Deciphering Dyslexia

Karen Uhl is from Northfield Ohio. Reading came easily to her oldest daughter and son.

UHL: Harry Potter taught my second child. And my first child, we had some cool books, she liked the fantasy/science fiction and she zoomed off…

But this wasn't the case for her youngest. Around second grade, Karen remembers seeing the results from state testing, and

UHL: And they showed her reading between 11-24% and that turned all the alarm bells on.

Uhl’s daughter, now in fifth grade, has dyslexia.

This affects her ability to read, write, and spell. Her brain doesn't process written material in the usual way. But it doesn't affect her intelligence.

UHL: She's not getting the grades for what she knows.

It can be frustrating for people with dyslexia because their condition is often missed or teachers don't know how to adapt lesson plans.

UHL: I don't say she's stupid--but that's always in the foremost of her head.

Without recognition and help, this feeling can derail a student from learning and engaging at school.
And dyslexia is more common than you might think.

KRNAC: It's 1 in 5.

Vicki Krnac is a language therapist and the conference organizer.

Experts generally agree that ten to twenty percent of the population has some degree of dyslexia.

KRNAC: These are bright kids that slip through the cracks and could benefit from specific instruction.

This kind of instruction could make use of all the senses, such as having kids associate movement with sound. Krnac gives an example:

KRNAC: If you had maybe a first grader that was having difficulty sounding out a word, they could tap it on their fingers and tell you the sounds, so UM AH T and then blend the sounds together, MAT.

Ohio just passed two bills last December that will help identify and properly educate students with dyslexia.

The state will pilot a program to screen kindergartners for the condition, and elementary school teachers will learn strategies for working with dyslexic students in the classroom.

Research shows that early intervention can have a dramatic effect on a kid’s education.

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