Addressing the Needs in Reading of the Dyslexic Learner in the Inclusive Classroom

Addressing the Needs in Reading of the Dyslexic Learner in the Inclusive Classroom

Enid Acosta-Tello (National University, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1753-5.ch010


Many children in the nation are not proficient readers. Many of them are affected by learning disabilities and disorders. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was designed to help meet the needs of these children. However, children diagnosed with dyslexia were excluded from special education services because they did not qualify. Though advances in technology have identified dyslexia as stemming from a neurological difficulty to process language skills necessary for learning to read, dyslexic children continue to fall outside the qualification guidelines for special educational service. For this reason, many classroom teachers find themselves with children in their classes who are unable to read and who will not receive extra help. The aim of this chapter is to share teaching ideas, methodologies, and strategies which will help the classroom teacher address some of the needs of the dyslexic learner within the regular classroom setting.
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Dyslexia was first described in scientific literature by physicians who noted cases of individuals with normal or high intelligence who, nevertheless, were unable to read and physicians used the term “word blindness” to describe this phenomenon (Siegel, 2006). Various theories were set forth in the following years suggesting that “word blindness” was a visual perception problem; this is evident in the wide-spread belief that dyslexics write their words and letters backwards because they see them this way. Several studies have discredited this belief (Shaywitz et al., 1998; Siegel, 2006; Tanaka et al., 2011). Through the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and brain scanning, it has been discovered that the language processing center of the brain is mainly on the left side of the brain, however, children with dyslexia appear to begin processing language from the right side of the brain. This means that processing sounds and relating these sounds to their visual representations (phonological processing and sound-symbol correspondence) takes longer and requires more effort for the dyslexic child than for the child without this disability (Tanaka et al., 2011). Due to the plasticity of the brain, dyslexics can retrain their brain to utilize more of the left lobe for processing all aspects of language, including reading, through practice and rehearsal (Shaywitz et al.,1998; Wolf & Gottwald, 2012).

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