As a parent of three children with dyslexia, I have faced many of the challenges common to caregivers of a youth with dyslexia.
One of the biggest challenges I faced was navigating school special education to provide access to a free education appropriate to my students’ learning style. All students have a right to Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) through Federal Law. My kids were not learning how to read in the classroom, and the school didn’t seem to be doing anything. Oregon legislation has changed since my kids first started school, and schools are required to do more to address dyslexia. But is it enough? You may have to advocate for the youth in your life.
Things to consider...
- Research has shown that individuals with learning disabilities:
- may experience increased levels of anxiety.
- may be at greater risk for depression.
- experience higher levels of loneliness.
- may have a lower self-concept (self-esteem).
- are at greater risk for substance abuse.
- may be at greater risk for juvenile delinquency.
- 20 percent of children with dyslexia also suffer from depression and another 20 percent suffer from an anxiety disorder.
- Percent of adults in custody with dyslexia: 48%
- Percent of adolescents with learning disabilities that will be arrested three to five years out of high school: 31%
These facts are alarming. But there is good news … intervention helps! When modern, research based instruction is put into place in grades K-2, the reading disability rate drops.
Knowing where to go or who to talk to get an assessment for dyslexia can be difficult. Many states have passed legislation to identify dyslexia in children early on. If you aren’t in school or you feel that your school is missing something, check out our Uncovering Dyslexia blog post, which points to places in Multnomah County who will privately assess for dyslexia.
Resources for families affected by dyslexia
- FactOregon can be your biggest ally. They provide parent education through web training in English and in Spanish to help parents navigate the school’s special education system.
- Decoding Dyslexia Oregon Chapter Resource List
- Online support groups for families:
- School districts' special education links:
- Centennial Public School District Special Education
- Corbett School District Special Education
- David Douglas Student Services Special Education
- Gresham Barlow Assessment and Evaluation Team
- Multnomah Education Service District Student Services: Special Education
- Parkrose School District Special Education
- Portland Public Schools Special Education
- Reynolds Special Education Services
- Riverdale Grade School Special Education
- Multnomah County Library's partnership with Bookshare. Free to patrons with print disabilities, one can customize their reading experience with audio, audio + highlighted text and other formats. Adults with a library card can get free access through the library. Students can get access through their school.
Looking for books to share with your family? Here are some fiction books for kids and teens featuring characters with dyslexia, and here are some nonfiction books on dyslexia written for kids. For more information on dyslexia, including some book recommendations for caregivers, please see our previous post on Uncovering Dyslexia.