The goal of our Community Education program is to share the wealth of knowledge that exists about dyslexia, to promote dyslexia awareness, and to provide parents and teachers with research-proven practices to support dyslexic students. We hope you will join us for one of our events!
Educational Information and Resources
- What is dyslexia?
- Who does dyslexia affect?
- What causes dyslexia?
- What are the signs of dyslexia?
- Can dyslexia be treated?
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a neurologically based, specific learning difference that interferes with the acquisition and processing of language. Varying in degrees of severity, dyslexia primarily affects a person’s ability to read text and often also affects writing, spelling, handwriting, and sometimes math. Individuals with dyslexia are bright and may have significant strengths in multiple areas.
Who does dyslexia affect?
According to the International Dyslexia Association, 15-20% of the population have symptoms of dyslexia. It exists in every part of the world, in every country and culture, wherever there is written language. Dyslexia affects individuals regardless of gender, race, native language, or socio-economic background. Dyslexia is genetic in origin and tends to run in families.
What causes dyslexia?
The precise causes of dyslexia have yet to be discovered but anatomical and brain imagery show slight differences in the way the brain of a dyslexic person develops and functions, specifically in regards to reading. Written language is a code of abstract symbols and individuals with dyslexia have varying degrees of difficulty deciphering that code. Because dyslexia is a genetic trait, many members of the same family may be dyslexic. It is important to note that dyslexia is never due to lack of intelligence, motivation, nor an inability to learn.
What are the signs of dyslexia?
There is a wide spectrum for dyslexia, from mild to severe, and its impact is different for each individual depending on the scope of their dyslexia and the effectiveness of instruction and remediation. Dyslexia can manifest itself in the following ways:
- difficulty decoding words (reading)
- difficulty encoding words (spelling)
- lack of awareness of sounds in words
- unusual speech patterns such as halted speech, mixing up sounds of words, mispronunciation, confusing words that sound alike, or difficulty rhyming
- poor sequencing of letters in words when reading or writing (this can also occur with numbers)
- problems with reading comprehension
- difficulty expressing thoughts in written form
- difficulty with handwriting
- difficulty in mathematics, particularly sequencing of steps, symbol confusion, and rote memorization of facts
- confusion about directions in space or time (right and left, months, days)
- poor organizational skills
Can dyslexia be treated?
While there is no “cure” for dyslexia, specific teaching techniques and remediation have been proven to greatly reduce the difficulties associated with dyslexia. Early intervention and specific structured learning strategies such as multisensory instruction, individualized attention, and academic language therapy are key to rapid remediation. With appropriate teaching methods, dyslexics can excel academically and become skillful, life-long readers.
Dyslexia’s challenges are outweighed by tremendous advantages, specifically in intelligence and creativity.
“Dyslexia is an island of weakness … surrounded by a sea of strengths.” —Sally Shaywitz, M.D., The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity
Be sure to check out the Rawson Saunders Facebook page for the latest in dyslexia news!
The International Dyslexia Association is a world-wide nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals with dyslexia, their families, and the communities that support them.
Understood is a welcoming and comprehensive online resource and support center for parents of children with learning and attention details.
The 1 in 5 Initiative is Learning Ally's campaign to promote public awareness of dyslexia and offer inspiration and resources to the millions of individuals affected by it.
The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity serves as a nexus for research on dyslexia and is a leading source of information and advocacy to better the lives of people with dyslexia.
Made by Dyslexia is a global charity led by Richard Branson and other successful dyslexics. Their purpose is to help the world properly understand and support dyslexia.
Dyslexic Advantage is an offshoot of the book by the same name and is a tremendous resource for dyslexia information and advocacy. It has become one of the world's largest dyslexia-focused communities.
Headstrong Nation is a positive and empowering advocacy group created by and for dyslexics.
Decoding Dyslexia is a parent-leg grassroots movement for dyslexia.
The Dyslexia Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1989 to identify and assist children with dyslexia through specialized programs, conferences, and research projects throughout the world.
The Power of Dyslexia is dedicated to focusing on the positive effects that dyslexia can have on a person's life and in the world.
Science and Dyslexia at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics conducts research on dyslexia and specifically how and why dyslexics may have natural aptitudes in science.
The Child Mind Institute is committed to finding effective and compassionate treatments for childhood psychiatric and learning differences.
Target the Problem is a tool to help parents and classroom teachers understand the specific problems a child may be having with reading. This site provides practical suggestions on what you (and kids themselves) can do to help students overcome or deal with their reading difficulties.
Thinking Differently: An Inspiring Guide for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities by David Fink
The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child's Confidence and Love of Learning by Ben Foss
The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain by Dr. Brock L. Eide and Dr. Fernette F. Eide
Overcoming Dyslexia by Dr. Sally Shaywitz
The Secret Life of the Dyslexic Child: How She Thinks. How He Feels. How They Can Succeed by Robert Frank and Kathryn E. Livingston
My Dyslexia by Phillip Schultz
In the Mind’s Eye: Creative Visual Thinkers, Gifted Dyslexics, and the Rise of Visual Technologies by Thomas G. West
Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf
Bigger Than Me: How a Boy Conquered Dyslexia to Play in the NFL by Jovan Haye
It’s So Much Work to be Your Friend: Helping a Child with Learning Disabilities Find Social Success by Richard D. Lavoie
Straight Talk About Reading: How Parents Can Make a Difference During the Early Years by Susan L. Hall and Louisa C. Moats
Dyslexia: Myths, Misconceptions, and Some Practical Applications by R. Malatesha Joshi
Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print by Marilyn Jager Adams
The Vocabulary Book: Learning and Instruction by Michael F. Graves
The Connections Between Language and Reading Disabilities by Hugh W. Catts and Alan G. Kamhi
The Dyslexic Advantage YouTube channel
What is Dyslexia? TED-Ed video by Kelli Sandman-Hurley
You May be Dyslexic If... by James Reford
Dyslexia Revealed by James Redford
Embracing Dyslexia by Luis Macias
Inside the World of Dyslexia and ADD by Headstrong Nation
The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia by James Redford
Dislecksia: The Movie by Harvey Hubbell V
Journey Into Dyslexia by Alan and Susan Raymond
I Can’t Do This But I Can Do That: A Film for Families about Learning Differences by Ellen Goosenberg Kent, HBO documentary
I am Dyslexic by Tom J. Davies
Dyslexic and Loving Words a film by Vicky Morris
Sir Richard Branson on Dyslexia
International Dyslexia Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting reading excellence for all children through early identification of dyslexia, effective literacy education for adults and children with dyslexia, and teacher training.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities is an advocacy group which works to ensure that the nation's 15 million children, adolescents and adults with learning disabilities have every opportunity to succeed in school, work and life. This website includes information on services, educational programs, and legislative initiatives.
Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA) Academic language therapy helps develop effective secondary language and written communication skills through proficiency in reading and writing. The Academic Language Therapy Association® (ALTA) is a nonprofit national professional organization for the purpose of establishing, maintaining, and promoting standards of education, practice and professional conduct for Certified Academic Language Therapists.
The Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators promotes public awareness of the needs of children and adults with dyslexia, and of the Orton-Gillingham approach for the treatment of dyslexia. They also provide teacher training and certification as well as accreditation of programs that train Orton-Gillingham practitioners and educators.
The International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) is an accrediting organization setting high professional standards in the preparation of Multisensory Structured Language specialists — clinicians and teachers.
Learning Ally is a nonprofit volunteer organization, and is the nation's educational library serving people who cannot effectively read standard print because of visual impairment, dyslexia, or other physical barrier.
The Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR) promotes the scientific study of reading and disseminates information and related areas as language and literacy, making research in this area widely available.
US Department of Education has information on the government's policies and procedures concerning the education of our children, including those with special needs.
Community Education Upcoming Events:
ALT Play-by Play
Wednesday, March 29, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. (via Zoom)
Click here to register.
Community Education Course Descriptions
- Dyslexia 101
- Understanding the Dyslexic Experience
- Understanding a Psychoeducational Evaluation Report
- Academic Language Therapy Play-by-Play
- Dysgraphia: It's Not Just Messy Handwriting
- Dyslexia and the Brain
- Making Sense of Math with Visual Models
- Bringing Fun to the Home Reading Assignment
Join the Rawson Saunders Institute for DYSLEXIA 101 to learn about the newest research on the brain-based causes of dyslexia! Through interactive activities, we'll examine the learning profiles of students with dyslexia as well as instructional methods and home supports that promote their literacy development.
Understanding the Dyslexic Experience
Our most popular event! Join members of the Rawson Saunders faculty for an immersive and interactive event designed to simulate the challenges and frustrations dyslexic students face daily when their dyslexia is misunderstood or unsupported. Following the simulation, participants will engage in a thought-provoking discussion.
Understanding a Psychoeducational Evaluation Report
As parents and educators of students with dyslexia, we are familiar with the term "psychoeducational evaluation" ("report" or "testing" or "assessment") and have spent significant time reading and trying to make sense of evaluation results. This workshop will help translate the "report speak" into practical language that provides guidance about how to understand the evaluator's findings and best support our children and students. We will discuss the different components of an evaluation, the differences among various assessment measures chosen by evaluators, and how to use the evaluator's recommendations to advocate for your child's educational needs.
Academic Language Therapy Play-by-Play
You may have heard about Orton-Gillingham based reading interventions. Your child or student may even receive Academic Language Therapy (ALT) now. But, have you wondered what happens in ALT lessons? At this event, members of Rawson Saunders School and Rawson Saunders Institute will present ALT lesson components and explain their impacts on students with dyslexia.
Dysgraphia: It's Not Just Messy Handwriting
What is dysgraphia? What causes it? Is it just a difficulty with handwriting or is it something more? If you have found yourself asking these questions, this session is for you! Participants will learn what dysgraphia is, experience dysgraphia, and learn about instructional strategies and at-home tips that can benefit and support children with dysgraphia.
Dyslexia and the Brain
The reading brain is an amazing system of processes and connections that fire at speeds faster than we can imagine. The dyslexic brain is that and so much more. It is extraordinary. Come to this event to experience a multisensory tour through the dyslexic brain and leave with a feeling of empowerment of all that individuals with dyslexia have to offer to our world.
Making Sense of Math with Visual Models
Solving math word problems can be—well, a problem!—for many students, especially in the ways that reading and understanding also come into play. Visual models are valuable tools to help students "see the math." Dr. Janna Smith, RS Math Department Chair, will share strategies we use at Rawson Saunders to help students decode the language of math and become powerful problem solvers.
Bringing Fun to the Home Reading Assignment