Sunday, December 8, 2013

Why Bother Testing for Dyslexia in High School or College?

           While it is shocking to most people that one out of five children is dyslexic, it is even more surprising that less than 30% of these children are ever identified. It is not uncommon for people to find out that they are dyslexic once they're in high school or even college. Some people find out once they are adults and have children who are diagnosed with dyslexia. This is probably because dyslexics have an average to above average IQ  and they have learned to accommodate in life and because schools are not  identifying these children.
  My older brother diagnosed himself dyslexic in college. During this time my family was learning about dyslexia and worried about me. My brother recognized the signs and said,  “Why are you so worried about Joshua because I am dyslexic too?”  It took my parents many months before they recognized that he probably was dyslexic and never identified. He had delayed speech as a toddler and had speech therapy for a speech disfluency as a preschooler. In kindergarten, his report card said that he lacked  phonemic awareness. Although he was an honor student in high school, he had difficulty in learning Spanish.  My parents finally agreed to have my brother tested before his sophomore year in college if he was willing to use any accommodations for which he might qualify. My brother was right and he is dyslexic. He was extremely fortunate because he had Orton Gillingham in kindergarten through third grade.  My brother graduated from college last May and is now in graduate school. He has accommodations for extra time on his tests and he gets a separate quiet room for tests, like me.

According to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, slow reading and writing is the primary symptom for dyslexia in an accomplished young adult. They explained that,  “In children, the phonetical  weakness affects reading accuracy; over time, accomplished dyslexic adults learn to read a core of words accurately. In bright young adults the phonemic weakness affects the speed of reading.”

Many people wonder how important it is for a student to be identified in high school or college. It is very important. According to Dr. Shaywitz of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, “ Far and away the most critical accommodation for the dyslexic reader is the provision of extra time. Dyslexia robs a person of time; accommodations return it.”  Dyslexic students need extra time on tests to achieve their potential. They also require these accommodations to be successful on college entrance exams. Teachers and students that help identify dyslexic students have the potential to forever change a student’s life. Identification provides a student with accommodations and accommodates a dyslexic student to achieve their full potential.

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