October 23, 2014
October is Dyslexia Awareness Month
Lufkin, TX -- October is Dyslexia Awareness month and the perfect time to create awareness about this learning difference that affects approximately 200 students in the Lufkin ISD school as well as 10 to 15 percent of the US population. Students with dyslexia have difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities.
According to Alys Ray, Lufkin ISD Dyslexia Coordinator, these difficulties usually result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.
Students with dyslexia often:
-have difficulty learning the alphabet, nursery rhymes, or songs
-have difficulty learning to read
-have difficulty remembering the names/orders of letters.
-often misread common small words
-“stumble” through longer words
-have trouble putting ideas on paper
-have poor or slow handwriting
-have difficulty copying
-difficulty spelling in daily work
-difficulty memorizing math facts
-difficulty with organization
-relatives may have similar problems
The Dyslexia Therapy program at Lufkin ISD has recently increased to eleven Certified Academic Language Therapists (CALTs) with training in the dyslexia education program through the Neuhaus Education Center in Houston thanks to a gift from a local foundation. Eight teachers will take a multi-year, intense college training to become a (CALT) to serve dyslexic children on each elementary school campus in the district.
One of those teachers who took advantage of the grant opportunity, Carrie Shockley, knows firsthand about dyslexia through her experiences with her own children. Carrie Shockley is a CALT in training at Slack Elementary. She has a degree in Early Childhood from Stephen F. Austin State University and is working on her Master’s degree from the same college to be a Certified Reading Specialist.
She said, “I always wanted to be a dyslexia therapist because of Kyler.”
Kyler is Shockley’s 15-year-old daughter who struggled with reading and was diagnosed as dyslexic in 1st grade.
Shockley said, “I wanted to be more informed. I was so interested in the disorder, to know how she is learning. You want to be an advocate for your own child. I always thought to be dyslexic meant that you read backwards. That is not the case. I didn’t know how to help her.”
Once Shockley became a teacher she started researching more and wanted to not only be an advocate for her daughter but other dyslexic children as well. Throughout the process of learning more and researching, Kyler kept telling her mom that Kenley, her younger sister, was having some of the same difficulties she had.
Shockley said, “Kenley, now almost 8 years old, hated reading so bad she had a migraine every day. It was such a struggle with her. Now that she is in therapy and getting the help she needs, we’re reading a book at night.”
Shockley said “I have such an admiration for dyslexic kids because they work so much harder than other children and have such a desire to learn. I’m so proud of Kyler. She is going to overcome any challenge because of her determination. She amazes me with her self-esteem, sense of accomplishment and especially her willingness to be an example to her younger sister.”
Now that Shockley is in the two-year program, she will be a certified dyslexic therapist when she finishes.
Shockley said, “It’s very expensive to become certified, that’s why I haven’t pursed this on my own. Thanks to Lufkin ISD and the grant available to the teachers, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.”
She said, “Reading has always been my absolute favorite subject. I can’t imagine a child not being able to read - it’s the foundation of all learning. This is my dream come true. It’s not a job, it’s a mission, a passion.”
She said, “Everything I do in the classroom, I can reinforce with my younger daughter Kenley. I know how to help her. I wish I could have helped Kyler more. There is no magic pill.”
To find out more about dyslexia, contact Alys Ray, Lufkin ISD Dyslexia Coordinator, at (936)633-6231.
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Pictured: Carrie Shockley in her classroom.