October is Dyslexia Awareness Month and the perfect time to get informed about this neurological processing disorder. Despite popular opinion that dyslexia is a simple reversal or switching around of words while reading, it is far from that. Instead, the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) define dyslexia as “a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.”
Dyslexia for a Day
The Dyslexia Training Institute in San Diego, CA recently released a dyslexia simulation for educators, parents, and advocates. “Dyslexia for a Day: A Simulation of Dyslexia” has since been endorsed by Susan Barton, a well-known dyslexia advocate and remediation curriculum developer. The simulation is an active, hands-on approach to dyslexia awareness. Participants get to experience first-hand the challenges that individuals with dyslexia have with not only reading, but with writing, as well.
What makes the simulation so powerful is that by the end of the first simulation, the feeling of empathy for a student’s daily struggle is magnified. Getting an opportunity to experience how much effort a dyslexic individual puts forth on a minute-by-minute basis in the classroom leaves you not only with a new awareness, but an appreciation for the sheer magnitude of determination and will it takes to even read simple passages. For the classroom teacher, the critical importance of allowing additional processing time is seen and experienced first-hand.
The program contains a simulation DVD and accompanying training materials that can be used in a large or small group setting. It is great for professional development during an in-service day, but can also be used by an individual. The hard part will not be participating in the simulation alone, but in deciding who to share it with first, because once you see how it changes your perspective about the disorder, you simply cannot wait to share it with others.
Find out more about Dyslexia for a Day and the Dyslexia Training Institute by visiting their website. You can also read Dyslexia and Special Education Law and Dyslexia in the Classroom by Dyslexia Training Institute co-founder Dr. Kelli Sandman-Hurley for more information about dyslexia and how you can help students in your classroom. This month, make an effort to find out more about the disorder that is the number one cause of reading difficulties in the classroom. Find out what dyslexia really is.