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Understanding Dyslexia: A Guide for Parents in Ohio

February 5, 2023

“Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in what oredr the ltteers in a word are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is that the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.  The rset can be a total mses and yoou can still raed it wouthit porbelm.  This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Amzanig, huh?!”

What is Dyslexia and What Are the Main Types?

Dyslexia is a neurobiological condition that affects a person's ability to read, write, and spell. It is not related to intelligence and is more common than one might think. In Ohio, recent legislation has emphasized the importance of identifying and supporting students with dyslexia. This article aims to provide parents with essential information about dyslexia, its signs, and the new Ohio laws surrounding identification and support.

Dyslexia is a lifelong condition that primarily impacts the phonological component of language. Individuals with dyslexia may experience difficulties in decoding words, spelling, and recognizing words swiftly. It's crucial to note that dyslexia is not a result of laziness, lack of intelligence, or inadequate instruction; rather, it is a neurologically-based condition that requires targeted interventions.  Anyone can be diagnosed with dyslexia, although the dyslexia test process is different for adults than it is for children. Often, individuals with dyslexia can be very creative and intelligent yet struggle with basic reading skills.

  • Phonological or Auditory Dyslexia

This type of dyslexia is the most commonly thought of when someone mentions the word dyslexia. Poor awareness of the sounds of language or a lack of understanding of the spelling-sound correspondence is the cause of the most common type of dyslexia. People with this type of dyslexia will make spelling errors that do not make phonetic sense (such as spelling “desk” as deks or “with” as “wef”). Not only do they struggle with decoding/ sounding out unfamiliar words, but they may also have difficulty with rhyming skills.

  • Orthographic or Surface Dyslexia:

Children may have adequate phonological skills, but fail to fluently use the spelling rules of a language, particularly for irregular words.  They may continue to erroneously believe that words are a perfect representation of spoken phonemes (letter sounds). This type of dyslexia is less common and is referred to as surface dyslexia or orthographic dyslexia. With this type of dyslexia, students understand which letters go with which sounds, but they actually over-rely on the letter-sound correlation. For example, they might spell the word “garbage” as garbij or the word “wiggle” as wigul. Parents may notice difficulty reading high-frequency words (e.g., "said," "could,” “once”).


  • Double Deficit or Deep Dyslexia:

A person with double deficit dyslexia struggles with two aspects of reading. These two aspects often include naming speed and identifying the sounds in words. This type of dyslexia is a combination of rapid naming and phonological and is not uncommon; however, it is largely regarded as the most severe type of dyslexia. Symptoms of double deficit dyslexia include poor naming speed rate when asked to recall words.

What are Signs of Dyslexia I Might Notice?

Parents should be aware of common signs of dyslexia, which may manifest in various ways at different ages. Early signs include difficulty rhyming, recognizing letters, and challenges with learning the alphabet. As children progress through school, struggles with reading fluency, spelling, and comprehension may become more apparent. Persistent difficulties with writing and academic performance, despite intelligence, can also be indicative of dyslexia.


Ohio Legislation and Dyslexia:

Ohio has taken significant steps to address dyslexia in its educational system. The Ohio Dyslexia Committee was formed to study the best practices for identifying and supporting students with dyslexia. In response to their recommendations, Senate Bill 216 was signed into law, requiring Ohio schools to:

1)    Screen students for dyslexia: Schools must implement a screening process for students in kindergarten through third grade to identify those at risk for dyslexia.

2)    Provide intervention services: If a student is identified as at risk, the school must provide evidence-based intervention services, which may include structured literacy instruction.

3)    Educate teachers: Teachers will receive professional development on dyslexia, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to support students effectively.

4)    Raise awareness: The legislation emphasizes the importance of raising awareness about dyslexia among parents, educators, and the community.


As a Parent, What Can I Do if I Suspect My Child has Dyslexia?

If you suspect your child may have dyslexia, it's essential to take proactive steps:

·         Communicate with teachers: Share your concerns with your child's teacher and inquire about the school's dyslexia screening and intervention processes.

·         Seek a comprehensive evaluation: If necessary, request a comprehensive evaluation for your child, which may include a review of their academic history, cognitive and achievement assessments, and evaluations of other relevant factors.

·         Collaborate with the school: Work collaboratively with your child's school to develop interventions and progress-monitor performance.  Educators should be able to inform parents over time whether interventions put in place are resulting in student growth or not.

·         Stay informed: Become familiar with signs of dyslexia and remediation options.  Interventions or supports put in place should be “evidence-based,” provided in a consistent format, and at the level of intensity (both in time commitment and content exposure), as dictated by the program. Ask questions, attend workshops, and seek professional consultation when needed.

·         Cogmotion Learning can help: If parents/guardians need an independent evaluation, have questions about recommendations, or need assistance designing meaningful interventions for a home or school plan, let Cogmotion Learning become your partner! Remember, early identification and intervention are key to unlocking the full potential of individuals with dyslexia.



Ohio Dyslexia Guidebook:


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