Private Practice Speech Therapists & Dyslexia
In the United States, almost half of adults present with limited literacy skills. Limited literacy skills predispose adults to negative long-term outcomes including:
poor academic performance
higher risk of ending up in jail
poorer physical health outcomes
...among others many others
When a person has limited literacy skills, the odds of that person having dyslexia are high. Luckily, dyslexia is a well-researched learning disorder with effective interventions available for your child. To access these interventions, a proper dyslexia diagnosis is needed. Most schools, however, often do not diagnose dyslexia nor treat dyslexia with effective interventions.
In contrast, private practice speech therapists diagnose dyslexia. Plus, our expertise with speech and language makes us the perfect professional for the job!
When can dyslexia be diagnosed?
The earlier a speech therapist diagnoses dyslexia, the better the prognosis. We often hear parents and, even, other professionals say that dyslexia cannot be diagnosed until a child is 8 years old or reaches a particular grade. This is a myth; a speech therapist can diagnose dyslexia symptoms and red flags as young as preschool.
Identifying red flags and dyslexia symptoms during the preschool years allows for preventative dyslexia treatment prior to the child entering kindergarten. Visit the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity for a list of red flags and dyslexia symptoms from preschool through adulthood.
Further, it is never too late for a dyslexia diagnosis. Private practice speech therapists often find that parents of a recently diagnosed child report dyslexia symptoms that went unnoticed or undiagnosed during their own childhood. Speech therapists can diagnose adults with dyslexia and provide adult literacy training.
So, what exactly is dyslexia?
Dyslexia refers to an impairment in reading and/or spelling accuracy. Many people assume dyslexia is due to a visual impairment (e.g., moving letters, reversal of letters or words). However, dyslexia is actually due to a sound-based deficit. Let’s first consider spelling with the visual below.
First, the child decides they want to spell the word “block”.
Next, in order to do so, they must separate the individual sounds within the word: /b/ - /l/ - /o/ - /k/.
Finally, only then can the child match the corresponding letter to each individual sound.
The process of reading occurs in reverse.
They see the written letters B - L - O - C - K.
They must determine which sounds correspond to or match each letter (or combination of letters, as in the case of “ck”).
Then they must engage in the sound-based skill of phoneme (or sound) blending. They must blend each individual sound together to successfully read the word “block”.
These sound-based skills are called phonological or phonemic awareness. Without these sound-based skills, a child will struggle in learning how to read and spell. Phonological and phonemic awareness deficits are signs of dyslexia and are at the heart of reading disorder. Children and adults with dyslexia have impaired phonological and phonemic awareness skills, which go on to cause reading and spelling impairments.
The good news is that we now have effective ways of assessing phonological/phonemic awareness. Additionally, we now have interventions for phonological/phonemic awareness. These skills should be a component of any high-quality dyslexia testing or dyslexia treatment.
Further, speech therapists are the ideal professional for treating dyslexia. After all, we treat all sorts of sound-based disorders in speech therapy all of the time! Now, you may be thinking:
Is dyslexia treated in schools?
Unfortunately, we rarely see schools diagnosing or treating dyslexia. School psychologists often have the appropriate assessments to make the diagnosis and most schools have a reading specialist. They may identify the child as having a “specific learning disability”. They may also provide a broad reading intervention not specifically targeting dyslexia.
However, schools tend to be allergic to the “d-word”...dyslexia. Kansas, for example, currently has a dyslexia legislative task force to address this very issue. However, we likely will not see the fruits of that labor for years to come. In the meantime...
Connect with one of our private practice speech therapists who specialize in dyslexia today!
Choice Therapy Collective is a directory of speech therapists and is searchable by area of expertise. Only speech therapists who know how to properly conduct dyslexia testing and dyslexia treatment are listed under the “Dyslexia” category. You can also filter by geographic region and insurance company to find a speech therapist who fits your needs best.