About Reading Disabilities, Learning Disabilities, and Reading Difficulties
About 10 million children have difficulties learning to read. The good news is that more than 90 percent of struggling readers can overcome their difficulties if they receive appropriate treatment at early ages.
Many kids struggle with reading. One estimate is that about 10 million children have difficulties learning to read. The good news is that 90 to 95 percent of reading impaired children can overcome their difficulties if they receive appropriate treatment at early ages.
How can reading difficulties be caught early?
The key is for parents and teachers to be aware of how their student or child is doing and to act immediately if they suspect a problem. Parents and teachers cannot necessarily count on a formal diagnosis as the only sign of a significant reading related difficulty.
Reading difficulties occur on a continuum, meaning that there is a wide range of students who experience reading difficulties. There are those students who are diagnosed with a reading-related disability but there is an even larger group of students (without diagnoses) who still require targeted reading assistance.
When a student has a reading-related difficulty – whether he or she has been formally identified as having a disability or not – the key is to:
- Correctly determine the nature and source of a student's difficulty.
- Provide targeted instruction to remediate difficulties and increase skills level.
- Accommodate a student's weaknesses and build upon his or her strengths.
When should a problem be suspected?
Be aware of how each child is doing. A pre-school student should be checked, for example, if he or she has a much more difficult time than other students in pronouncing or rhyming words or in learning numbers, the alphabet, the days of the week, colours or shapes.
If a student shows consistent problems with several milestones, then you may want to have him or her evaluated for possible learning or reading disabilities.
Remember that students learn differently and at different rates. Not all students will develop in the same way or at the same rate, but most students develop at a steady pace so that by the end of third grade, they are able to read grade appropriate material fluently with comprehension.
It is important that a student not get too far behind in learning how to read; reading difficulties are best addressed when they are identified at a young age.
Are there some students that are more prone to reading difficulties?
Some students are more likely to develop reading difficulties than others. It is important to know about these tendencies so students can be monitored and any difficulties identified early. Students may be more likely to develop a reading difficulty if they have parents with histories of reading difficulties; if they have been diagnosed with a specific language impairment or a hearing impairment; or if they gained less knowledge or skills related to literacy during pre-school years.
How can we help?
When a student has difficulty with reading, it can be overwhelming to teachers and emotional for both parents and students. The more that is learned about reading and the specific problem, however, the less overwhelming things will seem.
Parents and teachers can act on behalf of a student who struggles with reading by trying to pinpoint the nature and source of a student's difficulty, by increasing skill levels, and by building upon his or her strengths.
Researchers believe that learning disabilities are caused by personal differences in how the brain works and how it processes information.
Within a learning disability model, it is however understood that people with learning disabilities are not regarded as “lazy” or “dumb”- they just process information differently from more typical learners their age.
The good news is that reading comprehension skills and strategies can be learned! People who are taught multiple strategies are guided in their use and eventually choose some to use on their own.
Many children struggle in general to read due to amongst other reasons:
- Not listening to stories on the radio, therefore not practising their visualisation skills;
- Neglecting the foundation of repetition;
- An overload of technological information, equipment and toys, e.g. use of TV, computer programmes/ games and cellular phones.
At Wise Eye Reading Academy we often find that many “reading disabilities” are in fact “reading inabilities”. The person or child has been labelled with a “disorder” while in fact, it is only a reading “inability”.
In many cases, the labelled child is a normal but poor reader that will react just as well to reading therapy as any other person or child would!
Children who have difficulty reading experience feelings of shame that interfere with the ability to stay engaged while reading. The Wise Eye reading programme assists in restoring the child’s feeling of self-worth, in turn resulting in a happy, well-adjusted child able to reach his full potential.
Just imagine and visualise for a moment at what excellent level he will be able to read on completion of the Wise Eye reading programme!