October is Dyslexia Awareness Month and I recently had the opportunity to meet with school psychologist and owner of Denver Dyslexia Diagnostics, Stephanie Purvis, as well as Abby Belasco, owner of Dear Abby Tutors. You can check out our interview below and keep reading to learn more about Dyselxia assessment, diagnosis, and what to do next.
Denver Dyslexia Diagnostics
Written by Stephanie Purvis
In celebration of Dyslexia Awareness Month, I was so excited to be able to speak with Joe about this underdiagnosed learning disability. I am the owner of Denver Dyslexia Diagnostics in the Central Park (formerly Stapleton) neighborhood of Denver. I am also a Colorado licensed and California credentialed school psychologist. After moving to Denver from Southern California three years ago, I realized that there was a gap between screening, identification, and directed intervention for at-risk readers. The California public school district I’m from trained our large team of school psychologists several years ago to be able to evaluate for dyslexia, which is included in the IDEA’s definition of a Specific Learning Disability. As of now, 42 states have passed laws pertaining to addressing dyslexia within the public school system. Colorado is one of these 42 states, however, we are still in the process of developing this dyslexia plan in the form of a working and pilot group.
Many parents have expressed uncertainty about whether or not they should be concerned about their child or teen’s reading ability, now that any difficulties are so much more apparent within the virtual learning setting since the emergence of COVID-19. I would like to encourage parents to seek out – at the very least – a dyslexia screening, if not with me, then with an experienced diagnostician. Individuals with neurobiological, developmental dyslexia can be reliably identified as young as pre-Kindergarten. We now know that those who do not receive treatment until the fourth grade require four times the time required if treated by the end of Kindergarten. That said, many older children and teenagers up to college age have always sensed something was different about their reading skills and would benefit from being identified. Strategies shift with older individuals, but there is always help available. Reading is a basic right and is the path to freedom and power, which can never be downplayed.
What can parents look for when considering if their child may be at risk for dyslexia? First and foremost a family history of dyslexia is a primary risk factor for children. Also, children with early speech delays, difficulty saying words or saying them differently each time, problems remembering the names of letters, the absence of word play (playing with different combinations of sounds), difficulty rhyming or repeating nursery rhymes, and a tendency to avoid showing interest in books are potential indicators of dyslexia. Once dyslexia is identified, it is possible for the disorder to fall along a spectrum of mild to severe, with varying degrees of impact on academics; which may play a role in special education eligibility. Once dyslexia is identified, nevertheless, including the subtype and unique areas of need, a specific intervention plan can be created that includes progress monitoring every three months, allowing for needed adjustments without losing valuable time. Such a plan may be incorporated into an IEP, adapted for 504 accommodations, or used at home with a privately hired tutor.
My hope and goal is to be a resource for families who are anxious to know if there truly is a problem, what the problem is, what to do about it, and to understand how best to be their child’s advocate. Although I am relatively new to Central Park, Denver, I plan to stay and to continue to pursue my passion in psychoeducational assessment and hopefully make a positive impact in the community. Lastly, and more importantly, I truly value building relationships with the families with whom I am privileged to work, building bridges with their relative schools and special education teams, and to be a resource over the years.
Should any parents be interested in having their children or teen (ages PK- college) screened or evaluated for dyslexia, in addition to written expression and/or math disorders, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Together we can work through the best approach for your child. Screenings usually take about 20 minutes to administer with an additional 10 minutes for results and on the spot consultation for $50.
Dear Abby Tutors
Written by Abby Belasco
Dear Abby Tutors Website Call/text me at 303-907-7135
Virtual teaching is challenging for many student and parents are noticing struggles more than ever before. Are you searching for ways to support your children academically and socially? Dear Abby Tutors connects children to teachers who understand that not all kids learn the same way. Dear Abby Tutors has over 20 years of experience and we are seeing positive results with many of our current families. Our tutors are willing to meet on your porch, at the park or any other open-air space, wearing a mask and a face shield to keep everyone safe.
Writing, Math and Reading are core skills that need to be mastered. We use Orton-Gillingham, which is the gold-standard method for children with dyslexia to learn how to read, and we are changing lives for the better. Our teachers are trained and ready to meet your student’s needs, virtually and/or in-person, whichever method works best for you and your family. Send us an email, text or phone call and Dear Abby Tutors can help your students succeed!
For more info you can visit the Dear Abby Tutors Website or call/text Abby at 303-907-7135.