You Asked! Question 7

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Q7:  My student’s reading is slow but accurate. However, his/her spelling is extremely poor.  Is the school required to consider deficits in spelling in assessing for Special Education eligibility? Can he/she still be dyslexic?

A:  California criteria specifically states that an impaired ability to read, write or spell should be considered in determining whether a student has a Specific Learning Disability for purposes of determining Special Education eligibility (Source: CA Education Code Section 56337(a)).

Almost all people with developmental reading or language disabilities have great difficulty spelling. In the definition of dyslexia, people with the condition known as dyslexia are noted to have “conspicuous” problems with spelling and writing. People can also have specific spelling disabilities — that is, they can be poor spellers, even though they are pretty good readers.  (Source:  The International Dyslexia Association).  To download a complete copy of the International Dyslexia Association’s Fact Sheet on Spelling, click HERE.

Also note that while reading “accuracy is critical early on, the ability to read fluently gains in importance as the child matures. A child who reads accurately but not fluently is dyslexic”. (Source:  Shaywitz, S. E. (2003). Overcoming dyslexia: A new and complete science-based program for reading problems at any level. Knopf, page 133)

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You Asked! Question 2

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Q2:  My student is dyslexic.  The IEP team recommendation was for my student to “read more at home” but no evidence-based reading intervention was offered through school.  Will having my student read more at home help his dyslexia?

A:  It depends on what areas your dyslexic child is struggling and what they are reading.  For example, if your dyslexic child is struggling with phonemic awareness and decoding issues, they need to receive an evidence-based multisensorydirect, explicit, structured and sequential approach to reading intervention. Some reading interventions will have a student read “controlled text” passages.  These passages would only include words for decoding skills the student is currently learning. “Controlled text” reading is helpful as it is closely aligned to the evidence-based reading intervention.  Having your child do independent reading that is not aligned with their evidence-based program can cause added confusion for your child and may actually delay their reading progress. “Read more at home” will not teach a dyslexic child how to read.

It should be noted that reading out loud to your child (or providing access to audiobooks) at grade level (or above) is helpful as it exposes your child to grade level content and vocabulary that they would not be exposed to if they are unable to read at grade level.

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