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Creativity and Dyslexia

creativity-and-dyslexia-blogDyslexics struggle with reading, writing, and spelling but they often excel in other areas. Many dyslexics gravitate towards to arts and prove to be very creative. There is currently no research proving the direct relationship between learning difficulties and creativity. However, this doesn’t mean that those with a learning disability don’t have high creative potential.

dyslexic child coloring with crayonsIt’s believed that artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso were dyslexics. It’s only natural to direct one’s attention and effort to an area that is gratifying and comes naturally, like artistic ability, rather than one that doesn’t, like reading. The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity reports high creativity in children and adults with dyslexia is merely a result of the dedication and time dyslexics spend exploring new methods of learning.

As we have seen with many famous dyslexics, their success comes from turning their “disadvantages” into their strengths and finding different and creative ways to problem solve and overcome difficulties. The same reason a dyslexic’s brain processes a <b> as a <d> by looking at the shape from all angles allows amazing artistic abilities to imagine and create an object from all angles as well. Furthermore, “most dyslexics tend to think in images as opposed to words, this is in part due to the activation of the portions of the brain” (Jones, 2016) that most adults often don’t use.  dyslexic child using their creativity with artAs a result, what others see as innovative or creative is second nature to a dyslexic.

People with dyslexia often have amazing language and communication talents that go way deeper than their word-reading and spelling disruptions.

Along these lines, I was excited to read about Voices of Dyslexia, a new online journal featuring creative work by people with dyslexia. The editors, Dana Guthrie Martin and Kristen McHenry, “are interested in publishing pieces that exemplify the creativity, artistry, and vision of dyslexics. The site accepts poetry, essays, interviews, academic work, audio recordings (of poetry, prose, interviews, conversations, and the like), musical compositions, images, and videos.”

To build a positive growth mindset around your child’s dyslexia you should encourage whatever interest they gravitate towards whether that be a creative expression or something else. Furthermore, you can increase your child’s future success by addressing their dyslexia now. Schedule a free consultation with one of our dyslexia therapist to learn more about our research-backed reading, writing, and spelling therapy.


References:

Jones, Rod. “Art and Dyslexia: The Picture-Perfect Combination?” Senior Artist. Senior Artist, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016. https://www.seniorartist.com/articles/art-and-dyslexia-the-picture-perfect-combination/

Links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soren-petersen/dyslexia-and-creativity_b_1531298.html

http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/1268/1298

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/22/autism-creative-thinking-study

Who is Qualified to Make a Dyslexia Diagnosis?

Who Is Qualified to Make a Dyslexia Diagnosis?

Guidance on Getting a Dyslexia Diagnosis

You may be concerned that your child is dyslexic. But who is qualified to make a dyslexia diagnosis? The school may be telling you one thing while your pediatrician is telling you another. So, who is eligible to diagnose dyslexia? The therapists at Lexercise are here with insight. 

Dyslexia Diagnosis Criteria from The NCLD 

Unfortunately, no federal law defines who can provide a formal dyslexia diagnosis. However, The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)  has advice on guidance about the diagnosis of dyslexia and the determination of a disability.  

The NCLD has provided the following guidance about who may diagnose dyslexia:  

“Professionals with expertise in several fields are best qualified to make a diagnosis of dyslexia. The testing may be done by a single individual or by a team of specialists. A knowledge and background in psychology, reading, language and education are necessary. The tester must have a thorough working knowledge of how individuals learn to read and why some people have trouble learning to read. They must also understand how to administer and interpret evaluation data and how to plan appropriate reading interventions.”

You can take a free online dyslexia screening test to gauge how likely it is that dyslexia is playing a role in your child’s learning difficulties. However, only a trained, knowledgeable specialist—like a therapist or clinician with dyslexia-specific certification—can provide a formal diagnosis. 

Which Doctor Should I Visit for Dyslexia Diagnosis?

You might be wondering, “Can a pediatrician diagnose dyslexia?” Naturally, many parents instinctively visit their pediatrician at the first signs of dyslexia symptoms. However, your child’s primary care doctor or pediatrician cannot provide a dyslexia diagnosis unless they also have a trained dyslexia specialist on staff. In many cases, your pediatrician will simply offer a recommendation or referral to a specialist. 

If you want to skip this step, you can have your child directly evaluated by a qualified therapist. Online evaluation has become especially popular with the rise of telehealth access. This process is easy and convenient for parents while offering more immediate results. If you prefer in-person care, you can also make an appointment with a qualified professional in your area.  

Evaluating for Dyslexia and Other Language Processing Disorders

The International Dyslexia Association‘s facts sheet on Testing and Evaluation by Diane J. Sawyer, Ph.D., and Karen M. Jones, Ed.S., NCSP makes the following points about what should be included in an evaluation for dyslexia and other language processing disorders:  

  • Background information should be included.
  • Intelligence testing is no longer considered necessary. Instead, oral language abilities (listening and speaking) are more predictive.
  • Oral language skills should be documented.
  • Word recognition (word reading) should be tested.
  • Decoding should be tested.
  • Spelling should be tested.
  • Phonological processing should be tested.
  • Automaticity /fluency skills should be tested.
  • Text Reading /comprehension should be tested.
  • Vocabulary knowledge should be tested.
  • Evaluation outcomes should provide the framework for the detailed evaluation of relative strengths and weaknesses across the various skill areas.
  • Diagnosis should be made by a professional who is thoroughly familiar with the important characteristics of language-literacy disorders/dyslexia.
  • Intervention planning recommendations should be included in the written report.
  • Documentation should acknowledge that the “specific criteria, such as cutoff scores for eligibility [for special education] vary from state to state”.

How Lexercise Can Help with Dyslexia Diagnosis and Treatment

The Lexercise Evaluation Procedures have been developed based on current dyslexia diagnosis best practices. We use the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Federal Act 1990) definition of “disability” (i.e., ”a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities”). 

Lexercise therapist can diagnose dyslexia

Reading and writing are certainly considered “major life activities”.  Our dyslexia evaluation is designed to determine if the individual has an “impairment which substantially limits” reading and/or writing.

Lexercise refers to professionals with this kind of expertise as “clinicians or therapists.”  Our clinicians and therapists may have gotten their basic training in psychology, speech-language pathology, education, or medicine. Beyond that basic training, they have had extensive training in language science, including reading and written language science, as well as in testing and measurement, as described by the IDA Standards

If you are a parent ready to take the first steps toward a better understanding, you can screen your child for dyslexia for free online in just 15 minutes. You can also put your mind at ease by reading about some common dyslexia myths. Our online therapy options are here to help your child overcome the challenges of dyslexia.

Learning and Memory- What Works?: Forgetting Helps

not for facebookWe tend to think of forgetting as the enemy of learning, but the science of learning tells a different story. Forgetting is actually one of the best tools we have for remembering.

How can forgetting help us remember?

The act of learning something, forgetting it and then remembering it again improves memory strength in that given subject. (Nunes & Karpicke, 2015).  

Practice helps us transfer information into long term memory. So, forgetting is an important part of what makes practice work. It is only when we forget something during practice that we have an opportunity to figure out how to remember it the next time.   

When given a “forgetting opportunity,” there are a few things research tells us we can do to improve the chances of remembering the next time:

  • More practice.98%
  • Use task-specific memory strategies or memory hooks.
  • Use mindfulness methods to manage the emotional and/or physical factors known to degrade memory.

Previous research has indicated that the average student who is taught using one-on-one, mastery learning techniques perform better than 98 percent of students taught in group settings (Bloom, 1984).  Lexercise is proven effective by providing one-on-one therapy with an expert therapist who customizes daily practice and utilizes these “forgetting opportunities.”

If you enjoyed this article, make sure you read Part One and Part Two of this series. 

 

If you suspect your child has a learning disability, you can take one of our free tests here.


References

Bloom, B.S. (1984). The two sigma problem: The search for methods of group instruction as effective as one-to-one tutoring. Educational Researcher, 13 (6), 4–16.

Nunes, L. D., & Karpicke, J. D. (2015). Retrieval-based learning: Research at the interface between cognitive science and education. In R. A. Scott & S. M. Kosslyn (Eds.), Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (pp. 1-16). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. [PDF]

How Can I Help My Struggling Reader?

summer deals!If you’re reading this post, chances are good that you are concerned about your child’s reading.   Maybe in a recent parent-teacher conference you learned that your child is not “on level.”  You might have noticed your child is a reluctant reader, or that his or her reading is not as strong as other children his or her age. You want to know: how can I help my child get better at reading?  

Searching for an answer to that question, many parents go through a lengthy and often expensive diagnostic process. This process can provide valuable information about how your child learns. However, for the majority of struggling readers, this is not necessary. There are only a handful of reasons that can cause a child to struggle with reading. Thankfully, there are solutions for all of these problems.


 

Problem: Instructional failure

Some students struggle with “Dysteachia”.  No, this is not a technical diagnosis.  What it boils down to is instructional failure.  This can happen for a variety of reasons.  Some schools teach “guessing approaches” which are not effective instructional practice for many students.   Your child’s teacher may struggle with classroom behavior, resulting in wasted instructional time and reduced learning.  Especially in the upper grades, lack of progress may be due to interventions designed to treat the symptom (slow reading or poor understanding) instead of the root cause (the student doesn’t know how to sound out words.)

Solution:

One to one Structured Literacy therapy.  A therapist can work with your student one on one and, in a matter of months, get him or her caught up on reading!  For students who have not received proper reading instruction and struggle as a result will benefit from Structured Literacy therapy. This type of therapy doesn’t just help those with dyslexia or other learning disabilities. Structured Literacy has been proven to help anyone struggling with reading, writing and spelling!


 

Problem: Inattention or behavioral concerns

Other students struggle due to inattention in the classroom.  The teacher may deliver proper, research based instruction, but the student may have anxiety or attention concerns that prevent him or her from taking advantage of that instruction.  Some of these students may be diagnosed with ADHD.  For other students, the anxiety is due to a shame spiral from ongoing reading failure.  

Solution:

Teletherapy dramatically reduces the risk and shame students associate with reading mistakes by creating a safe, nurturing environment.  By building a trusting relationship with your child, your Lexercise therapist will create a safe space to practice, make mistakes, and improve reading. The one to one environment provided over the internet minimizes distractions and increases engagement in many students.  Children who can’t or don’t pay attention in whole class instruction are often engaged and attentive with the teletherapy approach.


 

ID-10032278Problem: Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a specific type of reading disability.  Students with dyslexia typically have deficits in phonological processing, rapid naming, or both.  Even when they are fully attentive in a classroom with excellent instruction, these students struggle with literacy.

Solution:

Structured Literacy therapy (formerly known as Orton-Gillingham) is the method research has indicated for students with dyslexia.  Our blended learning model allows you to receive this instruction in the comfort of your own home.  


 

Problem: other learning disabilities

You may have already undergone testing and had a professional explain that your child does not have dyslexia.  Still, he or she is not catching up in reading and there is a definite learning challenge.  

Solution:

Our Lexercise therapists are trained in a wide variety of therapeutic instructional approaches.  Call us and we will match you with a clinician that will get to the bottom of your child’s learning challenges and create a customized learning plan to help him or her succeed.  Regardless of the reason why your child is struggling to read, Lexercise teletherapy is a pathway to success!  

 

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