Welcome to the Wee Speech Parent Podcast Series. This series is designed to aid parents
understanding of communication development, treatment and other topics related to speech
My name is Kate Connolly. I am an ASHA certified pediatric speech and language pathologist.
During this podcast segment I will be addressing how dyslexia impacts children in school.
It is important to start with the reminder that dyslexia is a disability that is neurologically based
and wasn’t caused by anything. There is absolutely no correlation to intelligence or cognition –
kids with dyslexia are just as bright as their peers.
That said, reading is something your brain has to really work at because there is so much
required all at once. The brain has to process the letter that you see, connected with that
sound, while scanning forward to the next letter and on and on. It’s a huge amount of activity
for your brain to work with at once.
For individuals with dyslexia, the breakdown is typically in the connections and speed that the
brain needs to complete all those steps. The phonological awareness piece is much more
difficult for these individuals which, in turn, makes each of these processes in reading longer
and more complicated.
For those kids in the 2nd and 3rd grade levels in particular, I’ve seen a lot of these difficulties
becoming more significant as the trouble with reading starts to spill over into some other
subjects. Math, which used to be a stronger area, now has word problems which are trouble
areas. Now the new academic material is taught through text, as opposed to verbal instruction,
so textbooks are now expected to be a source for information for all other subjects. Often,
when allocating so many resources to trying to read a sentence, the child just doesn’t have the
ability to hold onto that information they just read for processing so they have trouble
comprehending what they read. It can be very tricky.
So that brings us to what parents can do to help and there are lots of ways to support your
child. Do your research on the IDEA laws and how to best support the teachers and staff in your
child’s school. Some important things to cover with the school district might be:
accommodations for teaching new material verbally, verbally testing on material, and
decreasing the reading/writing demands on the student.
As for some ideas for home, encouraging reading for fun is important for exposing new
vocabulary and developing critical thinking skills. This can be very tricky to encourage for
someone who finds reading harder, especially if their reading level is lower than the type of
reading material they are interested in. Make sure to pick books that your child finds appealing
and, if the text is too tricky, read aloud to them, even with older children. It is still an extremely
beneficial activity, regardless of age. These days, audiobooks are easily accessible online or
through your local library and they are great for age-appropriate reading exposure. There are
also lots of apps out there designed specifically for “the catch-up reader” and may be
motivating for your child. Anything you can do to exposure your child to literature as best you
Thank you for listening to this podcast.
If you would like additional information on this or other speech and language topics, please see
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and our speech and language column. Please join us on FB for daily updates and speech and
language related news.
Impact of Dyslexia in School Podcast
- There is no “cause” of dyslexia and there is no correlation with intelligence.
- Reading is a very complex activity and requires multiple processes to interact
- What happens with dyslexia?
o The breakdown occurs in the connection and processing speed of those
o The phonological awareness/processing that comes naturally with time to the
average reader is much more difficult in individuals with dyslexia.
o Second and third grade students will feel the impact of dyslexia increase as the
academic settings requires increased use of reading/writing across subjects:
Math begins to use word problems.
New academic material is taught through text, rather than through verbal
Reading comprehension can be impaired secondary to the need to
allocate most of their concentration to reading, rather than
processing/synthesizing the information they’ve read.
- What can parents do to help?
o Research IDEA laws to better advocate for your child. See the link in my
o Possible accommodations:
Teaching new material verbally
Verbal testing on material
Decreasing the reading/writing demands on the student
o Encourage reading for fun to support vocabulary development and critical
Choose books the child is interested in, even if the text is above his/her
Read aloud to your child, regardless of age.
Audiobooks are available online and through your local library.
Explore some “catch-up reading” apps. See the link in my Resources
US Department of Education IDEA Law http://idea.ed.gov/
The International Dyslexia Association http://www.interdys.org/
Possible Therapy Approaches for Dyslexia:
- Lindamood Bell http://www.lindamoodbell.com/
- Orton Gillingham Program http://www.orton-gillingham.com/
- Wilson Language Training http://www.wilsonlanguage.com/
Literacy Apps for Struggling Readers