Yesterday I attended an interesting workshop on dyslexia. Nancy Young, a reading, spelling, and writing specialist introduced us to the concepts of learning disabilities, phonology, orthography, and brain research. I was surprised to learn that 1 in 5 student’s are dyslexic, and that only 3% are identified. It is crucial that teachers are aware of learning disabilities, and have the tools to identify these student’s. The workshop did emphasize that teacher education programs need to train student teachers in recognizing learning disabilities. She also suggested that teachers need to understand that reading is not a natural process. “Reading is a human invention, not a biological capacity that comes from genetic endowment.” We are not born to read, it is a skill we learn to do. Therefore, it is important for teachers to recognize individuals who are dyslexic and to help them learn.
The next speaker was very interactive. She prepared activities for us to understand myths about dyslexia, and allowed us to experience the frustration that dyslexic students feel while reading. She provided everyone with a reading simulation that allowed us to experience reading as a dyslexic student. I felt very frustrated that some teachers were able to read the paragraph properly (because they were given a sheet with proper words), whereas I was given a sheet with words that were jumbled up. This activity made me recognize the pressure that students with learning disabilities face everyday!