Happy Cheetah Reading

What Is Dyslexia?

Q & A with Dr. Karen


What is dyslexia?


The medical definition of dyslexia is actually auditory processing.  It is rooted in the language center of the brain and is very developmental.  It’s not unusual for as many as one in five children to lag behind while their neurology is catching up with their body. (Some children walk at nine months and others at fifteen months.)  ‘Body clocks’ cannot be altered. Happily, there is NO correlation to IQ!


Children that lag behind in auditory processing sometimes have trouble matching sounds to the corresponding letters, hearing rhymes, clapping syllables, retrieving sounds and words they know, and often have delayed or unclear speech.  Sometimes they have a lot of trouble holding their pencil properly and writing.


Over time these kids catch up, but often not until the age of nine or later.  Because it’s neurological, there isn’t a lot we can do to rush the growth.


What we CAN do is immerse these children in language. Read delightful stories daily, teach nursery rhymes, let them practice letters and numbers orally and on a dry erase board, give them opportunities to narrate what they’ve learned, and provide them with a listening device so they can listen, listen, listen to great books. 


Remember to talk SLOWER, NOT LOUDER!! They are s l o w  processors! Do all your subjects (especially reading and math) as kinesthetically as possible.  Use copy work to reinforce the new stories they’re working on and use letter boxes to teach the sounds because they don’t feel so overwhelming.


Teach new concepts in bite sized chunks and keep lessons SHORT! Remember to teach ONE concept at a time. Don’t overwhelm them with a lot of memory work.  They overload fast!  Let them read new stories over and over.  It creates fluency, automaticity, and builds myelin on those neurological pathways.


Do NOT label your child ‘dyslexic’ It often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Don’t teach reading with rules. They’ll forget them or dump them the first time the brain sees a ‘rule breaker.’  Keep lessons short and fun so they’ll be willing to come back again soon.

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