Uncovering Dyslexia

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a neurological difference often characterized by difficulties with reading, writing and spelling. It may run in the families and cannot be “cured.” Individuals with this condition must learn coping strategies.

Dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence. With the right instruction, almost all individuals with dyslexia can learn to read.  A multi-sensory, phonics based approach is often the best way to help kids learn to read. The Orton-Gillingham, Barton System and/or Lindamood-Bell programs are well known programs that work.

This great Ted-Ed talk provides an overview of dyslexia.

What should I look for?

Decoding Dyslexia offers these early signs of dyslexia:

  • Late speech (3 years or later)
  • Mixing up sounds in multi-syllable words (e.g. bisghetti, aminal, mazageen)
  • Inability to rhyme by age 4
  • Difficulty with substitutions, omissions and deletions
  • Unusual pencil grip
  • Difficulty remembering rote facts (months of the year, days of the week)
  • Confusion of left vs. right  

One of the biggest challenges of dyslexia is counteracting shame caused by teasing and misunderstanding. Children are often teased because they can’t read as well as others. Teachers may say things like “she’s a slow reader” in front of the child or parents. Kids know what “slow” means and they often grow up believing they are “stupid” and/or “lazy.”

Headstrong Nation’s Learn the Facts wants you to know the facts, help your child recognize her/his strengths and weaknesses, learn how to talk about it with trusted friends and family and eventually, be comfortable sharing one’s real self with the world.

Dyslexia Assessment in Multnomah County

Oregon Senate Bills 612 and 1003 require school districts to universally screen for risk factors of dyslexia in kindergarten. The Oregon Department of Education provides guidance and training for districts and educators. If you or your child aren't in school or you feel the school is missing something, here are a few of the many assessment and intervention providers in the County.

The Blosser Center - Accredited by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, the Blosser Center provides assessment, tutoring and teacher training.

Language Skills Therapy - Provides assessment and tutoring

New Leaves Clinic - Provides assessment and treatment in Hillsboro, Oregon

PDX Reading Specialist, LLC​ - Provides assessment, tutoring, advocacy and professional development

How the library can help

There are three valid types of reading: with your eyes (print & video), with your ears (audiobooks), and with your fingers (Braille).  

Audiobooks

Typically easier for someone with dyslexia, the library has thousands of audiobooks on CD and in downloadable formats for people who read with their ears. Library information staff can help you find and use audiobooks.

DVD/Blu-ray and streaming

The library has thousands of DVDs, Blu-ray and downloadable films for people who read with eyes and ears. Library information staff can help you find and use these media.

E-books

E-books are available to borrow through OverDrive to read on your desktop or with the Libby app. Accessibility options include using screen readers, changing text size, turning on dyslexic font, reading in sepia or night mode, and more. When searching for a subject, you can also look for the format "OverDrive Read-along" which provides narration that plays along while you read. The OverDrive help page explains how to find these read-along books and library staff can help as well.

Additional resources

Bookshare e-books have functions for people with print disabilities, including low vision, dyslexia and the inability to hold a physical book. Adults with a library card can get free access through the library. Students can get access through their school.

The Oregon Talking Book and Braille Library is free for any Oregonian with a print-disability including dyslexia or dysphasia.

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