Educational Programs for Children With Dyslexia

Young male student reading at classroom desk
Student.

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Special education laws do not require that specific programs be provided for dyslexia or learning disabilities. Instead, it is required that research-based methods be used and that an individualized education program (IEP) is reasonably calculated to confer an educational benefit to a child.

Obviously, if a child is dyslexic, a program designed to remediate dyslexia will offer the best chance of success—and fortunately, there are many research-based programs available for dyslexia.

How Do Dyslexia Programs Work?

Any program being used to support a child with dyslexia should specifically address the issues surrounding the disorder. In other words, if your child is frustrated and acting out because they are having great difficulty with reading and writing, an appropriate program should help them to build their reading and writing skills. ​Behavior management, while it is important, should not be the sole focus of their school program. 

Many schools use programs such as these for dyslexia or programs with similar methodologies. Some teachers use parts of various programs as well as teacher-designed teaching materials. Such programs tend to focus specifically on two issues that are particularly difficult for dyslexics. First, they build awareness of speech sounds in words (phonemic awareness).

Second, they build awareness of letter-sound correspondence (phonics). Working at your child's pace, with a great deal of reinforcement and practice, your child's teacher should be able to help your child to improve their reading and writing skills. It's important to note, however, that even an individualized, high-quality program will not "cure" dyslexia.

Which Dyslexia Programs Work Well?

Which program should your school implement? There are quite a few high quality, commercially published dyslexia programs designed for use in schools. This list includes several recommended programs, but it is is not exhaustive: 

Advocating and Helping Your Child

If your school is providing your child with a research-based program that is designed to meet their needs but you prefer a different program, it may be difficult to implement a change. However, if your school is offering an inappropriate placement or program, it is important to get in there and advocate for change! It's likely that a child with dyslexia will not learn to effectively read, write, and manage a typical school program on their own if they are not provided with the tools and support they need to succeed.

In addition to providing your child with an appropriate program, it's also important that both you and your child's teachers help your child to understand their dyslexia and build their self-esteem. It's tough to be the only child in your class who has a tough time reading aloud—and your child needs to know that they are a smart and capable person who has a particular challenge that they are working to address.

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