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How to create a dyslexia-friendly environment in your school

E-School News – Meris Stansbury

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, 80 percent of students with learning disabilities have dyslexia. In order to create a learning environment that feels safe, comfortable and empowering for students, schools need to adhere to basic guiding principles. In “Creating a Dyslexia-Friendly School,” Terrie Noland, national director, Educator Engagement for Learning Ally, presented on early intervention for dyslexic students, using the right AT (assistive technology) tools and accommodations for each learner, and creating environments in which students can thrive.”(more)

Dyslexia, once the reading disability that shall not be named, comes into its own in California

Ed Source – Jane Meredith Adams

“The hope is for districts across the state to follow Knightsen’s example, according to legislation that last week produced its goal: the release of the California Department of Education’s California Dyslexia Guidelines, a long-awaited document meant to let schools know what exactly dyslexia is and what interventions have been proven effective. Estimates of the prevalence of dyslexia range from 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population — which would mean between 300,000 and 1.2 million children in California public schools. Brain imagery has shown that people with dyslexia process word identification differently, and children do not outgrow dyslexia. The goal is to learn how to compensate for it. The disability is unrelated to intelligence, but students have long floundered without the correct help.”(more)

In California push to help students with dyslexia, LA schools take a first step

Ed Source – Jane Meredith Adams

“The Los Angeles Unified school board jumped ahead of a new state law last week and instructed the school district to immediately create a plan to train teachers on the leading learning disability in California:, a reading impairment known as dyslexia. The demand by the board of the second-largest school district in the U.S. was hailed by parent advocates as a signal that districts across the state, and potentially the nation, might finally provide interventions that help students with dyslexia learn to read. Effective interventions are available, but most school districts nationwide do not provide them widely, citing the cost of training, according to advocates for students with disabilities.”(more)

Richard Branson Shares Details About His Experience With Dyslexia

The Huffington Post – Suzy Strutner

“Richard Branson wants people to think of dyslexia as an asset, not a weakness. The founder of Virgin recently described his experience with the disorder in a blog post for the U.K.’s Sunday Times, right before launching a new charity for dyslexia on Tuesday. Branson wrote that his dyslexia was “treated as a handicap” in school, which he stopped attending as a teenager. “There were some subjects where I drew a complete blank,” he wrote. “[Math] just didn’t make sense to me. I once did an IQ test and the questions seemed absurd. For years I hadn’t been able to work out the difference between gross and net.” However, the symptoms of dyslexia ― like slow reading, confusion with math and difficulty processing words ― are precisely what Branson says enabled him to build his business empire.”(more)

5 effective teaching tips for students with literacy challenges

E-School News – Meris Stansbury

“As classrooms and teachers grow stronger in providing individualized and personalized instruction to every students, it’s never been more important to define and address the often-myriad literacy challenges within classrooms to ensure that all struggling students learn and improve—especially those students with dyslexia. In “Teaching Students with Literacy Problems—Including Dyslexia,” hosted by and sponsored by Brookes Publishing, Nickola Wolf Nelson, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Western Michigan University, reviewed techniques educators can use to teach their students with literacy problems.”(more)

Dyslexia May Be the Brain Struggling to Adapt

The Smithsonian – Ben Panko

“For a lump of fat, the human brain is surprisingly flexible. As you learn new words, skills or patterns, your brain adapts to access that information more easily by making new or strengthened connections between neurons. By practicing piano or studying math, you are paving these pathways that allow you to recall what you learned quickly and sometimes even unconsciously. The brain’s remarkable ability to rewire itself throughout a person’s life is known as plasticity—and neuroscientists consider it an invaluable cognitive asset.”(more)