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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp
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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp.  All rights reserved.
about the book
The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Homeschooling Special Situations

Homeschooling with Dyslexia
or Problems with Visual Skills

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006

Some children learn to read early, others learn along with their
classmates at age 5 or 6, still other children struggle with reading, or
show no interest, and do not read well until they are much older.  There
is a lot of natural variation in when each child is "ready" to learn to read.   
But when a child continues to struggle with reading or spelling, even with
one-to-one help, parents should consider the possibility that the child
may have dyslexia, or a problem with visual skills, or both.  

Dyslexia is a learning disability that makes it hard for children to learn to
read and spell.  Children with dyslexia have trouble recognizing words
and read slowly, they have poor spelling skills, and have a hard time
sounding out a new word.  They have trouble (and are often
embarressed by) reading aloud, and may also have trouble with
handwriting and writing out math equations.  

Dyslexia isn't the only issue that can make it hard to read.  Children may
have vision problems that affect how well the two eyes to work together
as a team, especially when reading.  A child may have 20/20 vision, yet
have trouble reading because, for instance, her eye muscles don't glide
smoothly across the page.  Children with these types of vision problems
may also have trouble reading aloud, be slow readers, tire easily, and get
headaches from reading. They may also have trouble with handwriting,
writing out math problems, and copying from a book or blackboard.
Problems with such visual skills can be diagnosed by a specially trained
Behavioral Optometrist, and vision therapy may help.

Homeschooling can be a good option for children with dyslexia or visual
skills deficits.  Parents can seek out and implement the latest and most
appropriate treatment methods for their particular child, without fighting
for school cooperation.  Essentially, you can create your own "IEP" by
researching the types of Dyslexia and the various possible problems with
visual skills, arranging for private assessment, and comparing notes with
other families in similar situations to find the best treatment options.  

There are several dyslexia remediation approaches available to
homeschooling families.  You may opt for private treatment or you can
train yourself to use one of the variety of special reading curriculum  
available today.  It isn't as hard as it may sound -- many families have
succeeded and they are happy to share their knowledge and get other
families started on the right path.  Be sure to join a support group, such
as "Learning Abled Kids" (listed below) to get the support you'll need and
to hear about the latest in research and techniques.

Dyslexia Information

Dyslexia Symptoms and Checklists

What is dyslexia? -- from the LD-Online website

What is dyslexia? -- from Dyslexia Institutes of America, includes a
summary of different types of dyslexia.

Dyslexia and Reading -- from "The Mislabeled Child" book website

Dyslexia Symptoms -- Where to Start? from Learning Abled Kids

Dyslexia Checklists -- for children in K-1, grades 2-12 and for adults,
from the Dyslexia Institutes of America

Understanding Dyslexia

The Gift of Dyslexia a book and website by Ron Davis -- an approach
that is not  "...based on tutoring or drill, but actually resolves the root
causes of problems experienced by individuals with language-based
learning difficulties...", lectures, workshops, and forums, available

In the Mind's Eye: Visual Thinkers, Gifted People With Dyslexia
and Other Learning Difficulties, Computer Images and the Ironies
of Creativity by Thomas G. West  -- looks at the unique strengths of
individuals with dyslexia, and their past, present, and future contributions
to society, includes the role technology will play in future successes   

Dyslexia May Involve Both Vision And Hearing -- research shows
that dyslexia may stem from the processing of both sight and sound

Dyslexia and Transdisciplinary Thinking from Fernette Eide

Dyslexia Treatments and Strategies

A List of Homeschool Reading Programs that Help with Dyslexia
from the Learning Abled Kids website

Home Schooling Children with Dyslexia from the AHomeEducation
website, based in the UK

How To Reach and Teach Children & Teens with Dyslexia by
Cynthia M. Stowe --  practical advice and techniques for teaching
reading, spelling, math, etc, with a chapter for each subject, includes
suggestions for ADD/ADHD, geared toward school environment, but still
very useful for homeschoolers

Lexia Learning: Strategies for Older Students -- interactive software
for students 9 and older to improve reading and spelling skills, starts from
the very beginning, with basic vowel  sounds, but allows students to
proceed at their own pace

Dyslexia Institute of America treatment program -- DIA uses a multi-
sensory approach based on Orton-Gillingham and currently has clinic
locations in Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland,
Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.  The DIA of Ohio director, Joel A. Greff,
will be happy to get you in touch with the facility nearest you.

The International Dyslexia Association - tons of good articles

Online Support for Dyslexia

Learning Abled Kids -- an informative website full of links to resources,
curriculum, and tools to help your bright child with dyslexia and other
learning differences

Learning Abled Kids Forum -- a Yahoo! support group for parents
homeschooling children who have Dyslexia, vision processing difficulties,
or other learning differences, discussions include appropriate reading
and spelling programs, vision therapy, "hi-low" readers, etc.

Can "Good Readers" Have Dyslexia?  Yes!  Be alert to problems with
reading out loud, spelling of new words, and handwriting issues... they
may be signs of "stealth dyslexia"

Visual Skills Issues and Vision Therapy

Vision and Reading -- from The Optometrist's Network, explains the
various problems with vision and how they affect students

Visual Processing Problems: When it's Hard for the Brain to See
by Fernette Eide -- interesting brain imaging info and good comments, too

screen your child for possible vision problems -- from the Cook
Vision Therapy website

An explanation of vision therapy -- from the College of Optometrists
in Vision Development -- a website created by a Developmental Optometrist
that lists fun activities for improving vision skills

A Yahoo! Online support group for vision therapy

Reading Comprehension Resources

I Read It, but I Don't Get It: Comprehension Strategies for
Adolescent Readers by Cris Tovani and Ellin Oliver Keene -- written
conversationally, this book addresses the reasons students struggle with
reading comprehension and offers strategies and examples to help them
get past their difficulties

Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts (4–12) by
Kelly Gallagher -- "...strategies that enable your students to accept the
challenge of reading difficult books and move beyond a "first draft"
understanding of the text into deeper levels of reading..."

7 Keys to Comprehension: How to Help Your Kids Read It and Get
It! by Susan Zimmermann and Chryse Hutchins -- written for both parents
and teachers, from a review -- "[this book]...successfully isolated the
processes which are used (subconsciously) by natural readers in order
to make the leap from phonics to understanding. Each one of these
processes receives a full treatment, containing conceptual,
demonstrative, and pedagogic angles..."

Related Resources:

Storynory: Children's Audio Stories for Free -- free narrated stories
to play online or download to iPod or MP3 player, text available for
printing, too.  Excellent narrator!

Beginning to Read -- what pre-reading skills do children need?

Diner Resources for Learning to Read

Diner Resources for Learning to Spell

Trouble with Writing, too?  Could it be Dysgraphia?

Could trouble with math be due to Discalculia?

Is Your Child Gifted?
Dyslexia in the Gifted Child

blindhomeschooler -- for those homeschooling children who are
visually impaired

You may also find this Diner page to be helpful:
Curriculum for Reading Struggles, Reading Remediation
and "Catching-Up"