dyslexics.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What is RFB&D?

Gracie uses a specilized CD player purchased thru RFB&D that has books on CD. RFB&D stands for Reading for the Blind and Dyslexics and you can literally get thousands and thousands of books on CD's for free. Gracie had the CD player at school while doing research for a report on Thomas Edison. Listening to the CD vs only reading books can give her a greater degree of knowledge while decreasing the frustration of only being able to read books at a certain level.

The player created all kinds of interest in the classroom because it was unusual and cool! One of the kids, who has been in her class for 6 months, questioned her about it. The conversation went like this:

Boy: What is that?
Gracie: My RFB&D player?
Boy: What's RFB&D?
Gracie: Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic
Boy: Oh wow, are you blind?

I almost spit out my dinner when she told me this story last nite!

Teacher Scholarships

Any teachers out there who are interested in excellent training on multisensory structured language education, here are some scholarships in the SF Bay area for rthis summer:

Monday, February 23, 2009

How to Remember the Great Lakes



Wednesday, February 11, 2009

There are going to be ups and downs/Burnout

I had a meeting today with Gracie's educational therapist. She is doing great and making great progress. But our discussion brought up additional concerns around auditory processing that we have not identified as a known issue nor have we been addressing. Auditory difficulties are a part of dyslexia - for sure. Its just that we had not identified that was a problem thru testing or thru experience.

Just discussing it gave me a feeling of deflating a balloon. I had so felt that we were so right on the top of things and then something new comes up. Literally it felt like despair.

But I had to stop and listen to advise that I have given may be a race but we will all get to the finish line eventually and that is all that matters. So I need to take this information and re-evaluate our strategy because there are going to be ups and downs - no matter how hard we both try.

Also with this conversation, we agreed to decrease educational therapy sessions to twice weekly (instead of three times weekly) because Gracie is feeling burned out.
I really struggle with this because that just slows down the progress. But I have to be sensitive to burnout because this is a long journey.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It is all how you spin it.

I was talking with a mom recently about how she was going to tell her 9 year old son that he needed to be tested for a learning disability. And she was terrified about telling him.

I didn't understand that because to me the more data that I have that can help me address the issues, the more efficient I will be and the easier my daughter's journey will become.

My message her is that testing is not a bad thing nor is anything else....its all how you spin it.

Here is how you spin testing:

* Testing allows you to identify exactly where and why you are struggling and then we can spend our time specifically working on those areas - instead of guessing and making everyone frustrated.
* Testing will let us understand how YOU learn best. Because all people learn differently,
* Testing will highlight your strengths! And then we can make sure you get lots of experiences in the areas you have strengths in.
* Testing will give us - as a team- the information we need to help you.

This tells the child that they are unique and can learn, that they have strengths and that they are not in this alone!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Multiplication Resource

This is a great resource for learning multiplication facts. For those of us who are not dyslexic, the stories that are used to help kids remember the facts are crazily complex! But they totally make sense to the kids! It is great fun to watch them go thru the stories and remember them! Well worth the cost.

Words Of Wisdom

This is a rule we use in our family and it is even more important if your child has dyslexia:

Only compare yourself to yourself.

In reference to dyslexia, this means:

Don't compare your reading level or math scores to the others in your class. Ask yourself, "have I improved in the last 6 months?". If the answer is YES! Then celebrate it. If the answer is "no", then rethink the intervention you are doing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

4 Parts to a Dyslexic

You need to consider 4 different aspects of your dyslexic child. Each is as equally important as the others. You need to make sure you understand and nurture each aspect. I think it is really important for us to keep in mind that it is not just the academic aspect that is important - it is the whole child which includes all these areas:

Academic Skills:
  • reading
  • spelling
  • writing
  • math
  • science
  • social studies

Learning Strategies
  • Strategies for spelling (logic based spelling)
  • Strategies for memory
  • Strategies for match concepts (stories for math facts)
  • Strategies related to organization
  • Strategies for reading (books on CD, etc)

Gifts and Talents

  • Sports
  • Music
  • Art
  • Empathy/Community Involvement
  • Drama


  • Self esteem
  • Self advocacy
  • Social skills
  • Self awareness

Each of these areas are critical to a child's success. Don't just focus on the struggles in the academic areas. Celebrate the successes in the other areas!

Monday, January 26, 2009


If you are just starting to say....there is something not quite right with words and my child, then I would highly recommend that you buy the book, "Overcoming Dyslexia" by Sally Shaywitz. It is the best scientifically based book on dyslexia and other language learning differences. You will know as you get into it if you are dealing with dyslexia or other language disorder.

And what I like the best is it gives scientifically proven suggestions for intervention. Not the "flavor of the month" stand on your head and it will solve your reading problem solution.

Parents who have kids that are struggling are willing to do anything that someone tells them will work. And there are many people out there willing to take your money and make promises. Don't waste your money because you will need it for interventions that really works and can be quite expensive because they are professionals who provide it.

Symptoms Over Time

I have found that it is sometimes helpful to list the symptoms/issues that have arose in the time frame that they occured.

When I am talking to folks who are seeking to understand the learning difference that their child has, I often start with this list. It not only gives them some concrete examples, but it is often an "Aha moment"...the "Aha" being - "I am not alone" and "I am not crazy".

Take a look at this list and I encourage you to start your own list. If you have not yet made a diagnosis, it will help when that time comes. If you already have a diagnosis, it will give you a sense of accomplishment when you look back and see how far your child has come. I include this list in my Action Plan that I have for my daughter. I update the plan at least once a year and provide it to her school and teacher.


Lack of appreciation for rhymes
Difficulty learning letters
Mispronounced words

Kindergarten and 1st Grade
Speech trouble (r’s, s’s)
Trouble with sight words
Trouble with word families – did not see the relationship
Difficulty sounding out words
Reading errors that show no connection to the sound of the word “big” for “goat”
Trouble with spelling
Consistently substituting “of”, and”, “for”, “the” and “from
Adding words into sentences

2nd Grade
Continuing letter reversal at age 8 years 6 months
Continuing difficulty sounding out words
Continuing spelling difficulty with a lot of effort
Utilizing capital “B” in the middle of the word
Mispronounced words – words come out all garbled up, as do sentences sometimes
Difficulty with word recall

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why a blog?

I am a long time blogger. My regular blog consists of the adventures my family gets itself involved in -from backpacking to boating to snowshoeing to rescuing kayakers and people stranded on the side of the road.

Included in those adventures was my daughters dyslexia diagnosis at age 8.

Since I am a MBA trained businesswoman, I threw myself into understanding dyslexia like I would any business problem. I gathered data, organized that data and developed a strategy and action plan for dealing with the diagnosis. My plan included long term and short term goals and a strategy for getting to those goals.

Part of my plan was to ensure that my daughter saw dyslexia as something positive and that her dyslexia did not affect her self esteem and confidence.

In addition, I felt that it was important to share our knoweledge and journey with others so that we can educate people on learning differences (and help eliminate the stigma) and help others who might be having the same experiences. To that end, my friends and family started asking me if I would speak to friends or relatives of theirs who were having similar experiences with their children.

I happily do so everytime I am asked and hope that it helps. In fact, my daughter and I feel like we are so fortunate to be able to help her that we need to give back and feel like it is our jobs to help others with dyslexia. We always say...."if we can only help make their lives a little easier...".

When reaching out to these folks, I always look back at my notes so that I can be sure to accurately share our experiences and provide the best resources I have found. In doing so, I often thought, there has got to be a better way.....thus the "dyslexia mom" blog was born.

With it, I plan to provide our experiences (good and bad) in hopes that it will help other families. I will also provide my favorite resources and tips.

So stay tuned and share this resource with those who need it.