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Treatment for dyslexia consists of using educational tools to enhance the ability to read. Medicines and counseling are usually not used to treat dyslexia. An important part of treatment is educating yourself about the condition. The earlier dyslexia is recognized and addressed, the better. Starting treatment when a child is young can improve reading and may even prevent reading problems in the first years of school.2 But reading will likely not ever be easy for a person with dyslexia.
When a child age 3 years and older has been diagnosed with dyslexia, federal law requires that public school personnel create an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that's tailored to the child's needs. The first step in developing the IEP is talking with your child's school to create a treatment team made up of you, the teacher, and other school personnel, including school counselors and special education teachers.
Your child's personalized IEP will detail specific disabilities, appropriate teaching methods, and goals and objectives for the academic year. It is evaluated at least once a year, with changes made based on your child's progress. Parents have the right to appeal if they do not agree with their child's IEP. Preparing children for further education, employment, and independent living is also required by law. This should start no later than age 16.
If you seek special education assistance for your child, it's handy to keep copies of:
According to a comprehensive U.S. government study on how children learn to read, a combination of educational methods is the most effective way to teach children to read. These methods include teaching phonics—making sure that the beginning reader understands how letters are linked to sounds (phonemes) to form words. Guided oral reading, in which the student reads aloud with guidance and feedback, is also important for developing reading fluency. The child must clearly understand the instructions being given, and the instructions must be repeatable or systematic in order to improve the child's reading abilities.3
Depending on the severity of your child's dyslexia, you may want to have a teacher's aide or tutor available to help your child with schoolwork.
If school staff members suggest that your child be held back a grade (grade retention), talk to your doctor or another professional about your options. Grade retention may not help your child any better than other methods.
Previously, it was thought that covering one eye helped children with dyslexia read better. But the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Ophthalmology found this type of treatment is ineffective because dyslexia is caused by altered brain function and not by altered visual function.4
It is important to know dyslexia is a lifelong condition. Even though early treatment during childhood can help, your child will likely always have to make an extra effort to read.
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