Dyslexia Overview

There weren’t any huge red flags that would have indicated my daughter had a life-long reading problem.   Except that by the first grade she wasn’t a strong reader. 

My son wasn’t a strong reader until the 3rd grade, and then he began winning medals for reading, so that didn’t concern me much. 

I don’t recall being a strong reader until I was older either.  I can devour a book in a matter of hours now.

Nobody in our family had been diagnosed with dyslexia, and I didn’t know the “signs” to look for. 

The only people I knew who had Dyslexia were very poor clients I had helped who were either homeless or living in complete poverty.

I knew that Dyslexia could seriously alter someone’s future, leading them into a lifetime of poverty, although they were very interesting and talented individuals. 

Their inability to read well really impacted their ability to earn a decent living later in life.

One client even referred to himself as “illiterate.” 

The closest person I actually knew in my personal life who was close to “illiterate” is a relative who doesn’t write much beyond an elementary level.  He misspells easy words and he dropped out of high school. 

But he was never tested for dyslexia, so no dyslexia diagnosis means that nobody in the family has dyslexia.  Or at least that’s what happens when you ask if anyone in the family has dyslexia, although it’s clear that at least one person probably does. 

And because I didn’t know anyone else who had Dyslexia, I really thought this diagnosis meant that my daughter was destined for the same impoverished reality.

Early Intervention is Key

Luckily, my daughter’s school has a reading intervention program that helps students with Dyslexia, called “Take Flight”. 

It’s a program developed through the Scottish Rite Hospital.  Scottish Rite is the leading Dyslexia authority in the U.S., and although there are several types of approaches to Dyslexia, Take Flight is considered the most effective approach.

I’ve learned since the time my daughter was diagnosed with Dyslexia that it is not a poverty sentence in life.  In fact, many successful and well-known individuals throughout history have had Dyslexia. 

The most disheartening thing about having a child with Dyslexia is the initial lack of information for how to help them.  In future posts, I’ll share information about testing and how to navigate the process for help through the school. 

But for now, let’s just stick with getting to know some basic facts about Dyslexia:

Facts about Dyslexia

  • It is estimated that about 1 in 5people have Dyslexia worldwide.  
  • Dyslexia isn’t just reversing letters.  It’s much more complex and the challenges for kids with Dyslexia can easily extend beyond just reading ability.
  • Dyslexia isn’t just a United States problem and Dyslexia occurs equally regardless of economic/race/religion/gender/background. 
  • Dyslexia is a life-long disorder.  You’re born with it.  It can be helped with early intervention programs such as Take Flight, but it never goes away.  There is no medication to help with Dyslexia.
  • It’s inherited and identifying “who” in your family has Dyslexia can be challenging because a lot of families have undiagnosed cases of Dyslexia.  Asking “if someone in my family has Dyslexia” isn’t enough.  You have to investigate if members of your family struggled in school, dropped out of school, or have problems with reading or writing as an adult. 
  • People with Dyslexia aren’t naturally bookworms.  So, if someone in your family has always avoided reading books for leisure, then that might be a red flag.  Additionally, if your child hates to read books, then that’s a clue that something is “off”.  It doesn’t mean that your child definitely has Dyslexia, but it does indicate that something is blocking their love for reading.  It’s worth investigating. 
  • Dyslexia testing is a relatively new concept, so even those who grew up in the 1980’s and 1990’s might not have had access to Dyslexia testing and intervention.  Also, keep in mind that some states STILL do not have specific Dyslexia testing or intervention. 
  • In Texas, the school can do a Dyslexia test at no cost to you. Often, a teacher will recommend that a specific child be tested, but if you think your child may have Dyslexia, you can request that your child be tested.  Dyslexia testing typically occurs at the end of first grade.  Many schools will not test prior to this.  If a test is done by a private provider vs. being tested by the school, then the school does have to take the results into consideration. However, a school system doesn’t have to accept the results.  They will likely still want to conduct their own testing. 
  • People with Dyslexia tend to have the capacity to be very successful in life due to their creativity and ability to think outside the box.  Many are artists or entrepreneurs who do well despite having a problem with reading/writing. 
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