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Parentsand educators may have different opinions about terms to describe a child's challenges.  Understanding these terms and agreeing on which to use can help prevent confusion and conflicts.  Eleven different organization joined together to clarify terminology so it does not get in the way of instruction.

Specific Learning disability (SLD) is a term used to describe children who have a disability in reading, writing, or math.  

Using the term (SLD) is important because it's a term used in the Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA).



Understanding children with dyslexia is beginning to flourish.  Decoding Dyslexia, primarily parent groups in each state, has opened the door to emotionally scarred children, frustrated parents, and unresponsive school personnel.  Legislatures have passed laws mandating changes in education.

However, according to the International Dyslexia Association and my personal observations, the research and policy changes have not filtered down into practice in large numbers of schools.

Expert Opinions on Reading Recovery

     While there are several excellent programs for teaching persons with dyslexia, all successful programs/methods follow the basic tenants of the Orton-Gillingham approach.  While I have not used Reading Recovery, a reading program designed for first grade students, this program has come under scrutiny by dyslexia specialists whom I greatly respect.

     Peter Wright quotes from a document in which more than 30 researchers express concern about the use of Reading Recovery.

New Regulations Aid Persons with Dyslexia

The US Department of Justice just released final regulations implementing the American Disabilities Act.  The Act clarifies and eliminates some of the obstacles persons with specific learning disabilities (dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia) have faced.
These regulations have been sent to all schools and workplaces.  However, it often takes years for new regulations to get fully implemented, so parents may need to inform the student's teachers and school.  A copy can be downloaded at the ADA website, www.


Thefollowing information was condensed from an article by Diana Hanbury King, highly respected  in the area of dyslexia:

Cursive writing has many advantages, especially for persons with dyslexia.

1. The word becomes a unit, rather than a series of separate strokes.  Thus spacing within and between words are much less of a problem.
2.  Fewer letters are reversed. 
3.  Most critically, handwriting engages more cognitive resources than keyboarding does. Writing exercises the brain, keyboarding the fingers.



A multi-tiered instructional framework, often referred to as RTI, is a school wide approach that addresses the needs of all students, including struggling learners and students with disabilities.

In a memo from Melody Musgrove, Office of Special Education Programs, to State Director of Special Education, Dr. Musgrove says "It has come to the attention of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) that in some instances, local educational agencies may be using RTI (Response to Intervention) to delay or deny a timely evaluation for children suspected of having a disability.

The International Dyslexia Assoc. Conference, 2014

Attendingthe International Dyslexia Association in San Diego, CA, was energizing, informative, and thought-provoking.  Connecting with persons only met through social media as well as reconnecting with seldom seen friends made for an exhilarating experience.  

Being invited to do a book signing of my book at this prestigious conference was the fulfillment of a dream.

Then what did I learn?  One statement that keeps playing over and over in my mind is: "It may be as difficult to enforce laws as it was/is to secure passage.


Public school teachers, principals, and staff are well-intentioned, but many schools don't have the resources to diagnose and treat students with dyslexia.  The teacher might say students develop at different rates and he/she will "catch up."  The school might tell you that your child will be tested in grade 3.  Other personnel may say that the child is reading on grade level when the child is unusually intelligent and should be reading well above grade level.

By the time a child is far enough behind to qualify for an evaluation, the problem has intensified.

Congressional Dyslexia Caucus

     In my book DYSLEXIA:  A TEACHER'S JOURNEY, Memoir, I alluded to Rep. Bill Cassidy's (Louisiana), along with Rep. Pete Stark of California, work in establishing the Congressional Dyslexia Caucus.  Rep. Cassidy has introduced House Resolution 456.
    This resolution recognizes that great progress has been made in understanding dyslexia at a scientific level.  Yet 66 percent of our nation's children are performing below proficient in reading.

Response To Intervention

Today we hear much about Response to Intervention, an organizational pattern to prevent and assist students with reading problems, including dyslexia.  Generally, there are three level of RTI.  Students are screened when entering school to determine which students may experience reading difficulty.  Tier I students are given researched-based instruction in the regular classroom.   Students who do not appear to be responding to Tier I are elevated to Tier II and time and intensity of instruction are increased.