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9th grader with Dyslexia - Need guidance with finding help for him?


youthmentor1 November 15, 2009

I recently started mentoring a young student in the Kansas City, KS area that says he suffers from Dyslexia. I meet with him once a week for 1 hr. I have been told by his teachers that they are concerned about his grades. I am not sure if he is receiving any special type of education but it seems that he is being assigned school work like any of the other students. I do not know anythingabout Dyslexia but I assume that if he does have it, there lies the problem. I do know that he has a very difficult time spelling words and reading and I am not surprised that it is the cause of his struggles. Are there any resources out there that I can look up to assist him or tutors in the area that may be able to offer free help. I will ask the school more questions about what they offer in terms of special education for someone like this young man. I can tell he is very bright and has potential to succeed but may need more help than what I can offer. I appreciate your help.

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healthy11 November 15, 2009

Hi. I have a bright teen with dyslexia (reading issues), as well as writing difficulties (dysgraphia) and ADHD. I'm happy to try and advise you, but I'll be blunt...without being the boy's legal guardian, I'm not sure what you'll be able to find out in terms of dealing with the school. You may end up mentoring his parent(s) so that they can get the school to do their part. Even in terms of seeking tutoring you won't be able to set things up without his parents approval(some groups such as the Masons/Scottish Rite offer specialized free reading tutoring in certain communities.)

The fact that the boy knows he has dyslexia sounds like he's had some kind of evaluation in the past. You need to find out when it was, and who did the testing, and if he then was found to be eligible for an IEP (Individualized Education Plan.) There is a whole "lingo" and unique terminology used when dealing with schools, and believe it or not, the term dyslexia isn't recognized, but "SLD" or Specific Learning Disability in reading IS an IEP eligibility category. I could point you to all sorts of websites that explain a student's legal rights to special education (ie,, and the Educational Laws Group here at but it would be overwhelming all at once.
Instead, it might help you to get a better idea of what kind of challenges a student with dyslexia might face, to look at and join Greatschools Learning and Attention Difficulties Group at


youthmentor1 November 16, 2009

Thank you for your feedback. It is very helpful. I will talk to him next week during our weekly meeting and try to find out more information.


mikepeterson November 25, 2009

I head a school in San Diego called The Winston School. It is designed for students who struggle in traditional settings, often due to learning differences such as dyslexia. Absent the kind of parental support the previous person mentions, I would suggest you tailor your tutoring strategies to the assumption that he needs the kind of support these students need. Ldonline and are both good sources for such teaching strategies.


healthy11 November 25, 2009

mikepeterson, Schwablearning is no longer in operation ~ Greatschools has taken over its articles and archives, and many of the individuals who used to participate in their forum (like me) now contribute here. See and
Another good forum is
Unfortunately, while ldonline articles may be fine, it is not a moderated forum, and there are some "extreme" posters who seem to promote their personal agendas, rather than reasonable logic.


TeacherParent November 30, 2009

If he has dyslexia - which seems likely - and reads slowly or poorly and writes the same - he cannot succeed in school. His work will be judged in relation to the work of students who do not have dyslexia and his will be found wanting every time. Such students never know success and the damage to their self-esteem is profound.
How fortunate is this young man to have you. Help him with his homework as much and as often as you can - don't hesitate to let him talk while you type up what he says. If he allows it, don't be afraid to help overmuch - he has much to overcome.

Reading tutoring might certainly help but his dilemma remains the same - how to keep up in school while his skills are catching up? He can't do that on his own and his homework should certainly be modified.

Does he have a computer at home? That might help and a lot. Can you work virtually via computer with him on any other nights?

And what would also help is having him understand that this is Not his fault.


youthmentor1 December 1, 2009

Thank you for the advice. He does have a computer and it helps him quite a bit. I am just learning more about his challenges and hope to find out more in future meetings.


Smacdonald December 1, 2009

Thank you for helping this student! Search for Visual Spatial learning. Dyslexics tend to be more visual learners, schools tend to teach auditory sequential. Incorporate pictures and visual stimuli. Teach this student to learn how to use this talent to his advantage. When listening to lectures, he should concentrate on forming images in his head. He should focus more on recording notes rather than struggle to write them down. For reading, have him use tools available to him such as books on tape. Spelling, what worked for my son was breaking a word down by syllables and use a different color marker for each syllable. He should go through testing at school also which most offer for free. If the teachers are concerned, that is a good sign that the school may be willing to do the testing and get him reading help.


Michele4031 December 7, 2009

The orton Gillingham program works great with children with Dyslexia. A teacher must be trained in teaching this style of reading.


snapoli December 12, 2009

Good luck with finding help in the schools across the country. In NJ the word "Dyslexia" is forbidden in their IEPs! The schools know that they must devote more budget dollars to remediate dyslexics and therefore avoid the word or subject at all. The only true way to remediate or help them to advance with reading or writing skills is a phonemic, evidence-based reading program with fidelity to design. These programs that have shown successful with dyslexics are Orten Gillingham, Wilson Method and Lindamood Bell reading programs. Most are offshoots of Orten-Gillingham and very expensive to get tutoring out of school for them. My advice is to go to the International Dyslexia Association website and educate yourself about them and use their "fact" sheets to advocate for your child in the schools. At age 14, 9th grade, it is very difficult to get the school to cooperate with the proper accommodations. You need a "certified" instructor/tutor to advance their reading/writing skills. Don't give up just reach out to anyone at The Children's Learning Centers offer free tutoring as a charitable gift to dyslexic children nationwide sponsored by the Masonics. Look them up on the web in your area: They helped my son age 11 last year but we are on a wait list this year.


youthmentor1 December 12, 2009

Thank you very much for your response. This was extremely helpful.

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