Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that makes it more challenging for children to learn to read and become skilled readers. The dyslexic child mainly has trouble decoding or fluently reading words. Additionally, dyslexia often manifests with other symptoms such as struggles with spelling, writing, and pronouncing words.
A Reading Disability, however, is when a child struggles with any of the following areas: basic skills, reading comprehension, and/or reading fluency. A child who struggles with basic skills may have trouble learning letters and their matching sounds, for instance. A child who struggles with reading comprehension may have trouble answering questions about text or summarizing what they read. A student who struggles with reading fluency may read very slowly, with a lot of effort, and/or with many word errors; this last type of student would also likely be dyslexic .
Frequently Asked Questions
Can an Speech Language Pathologist diagnose dyslexia? How can an SLP help treat my child with dyslexia?
Speech Language Pathologists have expertise in all areas of language including semantics (vocabulary), syntax (sentence structure), morphology (word parts), and phonology (sounds). An in-depth language & literacy evaluation can determine what areas your child needs to work on and if oral language deficits are a part of your child’s reading struggles. Speech language therapists can also diagnose dyslexia per the official guidance of the American Speech & Hearing Association.
Speech language therapists also are familiar with the special education process in schools and can provide guidance and support to help your child succeed in the classroom.
Will therapy for my child's dyslexia be covered by insurance?
A child who has oral language deficits and a diagnosed language disorder is more likely to be covered for therapy services that include reading, writing, & spelling (assuming that your current insurance provides some coverage for language disorders and impairments). A child who does not have a language disorder is less likely to have dyslexia services and treatments covered by insurance. It is best to call your insurance provider and learn more about your child’s coverage.
What literacy programs are appropriate and beneficial for a dyslexic child?
A child with dyslexia needs a systemic, explicit, and evidence-based reading intervention to target underlying deficits. No packaged program is perfectly tailored to your child; rather, a comprehensive evaluation should reveal your child’s areas of weakness and target those accordingly. Common areas targeted include phonological awareness, morpheme learning, and syllable segmentation.
Can my child get a dyslexia diagnosis in a Pennsylvania school?
Currently, Pennsylvania students who have significant reading impairments fall under the disability classification of “Specific Learning Disability in Reading.” Dyslexia is not a separate educational disability in PA.
My child is struggling to understand what he or she reads, is that dyslexia?
It depends on what is causing your child to struggle with comprehension. Is your child reading slowly, laboriously, or making many errors in decoding words? This may be dyslexia. If your child reads fluently but has more difficulty with vocabulary, sentence structure, inferences, or other elements of reading then he or she may have an oral language impairment. Often, children struggle with several combinations of the above and therefore have both impairments or disabilities.
Can my child's dyslexia be cured?
Dyslexia is a lifelong condition caused by the neurological makeup of one’s brain so it cannot be cured; however, certain interventions and supports can help a dyslexic child succeed in school and beyond. Dyslexic children can still grow to enjoy reading as well!