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Millions of school children with dyslexia endure frustration on a daily basis as they struggle to acquire skills that many of us take for granted. For several years, the Scottish Rite Masons, Northern Jurisdiction, have been national leaders in the effort to help children and their families overcome the obstacles of dyslexia. With 49 active Learning Centers in 15 states, the Children’s Learning Centers tackle the challenge of dyslexia head-on, both by providing free one-on-one tutoring for children with dyslexia and by training a growing body of highly skilled and dedicated tutors.
Dyslexia is an under-reported disability—an inheritable neurological condition that affects language acquisition, processing and decoding. According to recent research, up to 20% of the U.S. population has learning disorders, and 80% of these people have varying degrees of reading disorders that qualify as dyslexia. Dyslexia is a disability in learning, not in intelligence, and affects girls and boys equally. It is a lifelong condition, but it can be managed successfully. More importantly, with early detection and treatment, children with dyslexia can learn and succeed academically.
Children with dyslexia are typically highly creative and intuitive, and are excellent hands-on learners. Some of the world’s most famous artists, innovators and leaders were and are dyslexic, including Leonardo daVinci, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Agatha Christie, William Hewlitt, Winston Churchill, Tom Cruise, Cher, Jay Leno, and Charles Schwab.
When a child struggles with reading, writing, spelling, and sometimes even speaking, it is possible that the problem is due to dyslexia. The common signs listed below do not necessarily mean that a child displaying them has this learning disability. However, if a child continues to display difficulty over time in the areas listed below, testing for dyslexia should be considered:
- Understanding that words are made up of sounds
- Assigning correct sounds to letters
- Correct pronunciation of sounds and words
- Spelling and proofreading
- Learning basic sequential information (alphabet, numbers)
- Reading with age-appropriate speed, accuracy and comprehension
- Learning numbers, facts
- Answering open-ended questions (math or word problems)
- Organizing thoughts, time, or a sequence of tasks
- Difficulty getting ideas on paper
- Difficulty with handwriting and copying tasks
The method we use to teach the children at our center is Orton-Gillingham. A Great Article about this approach can be found at: http://www.dyslexia-reading-well.com/orton-gillingham.html.
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