Middle school-level red flags
These may include:

  • lack of awareness of word structure and of knowledge of prefixes and suffixes to support reading
  • lack of smoothness or fluency when reading aloud
  • difficulty with reading comprehension and learning new information from text
  • difficulty learning new vocabulary or a foreign language
    better performance on oral exams than on written, timed tests
  • avoidance of reading for pleasure or reading aloud

High school-level red flags
These may include:

  • childhood history of reading or spelling difficulties because these can persist over time
  • a tendency to read with a great effort at a slower pace
  • continued avoidance of reading for pleasure
  • difficulty taking notes in lecture-based classes
  • sacrificing their social lives for studying

Appropriate accommodations, especially in the upper grade levels, could include more time on tests and assignments and access to audiobooks, speech to text, scribes, and notes.

At any grade level, it is a good idea for parents to keep a homework log that documents each piece of homework, how long it takes the student, and how much support the parent had to provide. This can provide insight into issues that educators cannot see when a student turns in completed homework.

Ultimately, for those students who continue to have difficulties, educators should consider why they are still struggling year after year. Are they poor responders, or is it poor intervention? Is it the student or the teaching? To help these students, educators must believe that students can learn and want to learn about their own language, and of course, be on the lookout for red flags to make sure the student is getting the explicit, structured instruction they need.

About the Presenters
Kelli Sandman-Hurley, Ed.D., is an author and co-founder of the Dyslexia Training Institute. She is a certified special education advocate assisting parents and children through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and 504 Plan process. She has studied Structured Word Inquiry, the Orton-Gillingham approach, Lindamood-Bell, RAVE-O, and Read Naturally. Sandman-Hurley is a past president of the San Diego branch of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and is currently a writer-at-large for IDA. She is a dyslexia consultant working with schools to improve services offered to students with dyslexia and training teachers. She co-created and produced Dyslexia for a Day: A Simulation of Dyslexia, and she is a frequent speaker at conferences. She is also the author of the well-received book, Dyslexia Advocate! How to Advocate for a Child with Dyslexia within the public education system and the upcoming Dyslexia and Spelling: Making Sense of it All.

Tracy Block-Zaretsky is a co-founder of the Dyslexia Training Institute. She has provided remediation for children and adults with dyslexia for the past 20 years and has developed and taught workplace and family literacy programs. She is a certified special education advocate assisting parents and children through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and 504 Plan process. She is a past president of the San Diego branch of the International Dyslexia Association. Block-Zaretsky has training in Structured Word Inquiry, the Orton-Gillingham approach, Lindamood-Bell programs, Read Naturally, and a variety of reading and writing assessments. She co-created and produced, Dyslexia for a Day: A Simulation of Dyslexia, and has provided professional development for educators and training for parents at numerous conferences, private on-site trainings and online courses and webinars. She is a parent of a child with dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADD, and Executive Function Disorder.

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Watch out for these red flags to help identify #dyslexia #specialneeds #reading

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