Thursday, May 29, 2008

Show # 87 Shelley Dannenberg, Dyslexia Testing and Information Services

Shelly Dannenberg is a certified Dyslexia Testing Specialist, an Ohio licensed teacher with 9 years teaching experience in Language Arts and Reading, and the parent of a dyslexic child. Shelley has taught in both regular education and special education classrooms and has tutored many students with learning disabilities. In today's show, we discuss what dyslexia is, how it effects kids in schools, and discuss how early intervention is the key to helping kids with dyslexia succeed in school.

Dyslexia is genetic and is a language processing disorder. In people without dyslexia, three centers of the brain work cooperatively to process language, for reading, writing and spelling. Functional MRI scans show that people with dyslexia do not have these areas working cooperatively, causing them to process language is a different way. Often there is a family history of dyslexia and/or school struggle, but often adults were not properly diagnosed as children. As many as 40% of kids with dyslexia also have concurrent ADHD, so you need to address attentional issues as well.

There are so many excellent resources available to help people better understand dyslexia and other language based learning disorders- We're starting a new page here on the LD Podcast site just for dyslexia, with other LD specific pages coming soon. Finding information, research, and the tools you need to help your child or student is the first step to helping a struggling child feel the thrill of success. Let us know if these resources are helpful and if you have any to add- drop me a line at !

Shelley and I discuss things you might look for as early signs of dyslexia or other language processing disorders:

Preschool age kids:

Chronic ear infections, severe childhood illnesses
Speech delay
Early stuttering
Late in establishing a dominant hand

Elementary School:

Is reading slow and labored?
Is it choppy? Inaccurate?
Do they skip words?
Do they guess at words based on the shape or beginning letters?
Misreading prepositions and common prepositions?

Do they dread going to school?
Do they have terrible spelling, or have no carry over for the spelling words they just learned last week, in the next lesson?

Many have trouble with math- they have problems with memorizing rote information

Kids with language based processing issues may have a bunch of different labels, including things like expressive language disorder. The most important part of any label is not so much "what" it is, but that it is the key to access for services in a school setting, so kids can get the help and accommodations they need to be successful in school.

Children are painfully aware that they are struggling- what we need to do is construct education and strategies that help them learn and succeed, rather than constantly focusing on their deficits.


Shelley's Website- Dyslexia Testing and Information Services
International Dyslexia Association

Click here to listen to Show #87- Shelley Dannenberg- Dyslexia Testing Information Service

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