Determining if a dyslexia help program is the best one for your family involves careful research and evaluation. Dyslexia is a neurological condition that affects reading and writing skills, and it’s essential to choose a program that is evidence-based and provides effective support.
Why Choosing a Dyslexia Program Can be Hard
I distinctly remember the early days of our dyslexia journey. I felt overwhelmed by the diagnosis not only because I knew nothing about dyslexia or how to teach the kids who have it, but it was also completely overwhelming to search through the myriads of programs claiming to be the best program for dyslexia.
I’m sorry to say that there a lot of voices out there making false claims about their programs, even preying on the insecurities of parents, knowing that their fears for their kids will motivate them to spend a lot of money to help them – especially if they claim to cure them of their dyslexia or make their brains think like a traditional learner.
Red Flags When Looking for the Best Dyslexia Help Program
Before I share how to choose the best dyslexia help program for your kids, I want to share some red flags to watch out for when choosing an effective dyslexia program. If you notice one or more of these red flags, proceed with extreme caution!
- Lack of transparency: A program that is not forthcoming about its teaching methods may not be trustworthy. Programs that use this approach often make claims that their program is unlike any other program and or more effective than other programs without actually telling you what their method is. If there was a new, better, faster way of helping kids with dyslexia, they would not be the sole proprietors of that information. The research and information would be widespread. Legitimate programs should be open and transparent about their approach.
- Promises of quick fixes or guarantees: Be cautious of programs that make unrealistic promises, such as claiming to cure dyslexia or guaranteeing rapid results. Dyslexia is caused by a different brain wiring that results in a different way of processing information. Small changes in brain wiring have been shown to take place with consistent use of the Orton Gillingham approach to teaching reading but people with dyslexia will always have their unique brain wiring that actually is the cause of some pretty impressive strengths. Improvement in reading, writing, and spelling, while completely possible for everyone with dyslexia, typically require time and consistent effort.
- High upfront costs: Some programs may require large upfront fees or pressure you into making a financial commitment without offering a clear explanation of their services. If you are considering a high cost program, be certain that it isn’t accompanied by more of these red flags and that it meets the requirement of an effective, legitimate program listed below. Legitimate programs should have transparent pricing structures.
- Lack of individualization: Dyslexia varies from person to person, and effective programs should offer individualized instruction tailored to each student’s needs. Be skeptical of one-size-fits-all approaches.
- Pressure tactics: Programs that use high-pressure sales tactics or create a sense of urgency to enroll in their services should be approached with caution. This red flag often includes preying on parents fears; inferring that their child will suffer and never find success as an adult if parents don’t do something immediately. This is simply NOT true! Legitimate programs should allow you to make informed decisions at your own pace.
- Lack of testimonials or independent reviews: Be wary of programs that do not provide any testimonials or reviews independent of the program itself from satisfied participants or their families. This could indicate a lack of positive feedback or success stories.
Assessing Dyslexia Help Programs
Here are some steps to help you assess the legitimacy of any dyslexia help program:
- Consult with experts: Seek advice from professionals in the field of dyslexia, such as educators, psychologists, or speech and language therapists that actually work with kids with dyslexia. They can recommend reputable programs and provide insights into their effectiveness.
- Research the program’s credentials: Look for information about the program’s creators, developers, and instructors. Check if they have relevant qualifications and experience in dyslexia intervention. Legitimate programs typically have professionals with expertise in the field.
- Evidence-based approaches: Legitimate dyslexia programs should be based on evidence-based practices and research. Look for programs that have been tested and proven effective through scientific studies and peer-reviewed research. It’s okay to try a method that does not have research behind it if you feel it might be a good fit for your unique child but evidence-based programs are generally better.
- User reviews and testimonials: Read reviews and testimonials from individuals who have participated in the program. While anecdotal evidence is not conclusive, it can provide insights into the program’s effectiveness and user satisfaction. Also, look for independent reviews from sources outside of the program itself.
- Transparent methodology: Legitimate programs should provide clear information about their teaching methods and approaches. They should be transparent about the strategies used to help individuals with dyslexia improve their reading and writing skills, ideally linking back to the research their method is based on.
- Individualized instruction: Dyslexia varies from person to person, so a legitimate program should offer individualized instruction tailored to each student’s needs. Avoid one-size-fits-all approaches.
- Progress monitoring: A legitimate program should have a system in place for assessing and tracking the progress of participants. Regular assessments help ensure that the program is effective and that adjustments can be made as needed.
- Cost and affordability: Be cautious of programs that require high upfront costs. Legitimate programs should provide clear pricing structures and reasonable fees for their services.
- Promise unrealistic results: Be wary of programs that promise to ‘cure’ your child of dyslexia or eliminate their dyslexia. Dyslexia is not something that can be cured. The unique brain wiring of people with dyslexia comes with both strengths and weaknesses. All dyslexic people can learn to read with the right methods, but curing them of dyslexia is thinking about it in the wrong way.
- Get recommendations: Ask for recommendations from teachers, special education professionals, or dyslexia support groups. They may be able to point you toward trusted programs or resources. Local parents have been a great resource for our family over the years, recommending reputable tutors, therapists, and programs in our area.
- Visit or contact the program: If possible, visit the program in person or contact them to ask questions about their approach, curriculum, and outcomes. Legitimate programs should be willing to provide information and address your concerns.
- Trust your instincts: If something seems too good to be true or raises red flags, trust your instincts and proceed with caution. Any program you choose should align with what you know about dyslexia. Read this to learn: What is Dyslexia?
It’s essential to thoroughly research and vet any dyslexia help program before enrolling in it or investing your time and money. Seek recommendations from trusted professionals and organizations in the field and ask questions to ensure that the program aligns with evidence-based practices for dyslexia intervention. Trust your instincts and be cautious if something about a program raises concerns.
For help in choosing the best dyslexia program for your family, check out our Resources Page or comment below with questions.