Tag Archives: Discrepancy

Ann was “not bad enough” to qualify

When you homeschool your child, you can do Barton tutoring every day and close the gap much faster — as this parent shared: 

Thank you for making a way for me to help my daughter, Ann. We just finished the entire Barton Reading & Spelling System.

When my daughter was in 5th grade, she was diagnosed with dyslexia. But she was “not bad enough” to qualify for any special help in the school. Yet she was falling further and further behind each year.

I was a stay-at-home mom, so I did not have the financial resources to hire a private tutor.

Instead, I pulled her out of her full-time public school, and found a hybrid school that has your program, The Summit Academy in Colorado. I never would have had the confidence to even try to help Ann without your “scripted” lesson plans, and her teacher, Angela Dormish, who gave Ann your posttest at the end of each level.

It took us two years, but we finished. I feel closer to Ann than I have in years.

Ann will now go back into the classroom equipped with the skills she needs.

I write this letter through grateful tears. May God richly bless you for your incredible work.

Becky Worthley
Westminster, CO

Do Not Wait

Schools often tell parents of struggling students to wait, as this parent shared:

I need some help to decide what to do for my eight year old son. He is finishing second grade, but he has never read at grade level.

The principal wanted him to repeat first grade, but my husband and I refused, so he was sent to second grade. He has worked with the reading specialist one-on-one for two years with no improvement.

I asked his teacher last year if he could be dyslexic. She told me that was not possible. She claimed he just had a behavior issue. I disagree and feel that he lost a year because of her poor attitude.

He was diagnosed with visual acuity issues and Irlen Syndrome, but after eight months with no improvement and horrible migraines, we decided to involve our pediatrician. He sent us to a pediatric ophthalmologist at a university who said my son does NOT have a vision problem it all. His said my son has dyslexia, and he felt my son’s headaches were caused by the tension and stress of not being able to do the work.

Yet he recommended we wait until he is 9 to be tested by the school because the gap will be greater.

His school has promised they will test him for Special Ed services next year.

The problem is I don’t want the gap to get any larger. I want to help him now!

What should I do?

If you know or suspect your child has dyslexia, waiting is the worst thing you can do – because it will not go away. Your child will only get further and further behind.

Every parent who has contacted me during the past 20 years wished they had started providing the right type of tutoring sooner.

So do not wait for the school to test him. Start tutoring him now using the Barton Reading & Spelling System or any other good Orton-Gillingham based system. Tutor him every day during the summer – while the pressure of school, homework, and tests is gone. You will be amazed how much his skills can improve with daily tutoring.

And if you think that qualifying for special ed services is the answer, read on.

A school psychologist shared:

From what I see, the biggest hurdle for these students is what happens AFTER the students are placed in special ed.

This parent shared:

I have a 12 year old son who is in 6th grade.

He attended a private Christian school until 4th grade. They noticed his reading struggles in second grade and put him in a reading lab. It was worthless.

We got his eyes checked, and the doctor said he had a tracking problem. We spent more than $ 2,000 on vision therapy and eye exercises that did not help with his reading.

He has gotten private tutoring, speech therapy, and gone to a number of tutoring centers. We have spent countless amounts of money on him. Everyone told us he would either grow out of it, or he would learn to compensate.

In 4th grade, we moved him to a public school, hoping to get more services for him. He did qualify for special education due to his reading. We thought we finally had the answer.

Wrong. He is now in 6th grade, yet he is still reading at a 2nd grade level and is a horrible speller.

They work with him one-on-one in the resource room, and they allow him to listen to books so he can keep up with what his classmates are reading. But he still is not learning how to read, write, or spell. I am soooooo frustrated.

I have cried. I have been angry. I have been humbled. I have prayed and prayed and prayed. God finally gave me peace about not pushing him so much and not being too hard on him. But he is not getting any better. He studies the weekly spelling list for hours and hours, yet he forgets the words by the following week.

Yet he gets A’s and B’s on his report cards, which amazes me. Our public education system has become a joke. He is in 6th grade and can’t read or write anywhere near grade level, yet they are giving him A’s and B’s.

There must be so many other children who are also slipping through the cracks, and so many parents at a loss.

I would like to start tutoring him using the Barton System, but he absolutely refuses to try one more program or tutor – because in the past, they have all done more damage than good.

So, parents, get your child the right type of tutoring yourself – as early as possible. It makes a huge difference, as this parent shared:

Dear Mrs. Barton:

Thank you so much for helping us help our daughter. We learned about Learning Ally through you. We learned about classroom accommodations through you. And we found a great Barton tutor through you.

It has been a joy to watch my daughter grow from being a reluctant 3rd grader to an engaged 4th grader. She still has a lot of work with her tutor, and we will have many other challenges, but knowing there are resources that we can use to help her be successful is an unbelievable comfort.

And this parent shared:

Susan, I have to thank you for all you do. The support and knowledge you have shared has helped me with my daughter in so many ways.

Two years ago (after we gave up on the school) we had her tested privately and discovered she has dyslexia and ADD. That’s why she would never read out loud in class, or even to us.

That was then…..

Yesterday (after two years of Barton tutoring and appropriate accommodations) she stood in front of the entire school …classmates, teachers and parents … and delivered an amazing (and confident) speech about why she should be SCA president.

She WON the election!

I knew she was special and had many gifts, but yesterday she proved it to herself and her school. She said “challenges make you stronger and wiser” (which is what her speech was about).

My husband and I sat back last night thinking of the last two years, and we realized how hard she has worked…but she never gave up.

Kids with dyslexia are tough. I am not sure I could do what she has done, but I am glad I was there to encourage her along the way.

Thank you for all your help and guidance. We couldn’t have done it without your support!

The problem with RTI

Many children with dyslexia will not qualify for special education services during their early school years. But these days, they almost always get put into Tier 2 or Tier 3 of RTI. 

One problem with RTI is how they measure “improvement,” as this mother shares:

I am the mother of an 9 year old boy. I want him tested for dyslexia. But the school says they don’t do dyslexia testing.

Instead, they gave him a test to determine if he needed special education services. But he passed the assessments and the IQ part, so they dropped it. They concluded he was just immature for his age and recommended retaining him, which we did.

Yet he still reads below grade level. At the beginning of his second time through 2nd grade, he was reading at a beginning first grade level. We are now at the end of the year, and his reading has only improve by 3 months — to a middle of first grade level.

To me, he should have improved more, given that he has had an entire extra year of PALS plus Tier 2 of RTI. Yet the school claims because he improved, he will not continue to get RTI next year.

Parents, never accept “some” improvement as good enough.  If your child is not making more than one year of gain in one year of intervention, the gap is not closing.  It’s getting bigger.

Another problem with RTI is that the right intervention is stopped too soon — before a student has finished the intervention program, as happened to this student:

I have been concerned about my son since kindergarten, and I have fought every year to have the school test him for a possible learning disability or dyslexia.

The school finally tested him in second grade, and although it showed some struggles, they said his scores were not bad enough to classify him as having a learning disability. Yet he struggled significantly with reading (he could not sound out any real or nonsense words — and messed up the vowels), read very slowly, and had terrible spelling.

His handwriting was so poor that I hired a private OT to work with him during third grade.

In fourth grade, he was put into Tier 2 of their RTI program. He began to get small group instruction using the Wilson Reading System, which is when he finally began to enjoy reading. Yet at the end of the year, because he had improved, he no longer qualified for RTI.

Our son is now 11 and in the middle of 6th grade at a junior high school. Although he will read if we push him hard, he refuses to read out loud any more (and he does have to read a passage several times before he comprehends it), his spelling continues to be horrible (even the simple high frequency words), and he struggles in math because he still does not know his multiplication tables.

Despite that, believe it or not, he has mostly B’s and A’s on his report card.

Yet he now resists all attempts to help him, and he has emotionally shut down.

We fear that as the demands of school increase, he will not be able to survive the challenges.

Parents, if you know or suspect your child has dyslexia but their school is not (or is no longer) providing the right type of intervention, then get it for them after school . . . by either hiring a tutor who uses an Orton-Gillingham based system or by getting the Barton Reading & Spelling System and tutoring your own child.

Dyslexia is inherited

Many people are still not aware that dyslexia is inherited. It strongly runs in family trees.

That lack of awareness causes this:

After 3 years of trying to figure out my daughter’s learning challenges, I am now convinced that she is dyslexic.

I am sick to my stomach that although I knew my husband is dyslexic, I never made the connection. I did not know it is an inherited condition.

My very bright daughter will be entering 6th grade soon, reading 3 years below her grade level.

And it causes this:

I am dyslexic my father was dyslexic my older son is dyslexic. could my 9 yr old son be dyslexic.

we have been trying to get an IEP sence frist grade (he in 3rd now) we where told unless he has failing grades for 2 consexative years no IEP.

i cant help him with his school work.

im afraid thay are pushing him through school and he will end up an out of control teen — like me.

Parents, if you know dyslexia runs in your family tree, and your second or third grader has terrible spelling when writing sentences and stories, and is a slow inaccurate reader who cannot easily sound out unknown words, take action now.

I just found your website today. I am the mom of a second grader and I think he may be dyslexic because my son’s father, aunt, and grandmother are all dyslexic.

I questioned his kindergarten and first grade teachers about dyslexia. Each teacher assured me he was age appropriate in his learning.

But towards the middle of first grade, he scored below the average on the DIBELS test and qualified for reading intervention. I signed him up for it, thinking it would help.

I also worked with him all summer in an attempt to get him up to the same level as his classmates.

Despite that, his second grade teacher expressed concern about his reading, writing, and spelling on his progress report.

So I took him to a center for an assessment. He scored low on phonemic awareness and fluency, but very high on comprehension. He puzzled the assessor because even though he did not read the passage very accurately, he was able to answer the comprehension questions. He also scored high in listening comprehension.

Yet reading, spelling, and writing are so exhausting to my child that it is painful to watch. He wants to read, he is motivated to read, but he isn’t reading the words. He does seem to know some sight words but he mostly scans the page looking for clues and guesses at reading.

I am very interested in learning how to teach my child. My background is not in teaching, but I am more than willing to work hard, and I am very motivated.

Wants a second opinion

Children with dyslexia will often NOT qualify for special education services when tested in first or second (or even third) grade. Yet as the following parent shared, the classic warning signs will already be there, and that’s exactly when a child should start getting the right type of tutoring. 

I am looking for someone who can give me a second opinion on test results of an evaluation done with my 7 year old son, who will be starting 2nd grade in 2 weeks.

First grade was a hard year for him – lots of tantrums and self-esteem problems. We could not figure out where all his anger was coming from until last December, when he started to fall behind in reading. In February it dawned on me that he might have dyslexia. I felt we needed an evaluation so we could start helping him effectively right away and not lose valuable years of reading training.

We had him privately evaluated by an educational psychologist to check for a learning disability because the public school said he was not doing poorly enough for them to do it.

The examiner found a “severe discrepancy” between reading achievement (23 %ile) and IQ (75 %ile), but he did not find a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes, which is why we did not receive a diagnosis of a learning disability.

He did test quite low in auditory processing (19 %ile). He actually scored even lower (at the 1 %ile) in the word discrimination subtest, but the examiner thought that might have been a fluke – because he scored so high in thinking and reasoning (91 %ile) and in the visual-spatial stuff (91 %ile).

The examiner felt my son was a very bright boy and that he would catch up in reading as he matured. He claimed his tantrums were just a cry for attention.

Despite that, my husband and I are still concerned. I really would like someone else to look at his scores for a second opinion because I have read several books and researched dyslexia online – and I see lots of the warning signs in my son.

Is it possible that he still could have dyslexia, but is not far enough behind in school yet to get a diagnosis?

I would really like his teacher to realize he is not being lazy or not paying attention.

I also want to be able to give my son a reason for his difficulties so he’ll know he’s not dumb. We have told him how smart he is, of course, but when he sees how well other kids are reading, he gets frustrated and feels stupid.

Don’t you wish all teachers did this?

Dear Ms. Barton,

I just finished watching the Dyslexia: Symptoms & Solutions video on your website.

I am a permanently certified Elementary Teacher with a Master’s degree in Reading & Literacy, but I am angry and embarrassed that I received no instruction or information about dyslexia in six years of college. You are absolutely right that we need to get this information into college prep courses and out to teachers in our local districts.

Last year, I had a bright girl who struggled with reading. Her reading assessments made little sense. Her reading rate was very slow and her fluency was low, but her reading comprehension was excellent. I recommended her for testing, but the school’s testing showed there was not a large enough discrepancy to qualify for special education or even accommodations. So she struggled with reading the rest of the year, despite working very hard. The obvious difference between her intelligence and her reading struggles continued to bother me.

I ran into her family a few months ago, and I asked about her reading progress. Her mom was worried because her daughter had made no progress. The mom also shared that she, herself, had struggled with reading as a child, and she wondered if her children inherited it from her. She claimed she had been telling teachers of her concern since her daughter had been in first grade, but everyone assured her it was just developmental.

When the mom suggested that her daughter might be dyslexic, I dismissed it. I mean, with my educational background, I should know about something like that, right?

Fortunately, I did the one thing those other teachers failed to do: I looked into it anyway. As I began my research, I was disappointed to find only 2 books about dyslexia at our local bookstore. But one was Dr. Sally Shaywitz’s Overcoming Dyslexia. I was amazed at how much I learned about dyslexia. And then I found your website and learned even more.

I now realize I’ve had several other students who also exhibited this odd mix of reading struggles and high intelligence, and I continue to worry about them still today.

I have decided to write an article for NEA Today (The National Education Association magazine). I recently searched for “dyslexia” on the magazine’s website and received zero responses. This is a magazine which is read by many teachers, but it appears they have not had one article in recent history about this learning difference.

That just doesn’t make sense when 20% of our population is dyslexic and many are not even aware of it.

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