Homeschooling with Dyslexia

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It strikes again. Dyslexia. This time, though, it’s official. If you’ve been a long time – and I mean, a really long time – blog reader, you may remember way back when, when we had Brianna screened with a really extensive eye exam.

They discovered that she had tracking problems and some auditory processing delays, but they stopped just short of saying that she had dyslexia because “true dyslexia is a neurological problem…” blah, blah, blah.

But, I knew.

Still, being the painfully honest person that I am, I often find myself qualifying Brianna’s dyslexia with the words, “mom-diagnosed.”

When I found out about Lexercise’s online dyslexia testing, I immediately called Josh to the computer to take the free screening. I sat beside him as he took it, clicking a button onscreen to indicate if he’d read a word correctly or incorrectly. He was doing much better than I expected…in fact, I really thought the screening would indicate that he didn’t need further testing.

The Free Screening Process

The screening starts with a Z-Screener that tests phonemic awareness based on how well a child can read one-syllable nonsense words.

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Then, it looks at reading level by having the child read sight words up to his grade level.

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His results? Further testing needed in each of the two areas. Due to his continuing reading struggles and the fact that I’ve long suspected that he has dyslexia, the results really weren’t a surprise other than the fact that he seemed to be doing better than expected on the screening.

Just in case you’re thinking, “Yeah, right. I bet the screener shows that every kid needs further testing,” I know several people whose kids took it and it indicated that they did not need help.

Because the screening showed that Josh would benefit from a more in-depth screening, plus the fact that he has always shown symptoms of dyslexia, I was eager to try the full evaluation.

Setting Up the Evaluation

The most complicated part of the full evaluation process was signing up for the appointment. Just so you know, should you decide your child needs a full evaluation, the red boxes on the calendar indicate the week that you’re looking at on the appointment calendar. The dark blue boxes on the appointment calendar (on the right) show the available times. You click those to schedule.

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Once I got that figured out, the rest was a breeze. Our evaluator emailed me to confirm our appointment and set up a time to talk by phone. When he called, he asked me to tell him, in my own words, what was going on with Josh. Then, he let me know that he’d be emailing me some forms and told me what I’d need to do with them.

The forms included a permission form with some privacy information and a Word doc that I was to fill out, which included some basic information about Josh, including the background history that I had verbally given over the phone. I just had to fill out and return those forms.

We also set up a time to test the equipment – Skype (which I’d never used before), headset/microphone, and a webcam (which I don’t have – it wasn’t necessary for the evaluation, but we’ll need one if we decide to pursue therapy), so that we didn’t waste time with technical problems during the evaluation.

The Full Dyslexia Evaluation

The evaluation itself takes about an hour and a half, plus 15 minutes later on for the child to complete a writing sample. If your child is anything like mine and the thought of doing a “reading test” for an hour and a half doesn’t exactly sound appealing, bribery does have its place. (Josh may or may not have gotten a new video game in exchange for complete cooperation with no complaining.)

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I was very impressed with how thorough the evaluation was, along with the fact that it was tailored to Josh’s needs based on the information I had included in the background report.

I also really appreciated how personable and encouraging our evaluator was. He told me that he works with a lot of homeschooling families. He treated me as a colleague and never talked down to me or made me feel like he thought Josh could receive more help in a public school setting. He also went out of his way to make Josh feel comfortable.

The evaluation started with a vocabulary section that included naming a variety of pictures (Josh often has trouble with word recall) and synonyms.

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Next was a rapid naming/listening section, which tested for phonemic awareness. It included naming letters as quickly as possible, isolating phonemes, and blending words.

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Finally, there were some reading activities (sight words and a couple of short passages), followed by some spelling words and logical/critical thinking.

The Evaluation Results

Following the screening, we set an appointment for our evaluator to go over the results with me.

The results, of course, indicated that Josh does, indeed, have neurological dyslexia. Not a surprise, but sobering, nonetheless. Our evaluator went over each aspect of the assessment with me. He explained what each test measured, what the averages were, where Josh tested, and what that meant.

It was a surreal feeling. Some of the things he mentioned made me feel as if he’d been a fly on the wall for the last several years of our homeschooling life. I found myself nodding along as he explained some of the things that Josh is doing. Yes, I am very familiar with this symptom or that. I’ve seen it in action for the last six years.

I also really appreciated the fact that the evaluator was able to see past the spelling and grammar errors to recognize Josh’s incredible creativity in his writing sample. He was very quick to point out that dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence, but is simply the way the brain is wired.

He did recommend therapy with Lexercise – and we’re very seriously considering it – and he also suggested a book that I might be interested in reading to help me better understand dyslexia. Though we’ve been dealing with it for quite some time with Brianna, hers isn’t as severe as Josh’s, so this is a whole new ballgame for me.

Our evaluator was also wonderful about answering all my questions and even followed up with an email about a couple of them.

I was very pleased with the entire evaluation process – you know, other than the part where we now have to figure out how to help my son overcome dyslexia. It was thorough, personalized, and enlightening.

If you suspect that your child might have dyslexia, I encourage you to try the free dyslexia screening to see if he or she might benefit from the full evaluation. Whether you decide to pursue therapy or not, sometimes it helps just knowing for sure what you’re dealing with.

To keep up with all that Lexercise has to offer, along with the latest developments in dyslexia therapy, you can follow Lexercise on Facebook and Twitter.

You might also want to read Maureen’s review at Spell Outloud. I know that she had a child who was evaluated, as well.

I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I also received monetary compensation for the time invested in the review process. The opinions expressed are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.

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21 Comments

  1. Sounds like a GREAT program to help parents and children with dyslexia without requiring them to spend all of their money for college and go into debt!!!!!

  2. Hey,
    My son also was diagnosed with dyslexia this past school year.  Like you, I had suspected it as well. It was a great relief for him to have a name to go along with his difficulties. I found a wilson language tutor to help him with his reading difficulties and it has been wonderful. I also watched every video available on susan barton's site( https://www.dys-add.com/)about dyslexia. They are so full of information you might want to check them out. 
    Blessings,
    Kim ~ littlesanctuary.com

  3. Wow! This looks like a wonderful service for home schoolers!! I only wish they had a French version!! My son reads French grade 1/2 level.

  4. This looks like a very professional and thorough test. Sprite is always saying she has dyslexia. But she did not show up as having problems through Lexercise's screener. I think she does have that visual-spatial, creative bent that makes reading a bit more difficult, but that it is not to the degree of dyslexia. Anyway, I appreciated the free screener to reassure me that she does not have dyslexia. I trust that God will provide a way to help Josh compensate for his unique brain wiring. 🙂

  5. I took this assessment test with my 2nd grader. While she passed it, the results still amazed me. I had no idea how well of a reader she is. Thanks for sharing this. I think it's a great tool to use whether you suspect your child has a learning disability or not. I learned that Lily is at 98% accuracy and at an 11th grade reading level.

  6. I'll have to look at this. We just started the Barton reading system that was highly recommended. It is tedious, to say the least! But I anticipate that we will get results. 

  7. Thanks for the review. We've done vision therapy, auditory therapy, occupational therapy.  We've seen a developmental pediatrician, and evaluated by a psychologist.  We sort of have a diagnosis of dyslexia, but not really.  She is 10.  Do you mind if I ask how old your son is?  I am going to check out the video and see if she needs further eval. She is doing better, but all of learning is hard. Every new concept, whether it be math or language is a difficult process to get it to stick.  I guess I really don't "know" what neurological dyslexia is.  

  8. My son is 12. I've known that he's had dyslexia for several years, but it's…nice isn't really the word, but I guess you know what I mean…to finally have an official diagnosis. The book that was recommended to me is Overcoming Dyslexia by Dr. Sally Shaywitz. You might find it helpful.

  9. We love Lexercise too! I was first exposed to it last summer @ the local homeschooling convention. After a lot of prayer we tested 2 of our sons and ended up enrolling both in the program. The weekly appt with the therapist are so phenominal and I've seen such a giant leap from where we were a yr ago. Can't recommend this program enough!

  10. I have enjoyed reading your readers' comments almost as much as I enjoyed your terrific blog post, Homeschooling with Dyslexia!

    Parents of struggling readers and writers (and I was one of them!) are absolutely the most powerful change-agents a child has, but it is darn hard to help your child if you can't even get a clear, specific diagnosis!  To a large extent, the way public education (and federal law) has approached "learning disabilities" has created a "mess", and has made it more difficult to get a clear, specific diagnosis.  (For more on that see:  https://support.lexercise.com/entries/20697306-the-learning-disability-mess )  

    Fortunately, dyslexic kids are typically technology wizards and the computer is a language machine. It is a new day…at least in home schools!

  11. My 7 year old son was just diagnosed- we did testing through a paid, private tutor (wish I had known about this program) and also with the school system (which made me certain I will never, ever send him or my other two, to public school) and we had suspected for over a year. I was wondering, have you heard anything about the Barton program? I heard her speak last week and was surprised at the new info I learned (I thought at that point I had read all there was to know) It's very expensive though….and so far it seems like most programs are. I'm heading over to the Lexercise site to see their cost. I Just glanced down and saw where Kim suggested Susan Barton's site and I do too- tons of information. http://www.brightsolutions.us 

  12. My daughter, 8, is dyslexic. After doing a ton of research (including reading the Shaywitz book and seeing Susan Barton speak in person – both great resources) we have settled on a two-prong approach.

    For reading, we are doing Easyread http://www.easyread.com I cannot speak highly enough of this online reading program. My daughter has done it for 9 months and it has literally re-wired her brain to read correctly.

    For spelling, we are doing The Logic of English http://www.thelogicofenglish.com Again, amazing program and I heard the author speak in person at a homeschooling conference where I was blown away by her approach (based on Orton-Gillingham, which both Sally Shaywitz and Susan Barton endorse).

    Anyway, the combination of these two resources has proved to be fantastic. My daughter is making huge strides and in another 6 months, should be at grade level for reading and spelling.

  13. We have seen a number of families who have spent thousands of dollars on vision therapy, to no avail but then find us.

    I encourage any family considering vision therapy to take the time to see this webinar by Pediatric Ophthalmologist, William O. Young, MD discussing The Role of the Eyes in Reading Disorders. Also, his blog post about The Five Ways Not to Treat Dyslexia (https://blog.lexercise.com/2011/12/five-ways-not-to-treat-dyslexia/) is very informative.

    Chad Myers
    +1 888-603-1788
    http://www.lexercise.com 

  14. I would remind parents whose child passes the Lexercise Screener that this is just a screener.    The Screener is designed to pick up dyslexia, which accounts for ~80% of "learning disabilities." But ~20% of struggling readers /writers have what is called "Specific Language Impairment" (SLI), which involves difficulties with listening comprehension. The Screener may not prick up SLI.  So, if your child passes the Lexercise Screener but you are still worried,
    I'd counsel you to trust your intuition… and consider seeking a
    professional evaluation.  It is just too important and there are good treatments for both dyslexia and SLI, but you do have to know what you are dealing with to customize an intervention.

    Parents often ask us how Lexercise online services differ from other options.  Here is an article with a side-by-side comparison of Lexercise with The Barton Reading & Spelling System:
    https://support.lexercise.com/entries/21418498-lexercisetm-online-treatment-compared-to-the-barton-reading-spelling-systemtm

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