Dyslexia

  • Medical Author:
    David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP

    Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

What type of treatment is available for dyslexia?

Before any treatment is started, an evaluation must be done to determine the child's specific area of disability. While there are many theories about successful treatment for dyslexia, there is no actual cure for it. The school will develop a plan with the parent to meet the child's needs. The plan may be implemented in a special education setting or in the regular classroom. An appropriate treatment plan will focus on strengthening the child's weaknesses while utilizing the strengths. A direct approach may include a systematic study of phonics. Techniques designed to help all the senses work together efficiently can also be used. Computers are powerful tools for these children and should be utilized as much as possible. The child should be taught compensation and coping skills. Attention should be given to optimum learning conditions and alternative avenues for student performance.

In addition to what the school has to offer, there are alternative treatment options available outside the school setting. Although alternative treatments are commonly recommended, there is limited research supporting the effectiveness of these treatments. In addition, many of these treatments are very costly, and it may be easy for frustrated parents to be misled by something that is expensive and sounds attractive.

Perhaps the most important aspect of any treatment plan is attitude. Children will be influenced by the attitudes of the adults around them. Dyslexia should not become an excuse for a child to avoid written work. Because the academic demands on a child with dyslexia may be great and the child may tire easily, work increments should be broken down into appropriate chunks. Frequent breaks should be built into class and homework time. Reinforcement should be given for efforts as well as achievements. Alternatives to traditional written assignments should be explored and utilized. Teachers are learning to deliver information to students in a variety of ways that are not only more interesting but helpful to students who may learn best by different techniques. Interactive technology is providing interesting ways for students to get feedback on what they have learned, in contrast to traditional paper-pencil tasks.

What is the prognosis for a person with dyslexia?

The prognosis for children with dyslexia is variable and dependent on the cause. In the case of primary dyslexia, the earlier the diagnosis is made and intervention started, the better the outcome. It is also important to focus on the child's self-esteem, since dealing with dyslexia can be extremely frustrating. Lastly it is important to recognize that many well-known and successful individuals have suffered from dyslexia, including Albert Einstein and Steven Spielberg, just to name a couple.

More information about dyslexia

For further information regarding dyslexia, ask your child's pediatrician for assistance, contact your local public school district office, or one of the following:

Dyslexia Institutes of America

Learning Disabilities Association of America

Council for Exceptional Children

Learning Disabilities Online.org.

REFERENCES:

von Hahn, L. E. MD. "Specific learning disabilities in children: Clinical features" UpToDate. Jan 25, 2015
<http://www.uptodate.com/contents/specific-learning-disabilities-in-children-clinical-features>

Crouch, Eric R. MD. "Reading Learning Disorder. Medscape. Aug 07, 2013
<http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1835801-overview>

Alexander, Ann, MD. "Current Status of Treatments for Dyslexia: Critical Review." Medscape.
<http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/495637>

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/12/2015

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