Most teachers and parents delay evaluating students for dyslexia, or other learning disabilities, because they think children will outgrow whatever reading and spelling difficulties they have. This is not true. The Connecticut Longitudinal Study demonstrated that 3 out of 4 students who struggle with reading and spelling in elementary school, continue to struggle as they get older. By high school, these students’ difficulties can no longer be overlooked. Without early identification and early intervention, these students will continue to struggle into adulthood.
Early intervention programs should be researched based and contain the following:
- Systematic, explicit, and intensive instruction in phoneme awareness-identifying and manipulation the sounds in our spoken language.
- Systematic, explicit, and intensive instruction in phonics- how letters and groups of letters make sounds in our spoken language.
- Systematic, explicit, and intensive instruction in decoding, spelling, sight words, vocabulary words, and reading comprehension strategies.
It is crucial that any early intervention is systematic, explicit, and intensive instruction. This means that there are no quick fixes. Parents and teachers must be committed to an intense intervention program. Early intervention leads more towards a preventative model of intervention as opposed to remedial intervention.
There is no better advocate for a child than their parent. If your child is struggling, do some research into dyslexia. If you suspect that your child has dyslexia, insist on an evaluation from the school. If diagnosed with dyslexia, ask what intervention is used. Do your research and if you are not satisfied with the intervention your school provides, seek out tutoring that is geared to provide explicit, systematic, and intensive phonics instruction.