Our Educators are often asked questions about whether it is possible to have learning disabilities in children who show dramatic strengths in other academic subjects and life skills. The answer is a resounding YES.
Because reading disabilities are the most prevalent learning disabilities, let’s focus on dyslexia.
Students with dyslexia often have solidly average or advanced vocabulary skills. Parents typically report that their child met language milestones in a timely manner. Many of these students carry on engaging conversations about a variety of topics. In their reading, this extensive word knowledge helps them to derive meaning from the text. While they may not be able to read every word, they have the ability to use context clues to make predictions about the missing pieces. Additionally, these children often have a strong capability to memorize some words that they encounter regularly. In doing so, they may present as readers who are on grade level in school.
However, it is essential to consider reading at the level of the individual word. While bright children may be able to ‚Äúfill in the gaps‚Äù and compensate for a period of time, their progress will plateau and begin to decline. Over time, students reach a point at which they can no longer memorize words or rely on previous knowledge. They must then rely on their application of phonetic skills to decode all of the new words that they encounter as they move forward. It is at this point that dyslexic students exhibit their greatest struggles. Their weakness is rooted in the inability to accurately and efficiently process the individual sounds of language.
Early identification and intervention is the key to helping students with specific learning disabilities. Our Educators enjoy consulting with parents who have questions about their child‚Äôs learning and concerns about possible learning disabilities, such as dyslexia.