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How to Support Children with Dyslexia: 2 Steps You Can Take Today!

dyslexia instruction intervention screenings

When we first started thinking about action steps that we could share with the teachers and families of children with dyslexia, we came up with some huge number, somewhere over twenty! But, what we realized is that action steps are great, but some of us do better when things are broken down into smaller chunks.

When we’re thinking about what we can do to support these children and these students who are struggling with their social-emotional learning and their educational learning, there are some things we can do to start to address dyslexia.

Here are Two Steps You Can Take to Support Your Child or Student with Dyslexia:

1. Say the Word Dyslexia.

There is power in our words. I know for many of my students, when they received their diagnosis, they were finally able to hang their hat on the reason why they had been struggling.  When that happened, you could see this weight roll off their shoulders because they understood why they had been struggling.

It is so important for us to use the word dyslexia. It is so important for us to say the word dyslexia. And then help our children understand the word dyslexia at a deep enough level so that it is not something to be ashamed of. It is just something that is a part of your child’s learning process. It will help you and your child understand who they are as a learner.

Start saying dyslexia! Whether it’s through a children’s book, a YouTube video, or a discussion, we want everyone to say dyslexia and not be afraid to say it. It helps. It can only help to call it what it is.

Don’t just take it from us, back in 2015, the US Department of Education released a letter encouraging schools across the nation to say the term dyslexia. (You can read the full letter, here.)  

2. Speak Up for Early Screening (with appropriate instruction and intervention)

There is a myth that a child can’t be diagnosed with dyslexia until third grade. This just isn’t the case. In fact, oftentimes, waiting until the third grade to begin the screening process can lead to many missed opportunities. We can begin screening for dyslexia as early as preschool. As we like to say, don’t wait to fail!

We encourage you, as a teacher or family member, to speak up for early screening with appropriate instruction and interventions. We want to make sure that we are catching those students that have red flags or who are at risk for reading problems and then provide them with appropriate instruction at the core level and intervention so that we can meet both their instructional needs while we’re weaving in the social-emotional growth.

A big kudos to all the states who have already put forth the legislation that allows for early screenings for dyslexia and Child Find. It is wonderful to be able to put those early screening measures in place. But, we also need to take it a step farther. If you have the early screenings in place but not the next steps to intervene, there is really no point in screening. You know there is something wrong but not what to do. So, early screening and appropriate instruction and intervention really go hand in hand.   

To wrap things up. 

If you are looking for actionable steps to support your child or a student with dyslexia...  

  • Start saying dyslexia. 
  • Start asking questions and speaking up for early screenings with appropriate instruction and intervention.   

And as we continue to provide resources, blog posts, and podcast episodes for all of you, we will be diving deeper into how we can address social-emotional learning with our dyslexic learners in a way that builds their metacognitive skills in a way that address both their academics and emotional needs.     

For more actionable steps you can take to support your child with dyslexia, check out our latest episode of Together in Literacy. If you like what you hear, don’t forget to rate, leave a positive review, and subscribe!

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