Teaching reading to a dyslexic learner takes time, dedication and hard work. There is no quick fix and if anyone tells you that there is, they are probably trying to sell you something that you don’t need.
It was once believed that a child may outgrow his or her reading struggles. Research has now shown that this is not the case. Dyslexic kids grow up to be dyslexic adults. By intervening early on, the gaps in learning can be mostly avoided as well as the emotional difficulties that inevitably follow being markedly ‘different’ from peers.
Thanks in large part to the amazing research-based reading resources available today, parents and grandparents can teach kids with dyslexia to read by using one of these Orton-Gillingham reading programs. Instruction should be consistent and intense enough to effect change. Learning to read is hard work for kids with dyslexia – even with the right curriculum!
If you are unable to provide the intense, early intervention that your dyslexic child needs, you may want to consider hiring a tutor.
4 Reasons to Hire a Dyslexia Tutor
There are 4 main reasons why I recommend hiring a dyslexia tutor:
- If your family dynamic makes it such that you are unable to teach your kids consistently. There were years when I had a houseful of kids from babies and toddlers to high schoolers. There is only so much time in a day. I was just not able to be consistent enough with my kids to effect the change that was needed. Kids with dyslexia need to be taught at least twice a week but 3 or more times per week is much, much better.
- If teaching your kids is putting a strain on your relationship. I mentioned before that learning to read is very difficult for kids with dyslexia. Add to that 40-60% of kids with dyslexia also have some sort of attention issue like ADD or ADHD and you can imagine the extraordinary hard work and discipline it takes for kids with dyslexia to learn to read. Kids with ADHD often have a low threshold for frustration which can result in melt downs or anxiety. When mom (or dad) is the one causing this distress, it can lead to super high levels of stress in the home. Kids often behave better and try harder for a tutor that they see 2 or 3 times a week than they do for parents. This may not be true for every family, but if it is true for your family – I recommend hiring a certified dyslexia tutor.
- Your child is getting older. If your child is getting older (I’m going to say between 10 and 12 or older) and is still not reading independently it may be time to hire a tutor. There are a few reasons why I say this. One, kids change during the tween years. During the years from 10-14, kids begin to become more self aware. This can happen earlier or later. Kids begin to compare themselves to others and measure themselves against their peers. This is less of an issue for homeschooled kids but it is still an issue. They become acutely aware of their deficits – real or imaginary. It is important for your child to develop a rapport with a qualified, experienced tutor. The second reason is that as much as homeschooling can protect kids from teasing or bullying, older kids know they’re not reading as well as their peers. If not from participating in classes, from Scouts, sports or other activities that may require reading. Even if you teach your child the truth about dyslexia, they will inevitably feel like less than their peers and may lose confidence.
- Your child is not making sufficient progress at home. The reason that your child may not be making sufficient progress could be the severity of their dyslexia. With the variety of underlying causes of learning difficulties, some kids have more of a deficit in working memory, processing speeds and executive function than others. This may result in more profound dyslexia and slower learning. These kids can really benefit from the experience of a certified dyslexia tutor or even better, an educational therapist.
How to Find the Best Dyslexia Tutor for Your Child
How to Know if an Educational Therapist or Tutor is Qualified
If you are considering hiring a professional tutor for your child you will want to know what their qualifications are. An educational therapist should have the right educational background, special training and experience working with dyslexic children. Many of the same principles apply as for choosing an educational tester. Arrange to meet with the potential tutor and ask them about their training, experience and involvement in ongoing training courses that will keep them abreast of the latest research. Any educational therapist you hire should use all of the research-based methods that have been proven to work with kids with dyslexia.
How to Know if a Particular Tutor is the Right Person to Work With Your Child
Hiring a professional tutor for your child is expensive and, more importantly, your child will be putting a lot of faith in the tutor you select. Knowing that the tutor you choose is qualified is important, but if your child does not trust, respect, or like their tutor (or vice versa) your time and money will be wasted.
You must feel that the potential tutor will be able to build a good rapport with you and your child. Educational therapy is necessarily difficult and there will be days that your child will be upset, even angry, at the struggles that they are facing. Having a tutor that your child feels is working alongside him or her, and believing in them, will help them to be able to persevere through the difficult times. Meet and interview any potential tutor to see if their personal style and expertise is a good match for your child.
Resources for Finding a Dyslexia Tutor
To find a reputable educational therapist in your area, ask your local school, homeschool group or, better yet, another family with a dyslexic child who is experiencing success with a local tutor. You can also contact one of the following national organizations for a referral:
How about you? Have you hired a dyslexia tutor?
Some of the information from this post was taken from my book, Dyslexia 101. Click the image below for more information or to purchase.