Sunday, August 26, 2018

Mayo clinic – “Dyslexia is a reading disability”.

Here is a link to the book above 

Here is an extract of what was published on an online newspaper and my comments. You may read the whole article here.

Ms Mecca is leading a group she states numbers more than two dozen district parents — most, if not all, of whom have sought or are seeking expanded services from administrators because their children are exhibiting signs of, or have been diagnosed with, dyslexia.
According to the Mayo Clinic, dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding). Also called reading disability, dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process language.

My comment: Is dyslexia really a learning disorder involving difficulty involving speech sounds? What study was done to prove that dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process languages?
I am sure there are a few kids who have a phonological awareness deficit and therefore have difficulty involving speech sounds. However, do such kids comprise the 20 to 30 % of children who have difficulty reading in English?

If dyslexia does affect areas of the brain that process language then how is it that many so-called dyslexics are able to read in many other languages? What about the kids who can speak in many languages including English but are unable to read in English? Can we say they have a difficulty processing language/s?

People with dyslexia have normal intelligence and usually have normal vision, the clinic’s website states.

If the above statement is true then how do we reconcile this with another report by the same Mayo Clinic that says that kids cannot read due to ‘eye divergence’?

Also, refer to my post at

How do we reconcile this with another study which says that French Scientists have discovered that cause of dyslexia may lie in the eyes?

Most children with dyslexia can succeed in school with tutoring or a specialized education program, as well as empathetic emotional support. Although the clinic’s site says there is no cure for dyslexia, it affirms that early assessment and intervention result in the best outcome.

 My comment: 

  • Why would a dyslexic succeed in school with tutoring? 
  • Why does he end up in these remediation classes in the first place? 
  • What could have been done to prevent such kids entering specialized education programme? 

 The answers to all the above questions can be found in my book ‘Shut down kids’.

Between 2007 and 2017, the district has experienced a fluctuation in its special education student population from a low of 430 in 2012, to a high of 572 in 2017. Conversely, since Newtown began formally accounting for students with Dyslexia in 2015 — when Connecticut added the category to IEPs — the district has only identified eight students with the learning disorder.

My comment: “The district has only identified eight students with the learning disorder”. Yes, this figure appears more accurate. What percentage would eight out of a few thousand be? These 8 students could be the truly dyslexic with phonological awareness deficit and visual acuity problems.

Illiteracy will never be reduced if we continue to dump all kids who cannot read as ‘dyslexic’ when in fact a majority of kids classified as dyslexic are instructional casualties.

In a statement to the school board and shared with the newspaper, Ms Heizler-Mendoza said her eight-year-old son has been diagnosed with severe dyslexia.
“He is a bright, empathic kid who volunteers at a dog rescue and wants to be at scientist,” Ms Heizler-Mendoza related.
But on a daily basis, she says her child expresses extreme stress and frustration, saying things like: “Mommy, I am stupid. I am an idiot. How come I try so hard and cannot read? I have been trying for years. Kids in my class laugh at me. School is too hard. I don’t want to go to cub scouts because I have to read. I hate school. Why do other kids get to move their seats in the classroom and I do not. I have a stomach ache, headache, foot ache, etc. The little kids in camp laugh at me since I cannot read.”

My comment: Yes, I have heard the same from parents of my students. My first student had asked many times over the first year if I think he is stupid. He stopped asking that question when he was able to read.

The answer to “How come I try so hard and cannot read?” is addressed and explained clearly in my book, ‘Shut down kids’.

Ms Heizler-Mendoza said her child is reading at barely a first grade level as he enters third grade this fall, and she blames “sub-optimal services from the Newtown School District. Ironically, she said it was his first grade teacher who flagged her child’s inability to read within his first week of school.

My comment: I am now teaching a child who is in grade 3 and her brother in grade 5 who could hardly read a sentence in English when they came to me for private tuition on a one on one basis. Now after 15 lessons both of them can read and will be able to read at grade level within the next 2 months.

Yes, a first-grade teacher should be able to flag a child who is unable to read at grade level within 3 months of attending grade one.

Ms. Heizler-Mendoza said over the course of the last year’s PPT meetings regarding her child, she has encountered a number of issues with the Newtown Special Education Department and has “asked for assistance from the teachers, as well as our superintendent, without success.”

My comment: Yesterday (25.8.2018), I wrote an email to the editor of the above newspaper and hope she will respond. I have written to no less than 50 editors of newspapers in the last one year that carried news on dyslexia but have had no response from anyone at all. I pray that this editor will respond so that we may together reduce illiteracy.

1 comment:

Luqman Michel said...

The above was written by a Mayo Clinic staff.
Here are some extracts:

Factors that might influence the development of learning disorders include:
Genetic, Medical conditions and environmental exposure says the article.

However, there is no mention of the main reason for kids being unable to read. The main reason is poor instruction in schools.
Children taught correctly in kindergarten and in the early primary will be able to read at grade level.

The treatment options at the bottom of the article is a must-read.

I copy it in full here as it might disappear from the site:
If your child has a learning disorder, your child's doctor or school might recommend:
• Extra help. A reading specialist, math tutor or other trained professional can teach your child techniques to improve his or her academic skills. Tutors can also teach children organizational and study skills.
• Individualized education program (IEP). Your child's school might develop an IEP for your child to create a plan for how he or she can best learn in school. Find out if your state has legislation regarding IEPs.
• Therapy. Depending on the learning disorder, some children might benefit from therapy. For example, speech therapy can help children who have language disabilities. Occupational therapy might help improve the motor skills of a child who has writing problems.
• Medication. Your child's doctor might recommend medication to lessen the toll of a learning disorder. If your child has depression or severe anxiety, certain medications might help. Talk to your child's doctor about the risks and benefits.
• Complementary and alternative medicine. Some research shows that complementary and alternative treatments, such as music therapy, can benefit children who have learning disorders. Further research is needed, however.
Before your child's treatment begins, you and your child's doctor, teachers or therapists will set goals for your child. If over time, little progress is made, your child's diagnosis or treatment plans might need to be reconsidered.
While learning disorders can cause long-term problems, there's hope. Early intervention and treatment can fully remediate some learning disorders. Family and teachers can also help children who have persistent difficulties achieve success in school, as well as in other areas of life.