Tag Archives: dyslexia

Reading Disorders… Beyond Dyslexia

Dyslexia is often misunderstood and is used as a catch-all term for reading disorders. However, other lesser-known reading disorders often mimic dyslexia, such as Specific Reading Comprehension Deficits (S-RCD). While people with dyslexia struggle to sound out words and often confuse letters, people with S-RCD can decode words but struggle to understand what they read.

In an interview, celebrity Jennifer Aniston shared that she grew up believing she was stupid, revealing that she was finally diagnosed with dyslexia at age 20.  Other celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg and Tom Cruise also revealed they were diagnosed with dyslexia. It is very common for dyslexia not to be discovered until adulthood; therefore, people grow up with low self-esteem thinking they aren’t smart and that something is wrong with them. Yet according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there’s no correlation between dyslexia and intelligence. Many people diagnosed with this disorder have normal or above-average intelligence.

S-RCD often goes undiagnosed until it becomes an unavoidable problem. According to Neuroscience News, “Neuroimaging of children showed that the brain function of those with S-RCD while reading is quite different and distinct from those with dyslexia. Those with dyslexia exhibited abnormalities in a specific region in the occipital-temporal cortex, a part of the brain that is associated with successfully recognizing words on a page.”

A few months ago, the Mississippi Board of Education notified 5,612 third grade students that they failed to pass the reading test that would allow them to enter the fourth grade. While some deemed the test unfair, Governor Bryant believes that taking a tough stance is the best course of action in the long run, crediting his own fourth grade teacher with discovering that his reading disability was caused by dyslexia, and helping him overcome it. “Repeating the third grade was the best thing that ever happened to me,” the governor said.

Because of its prominence in the news, dyslexia often overshadows other reading disorders. In schools, it is necessary to break down reading disabilities, or learning disabilities in general, and match the disability with intervention strategies to assist the student. Once the underlying causes of reading disabilities are understood, school personnel can use their knowledge to help students understand their strengths and weaknesses regarding reading and language.

What do you think? PAR wants to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

The Feifer Assessment of Reading: Brain Science and the Response-to-Intervention Approach

What does the science of cognitive neuropsychology—brain research—have to say about why kids struggle to read? Plenty! But it can be very time-consuming for busy professionals to sift through the research, assess kids’ brain functioning, and choose interventions that target their specific needs. This is where the Feifer Assessment of Reading™ (FAR™), a new product from PAR, can help.

The FAR was developed using a brain-based educational model of reading. Research using neuroimaging techniques has clearly shown that specific neural networks in the brain are associated with different aspects of the reading process, such as phonemic awareness, fluency, decoding, and comprehension. This means that interventions for reading disorders vary depending on the specific dyslexic subtype of the individual reader.

Reading expert Dr. Steven Feifer developed the FAR to identify the four most common dyslexic subtypes: dysphonetic dyslexia, surface dyslexia, mixed dyslexia, and reading comprehension deficit. Comprising 15 subtests to measure highly differentiated aspects of reading, the FAR generates five index scores:

  • the Phonological Index, including phonemic awareness, decoding, and positioning sounds;
  • the Fluency Index, including orthographic processing plus both visual perception and verbal fluency;
  • the Comprehension Index, including semantic concepts, word recall, and morphological processing;
  • the Mixed Index (a composite of Phonological and Fluency Index scores); and
  • the FAR Total Index (a composite of all subtest scores).

Clearly, the science is there. But many districts use a Response to Intervention (RTI) approach, with teams of educators planning interventions for kids and monitoring progress to see what’s been most effective. Where does brain science come into play?

RTI is about looking at the evidence—the individual student’s reading behaviors—and designing interventions that address his or her specific needs. Evidence-based interventions require evidence-based assessments. The FAR allows practitioners to conduct an in-depth assessment that provides information about how a child learns and processes information—not a label.

The RTI approach has many strengths, but often it is not sufficient on its own to identify or diagnose a learning disability. Also, remediation strategies are too often “one size fits all” when they haven’t taken into account the reasons behind a student’s reading difficulties. The FAR can support RTI by identifying learning disabilities, thereby reducing the risk of delaying diagnosis or denying students’ eligibility for much-needed services. The included Screening Form is perfect for a quick assessment of student progress—it takes just 15 minutes to complete.

The FAR is designed to integrate cognitive neuropsychology research into the RTI approach, supporting RTI while filling some of the gaps—especially in terms of dyslexia identification and differentiation—that RTI can miss. The FAR offers solutions for school psychologists, reading specialists, and teachers—and most importantly, the potential for real improvements in student reading.

To learn more about the FAR, visit www.parinc.com.

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Now available… The Feifer Assessment of Reading!

PAR is pleased to announce the release of the Feifer Assessment of Reading™ (FAR™) by Steven G. Feifer, DEd. This comprehensive test is designed to help identify specific reading disorder subtypes so clients can individualize a child’s education plan with interventions targeted to that child’s needs.

  • Based on the author’s neurodevelopmental theory of reading, which maps reading disorders to specific neural pathways in different regions of the brain.
  • Aids diagnosis by generating index scores for four dyslexic subtypes: dysphonetic dyslexia, surface dyslexia, mixed dyslexia, and reading comprehension deficits.
  • Puts the I back in IEP by directly informing intervention decisions; helps educators develop customized learning goals and objectives.
  • Features colorful, engaging, and unique item content.
  • Offers norms based on a diverse standardization sample of 1,074 individuals.
  • In just 15 minutes, the Screening Form can identify those who may be at risk for a reading disorder.
  • Can be used by professionals qualified to diagnose reading disorders and by teachers qualified to screen students for reading difficulties, develop individualized interventions, and monitor progress.
  • Includes a Fast Guide, a quick-start manual that will help you get up to speed on the FAR in minutes.
  • Scoring will soon be available on PARiConnect. Free on-demand, training is coming soon to the PAR Training Portal!

For more information on the FAR, visit the product page.

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Help for Dyslexics: A New Font Makes Reading Easier

Christian Boer, a graphic designer from the Netherlands, has created a new font called Dyslexie that decreases the number of errors made by dyslexics while reading. As a student at the University of Twente, Boer developed the typeface as a way to address his own dyslexia; it later became his graduate school project.

The font works by changing the appearance of some letters of the alphabet that are commonly confused or reversed by dyslexics. For example, Boer has added weight to the bottom of the letters so that there is a sense of “gravity,” which helps readers avoid misconstruing similar letters such as “p” and “d.” Other changes include enlarging the opening of some letters such as “e” and “c,” and increasing the length of the descenders in letters like “g” and “y.” The space between letters and between words has been increased to allow readers more time to process information; punctuation is also more prominent.

Originally developed for the Dutch language, Boer has recently released the font in English, and U.S. users can purchase it online.

According to a recent article in Scientific American, a fellow student at the University of Twente has conducted an independent study and discovered “a significant reduction in reading errors by dyslexics when reading Dutch text typed in Dyslexie as opposed to the Arial font” (Scientific American online edition, October 26, 2011).

To see an example of Dyslexie and a short video about how it helps dyslexics to read more easily, visit Boer’s Web site, www.studiostudio.nl/project-dyslexie/, and click on the English language icon at the top of the page.

What do you think? Could a specially designed font help your dyslexic clients? Leave a comment—PAR wants to hear from you!

 

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone