Articles

Better School Results — Recognize Dyslexia
by Shelley Tzorfas

(From The Be Well Journal)

To get your child on the right track to better results, I suggest you do the following now:

  1. Determine your child's dominant learning style. Is it visual, auditory or kinesthetic? Then teach from his/her strengths.
  2. Make sure your child is aware of his/her strongest learning style and his/her weakest. This is so he/she can take responsibility for his/her own education and assist others in understanding how best to teach him.
  3. Use phonics and color code them. This helps your child sound out words he/she does not know.
  4. Allow your child to copy notes of classmates. Often children cannot process what is being said in lectures while writing notes at the same time.
  5. Allow your child to compensate. For example, let him use his/her fingers when reading and let him move his/her lips when reading silently.
  6. Match your child when possible to teachers who teach in the styles which are your child's strongest learning styles.

No two dyslexics are alike so you must address your dyslexic child as the individual he/she is. Teaching dyslexics individually when possible is a better solution than in groups.

A workshop on dyslexia and other learning problems was offered at the Center For Natural Healing by Shelley Tzorfas on Saturday 4/24/99. The workshop provided practical ways to improve your child's ability to learn.

Many children who are academically weak do not get higher grades after receiving extra help. This may be because the special help teacher usually repeats what the classroom teacher did using the same teaching method.

Many experts erroneously believe that dyslexia means that your child sees or writes backwards. They think that if a child can read then he/she cannot be dyslexic. In fact many children sitting in regular, mainstream classes getting "C"s on their report cards actually have unrecognized dyslexia.

Reversing letters is just one out of hundreds of typical characteristics of dyslexia. So what does dyslexia mean?

Dyslexia is a difficulty in the processing of information. This difficulty can be in your child's visual, auditory or kinesthetic sensory systems or any combination of the three.

Let's say your child has what I call auditory dyslexia. Even though he/she may have passed hearing exams he/she may hear words with a time delay as if he/she hears only the echo from a nearby mountain. In this example giving your child extra help by re-explaining the classroom material in the same verbal manner will not help your child. It may even make matters worse.

Another example is if your child has a visual information processing difficulty. Asking him to answer questions which require him to look at maps and rely exclusively on his/her ability to see and interpret it may impede his/her ability to learn the material. his/her sense of self-esteem is also damaged with requiring him to rely exclusively on map information. The solution is to show and explain to him what he/she is looking at on the map.

There are many children who can talk to their friends for hours on the telephone but cannot write a few simple paragraphs. There are many other real examples as well.


Shelley Tzorfas has been tutoring successfully for over twenty years. She holds an M.F.A. degree from Rutgers University and has studied education at Hunter College and NYU. She is a member of the International Dyslexia Society.

Shelley feels that her insights are partially due to the fact that she has “Dyslexia”. She is currently working on a book on helping children with Dyslexia, ADD and other learning difficulties. Shelley has consulted with teachers and parents through Hunterdon County and is available for lectures and consultations.