I have chosen to do some research about a reading disorder called, dyslexia.
I believe this is a good topic for a student teacher so when the time finally arrives when we start teaching our own classes we have the ability to distinguish common problems with all types of students.
As I discovered whilst researching about this disability I have found many articles that link an uncanny correlation between the reading disorder and a behavioral disorder: ADD or ADHD (Attention deficit disorder or Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) I decided looked into this connection further, and try to learn what some local teachers thought of the connection and see if I could find some real life evidence. This is what I discovered and what I believe was my unprofessional opinion. I have also tried to find alternative teaching methods to help teachers with dyslexic students, which will one day probably help me as a teacher.
Truthfully, I had only heard about dyslexia on an old episode of the ‘Cosby Show’. The character Theo, the oldest son discovered he had the condition at the late age of 17. His teacher at his final year of high school and looked into his situation and discovered the problem, however what I was particularly baffled about was the way the family was so happy when they learnt of his diagnosis. I now have learnt that the family was relieved to find an actual problem with their son, as he did truly try to study and work hard at school even though he received poor results. Now that the ‘Huckstubles’ (The family) had found the problem, all that was left was the treatment. Although this scenario was fiction I’m sure this was also the case in many families around the globe.
First up on my list of discovering was what exactly dyslexia was. I learnt that
Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read. These individuals typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds) and/or rapid visual-verbal responding.*
Second step of my investigation was to interview some teachers that I knew.
I asked all my interviewee’s the same questions about dyslexia.
1. Have you ever taught a child with dyslexia?
2. Have you had colleague teach a student with dyslexia?
3. If yes to either # 1 and/or 2. How old was the child when diagnosed?
4. How did you or your colleague help this child with learning?
5. Do you believe in the correlation between dyslexia and ADD/ADHD?
Case Number #00001
Years of teaching experience: 27 years
Mrs. Pearce said no to question #1, 2, 3, 4 however voice her opinion about the diagnosis dyslexia. She believes that about 5 years ago children where diagnosed as a popular solution. Students with short attention spans, hyperactivity or misbehavior were passed on as dyslectic, basically the trend that is happening today with ADD and/or ADHD. Mrs. Pearce argues also that student that have been clearly diagnosed with dyslexia have also had learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and/or have frankly no been taught correctly.
Case Number #00002
Years of teaching experience: 11 years
Mrs. Katos said she did have a dyslexic child in her grade 2/3 class 3 years ago. He’s treatment was not a big part of her teaching methods as he had a specialist teacher come in 2 times a week. He was diagnosed early however a colleague of hers had a child who was diagnosed in grade 6. She commented on how late the diagnosis was and how his condition should have been picked up in kindergarten or prep. Mrs. Katos believes the connection between ADD and ADHD with dyslexia is rare as she argues that ADD and ADHD are conditions that are not likely to exist. She considers it as an excuse for bad behavior, lack of discipline and short attention span.
Case Number #00003
Years of teaching experience: 23 years
Mr. Davids is the principle at a school I run a sports program at. As I approached him on the topic he informed me that one of the prep students that I taught soccer to had this reading condition. As I knew the student and his mother reasonably well he suggested I talk to my pupils mum for the information and the ‘Real life case study’ I required.
Devon my very own RLCS, (Real Life Case Study) and I had formed a weird friendship. It consisted in me constantly yelling his name throughout the 1 hour lesson, and consistently asking him to sit still.
Case Number #00004
At the completion of this weeks lesson, I requested the opportunity to talk to Devon’s mother about he’s condition. She willingly accepted and gave me all the data I need from my RLCS.
1. Devon was diagnosed earlier this year. ( which is reasonable due to the fact that he is in prep)
2. Devon received special help from the specialist teacher at first 4 times a week and has recently reduced to 2.
3. His prep teacher this year was great help in diagnosing Devon with his condition
4. During the test to recognize his reading disability, doctors had also discovered he had ADHD.
5. His mum generally believe he’s misbehavior is a result in a lack of concentration due to his young age (he only turned 5 a month ago).
6. Finally he has improved in this work ethic and is starting to achieve the task of reading.
On the internet I found a study taken place on ‘psychopathology problems with specific reading disorders dyslexia and co-morbidity between ADD and ADHD’
This study comments on the significant correlation between the two disorders which varies from a range of 9% and 92%. Respectively approximately 46% of dyslexic children showed ADHD, whereas 35% of children with ADHA were also affected with dyslexia.***
However Devon is the life behind these facts and figures. He is the little boy struggling to keep up with his class, a struggle which will always be fought, managed better, but still fought.
Through my factual research and real life scenario, my nonprofessional opinion on the topic of correlation between these two unfortunate disorders is that closest to interviewee, Mrs. Pearce. I believe that dyslexia and ADHA are condition that lively exist, however I do not believe that real close examination between the two have been adequately justified.
I not sure whether a child with D. (dyslexia) just misbehaves and losses concentration simply because he doesn’t understand the work he has been given or read the writing on the board. And on the other had and excuse for not being able to behave reasonably or do the work required (ADHD) has anything to do with D. I believe that these conditions can cause children to act generally the same way, however I do not believe that the correlation between the two has been proven. Research is still underway with both these disorders (***) and I believe the information on two irrelevant conditions have a lot more research to be analysed.
Do your students often complain about the same things as the following sentences?
ï¿½ Not enough time to copy from the board.
ï¿½ I lose my place. I try hard but get lost. It takes me a long time to check nearly every word to find my place.
ï¿½ When my teacher checks my work I have lots of mistakes.
ï¿½ I don’t like having to stay in to finish copying from the board.
ï¿½ I can’t read the joined up writing, I don’t always know what letter to write.
ï¿½ I never know what I have written.
ï¿½ I can’t see the words on the whiteboard. They can move around and sometimes
* I see two words the same. **
The key to teaching with dyslexia is Confidence building.
The majority of children with dyslexia have come to the conclusion that they are stupid!
In any school in any week of the year a dyslexic child experiences a huge amount of failure. Why can’t he read and spell? He must be dumb, thick, and stupid. It’s the conclusion that anyone would reach in similar circumstances, and it badly needs changing before any corrective teaching is going to be effective. **
National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development have shown that for children with difficulties learning to read, a multi-sensory teaching method is the most effective teaching method**
My topic decision and data found (real life and figures) was really fate for this assignment. The coincidence was amazing! From watching a T.V program to an assignment all about dyslexia. The topic I have chosen is completely relevant for my personal teaching and learning. To be a teacher we must be able to help any sort of child, including children with reading, learning and/or behavioral disorders. Using any type of method, the underlying objective is to help our students learn. I myself am particularly interested in these types of disorders and I believe is important for all teachers to know about these conditions.
* http://dyslexia.org International dyslectic foundation.
** http://www.dyslexia-teacher.com – teaching points
*** http://www.lab-io.it/abstract/abs77.htm – Psychopathology Problems in Children with Specific Reading Disorder – journal article
**** Language development and disorders – proceedings A.C.S.T conference 1973. Wilke and company limited.