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Stealth Dyslexia in Gifted Children


Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide show how dyslexia presents in gifted children

Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide show how dyslexia presents in gifted children

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  • 1. Stealth Dyslexia In Gifted Children How Dyslexia Presents— And Often Evades Detection— In Some Of Our Brightest Students. Brock Eide M.D. M.A. and Fernette Eide M.D.
  • 2. Why Discuss Gifted Dyslexics? • Exciting Children! • Misunderstood • Unnecessary suffering • Incredible talent left on the table • Accumulation of lifetime struggle • Lots of them! • Need to further explore the link of dyslexia and talent.
  • 3. Gifted Dyslexics: Long Recognized ―In 1896, in the first description of developmental reading disability in the medical literature, it was noted that a certain student could not learn to read in spite of ―laborious and persistent training.‖ However, his headmaster observed that this student ―would be the smartest lad in the school if the instruction were entirely oral.‖ The study of reading disability has frequently considered the often striking inconsistencies between high intelligence and ability coupled with surprisingly poor reading and writing skills. However, most research to date has focused mainly on the obvious problems to be corrected rather than the hidden potential to be identified and developed.‖ Thomas G. West, The Abilities Of Those With Reading Disabilities
  • 4. Dyslexia and Talent in Popular Literature ―Roger Scatcherd had also a reputation…He was known as the best stone-mason in the four counties…As a workman, indeed, he had a higher repute even than this:he was not only a good and very quick stone-mason, but he had also a capacity for turning other men into good stone-masons: he had a gift of knowing what a man could and should do; and, by degrees, he taught himself what five, and ten, and twenty—latterly, what a thousand and two thousand men might accomplish among them: this, also, he did with very little aid from pen and paper, with which he was not, and never became, very conversant.‖ Anthony Trollope, Doctor Thorne
  • 5. Historical Research On Dyslexia and Talent • Edison, Faraday, Patton, etc. • Schwablearning website • Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia
  • 6. Vicious Circle For Gifted Dyslexics • When reading—especially reading comprehension— is obviously impaired, the dyslexia is easier to spot but the gifts may be missed. [TC] • When reading comprehension is strong, the gifts may be identified but the dyslexia will often be missed, and difficulties attributed to inattention, underperformance, etc. • But reading comprehension is a poor indicator of a dyslexic processing style in many gifted children, as it was for Michael…
  • 7. Michael • 11 y.o. boy from a small Midwestern town. • Very bright, but had surprising difficulty early in school learning to read. • Easily mastered letter names and sounds, but struggled with decoding. • In second grade, something ―clicked‖ and silent reading comprehension skyrocketed. • In third grade, top reading group in class, and consistently scored in 90%ile in reading comprehension tests. • So, where‘s the problem…?
  • 8. Michael Despite strong comprehension of longer passages, Michael showed: • Poor word-by-word decoding. • Impaired oral reading. • Difficulty reading short succinct sentences like story problems in math or instructions on tests. • Severe difficulties with spelling. • Incredible difficulties with handwriting. • ―Careless mistakes‖ in math.
  • 9. Michael Even writing the alphabet was difficult: Notice his problems forming cursive f, k, o, q. On printing, notice awkward forms like a, k, m, n, q, u; the wandering line; and g substitution for j. When writing whole sentences, the problem got worse…
  • 10. Michael Written copy Free writing Notice the problems with margins, spacing, spelling, consistent letter formation, and the use of conventions like capitals and periods. Some problems persisted even with keyboarding…
  • 11. Michael Story in the 5th Grade, by keyboard: ―On a planet farfay awaw There was a youno man by the name of uragoner who set of for the edges of his planet in surch of the plantes bengines. His cutter had mot alwalec peen on This planet.‖ Instead of reflecting his interesting, intelligent, and often humorous thoughts, Michael‘s writing was much poorer in form and content than his speech, which made him embarrassed and self-critical…
  • 12. Michael A post-it note Michael attached to one of his spelling pre-tests where he missed nearly all of the items. • By fifth grade, Michael‘s ability to cope was exhausted. • He repeatedly called self stupid and dumb, and began hitting himself on his head, saying he deserved to be punished for being so stupid. • Gifted dyslexic and private school headmaster J. William Adams: ―There‘s nothing worse than being told to do something you can‘t do, then to be asked, ‗Have you really done your best?‘‖
  • 13. Michael The school proposed a number of explanations for Michael‘s difficulties: a) Inattentive and careless, b) Not trying hard enough, or c) Unrealistic expectations: too smart to have a disability, but not smart enough to do any better. Their bottom line: Because Michael wasn’t actually failing, he didn’t have a “learning disability” and didn’t qualify for special help.
  • 14. Michael In Reality: Energetic, Painstaking, and REALLY SMART VIQ 137 PIQ 119 Vocab 17 Obj As 14 Comp 17 Pc Com 13 Simil 16 Pc Arr 13 Arith 16 BD 13 Infor 15 Cod 11 Dig Sp 15 SS 11 Rokenbok Goal in Life: Engineer
  • 15. “The Beginning of Wisdom Is Calling Things By Their Right Name”: -- Ancient Chinese Proverb Michael is a perfect example of why the kinds of labels we apply to children matter, and of the truth of the statement with which we open our book.
  • 16. Stealth Challenges: Michael • In Michael‘s case, the struggle was with what we call ―stealth dyslexia.‖ • Michael was a perfect example of a child with ―stealth challenges‖—or problems that evade the usual ―radar of detection.‖ Michael needed help with the way his brain processed sound, visual, and sensorimotor information, and he needed to learn how to use his many strengths to overcome his weaknesses.
  • 17. The Mislabeled Child Michael shows how learning challenges aren‘t just issues for children formally identified as needing special services, but are often present in children who aren‘t identified as having specific learning challenges, yet show: • Underachievement relative to intelligence • Inattention or apparent carelessness • Disorganization • Anxiety, depression, or withdrawal • Social or behavioral difficulties To learn to call problems like Michael’s by their right name, We must understand how dyslexia presents in gifted children.
  • 18. How Dyslexia Presents in Gifted Children
  • 19. OUR USUAL DEFINITION OF GIFTEDNESS: A talent for creating difficulties in ways that suggest promise.
  • 20. Our Study Our Gifted Clinic Population • National Referral Population: Early College Entrants, Stanford EPGY, some Davidson Fellows. • In-State Often Computer or Engineering Industry Parents (Microsoft, Boeing in the Seattle WA Area) • Neurology and Neuropsychology Assessments • IQ Testing – WPPSI, WISC III, WISC IV, SBLM • Gifted dyslexics: at least 3 Ceiling scores 16-19 on IQ Subtests • 15 Children in study.
  • 21. Gifted Dyslexics Gifted Student Interests Gifted Non-Dyslexics 100 90 Building 80 70 Reading Percentage 60 50 40 Writing 30 20 10 0
  • 22. Surprising Verbal Strengths of Gifted Dyslexics Gifted Dyslexics 18 16 14 IQ Subtests 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Vocab Inf VCm BD Sim PA Arith PC CD OA DS Gifted Dyslexics Defy the ―Matthew Effect‖
  • 23. The Verbal Paradox of Gifted Dyslexics • Most Linguistic Functions Not Impaired • Language Strengths: Higher Order Language • Excellent Verbal Fund of Knowledge & Reasoning • Many Enjoy Writing or Creating Stories – But Oral Storytellers or Help with Dictating Stories Highest: Vocabulary, Information, Verbal Comprehension Many are Voracious Silent Readers Some Voracious Book Listeners ―He is almost addicted to having me read to him…‖
  • 24. The Visual Paradox of Gifted Dyslexics • Gifted with Spatial Construction, Strong 3D Mental Rotation Abilities • Strong Visual / Multimodal Imagery Multimedia • Yet…Weak Visual 2D Perception / Memory Mirror Reversal Errors, Errors on Formal Visual Memory Tests 7 yo Ent Drawing Writing Name in Mayan Glyphs
  • 25. Paradoxical Performance Weakness of Gifted Dyslexics 18 16 14 12 IQ Subtests 10 8 6 4 2 0 Vocab Inf VCm BD Sim PA Arith PC CD OA DS Green: Performance Subtests
  • 26. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 S pe 100 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 llin g S pe Re a llin d A lo g ud Re a Wri dA te lou A lp hab Wri te A d et lph Non s Non abe ens e Wo s en t rd se Sen Wo ten rd ce P ho Cop y nol ogy P ho Sen nol ogy t Co Vis Vis py Vig Vig ilan ce ilan Vis ce Infe Me ren ce Re a mo din ry Vis gC Mem om ory Com p Li s ple ten xS S um m Pic e nt Li s ture ten Nam Com p Li s Gifted Dyslexics ten Pic S um ture Nam Ra p m Dyslexics, Non-Gifted id N Ra p am id N am Infe Re a ren d ing Li s ce Com p ten Com Dig it Spa Dig p n it S Com pan Good ple xS e nt Good Impaired Impaired High IQ Changes How Dyslexia Presents
  • 28. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Spe llin g Re a d A lo ud Wri te A lp hab et Non s en Sensitive se Wo rd Sen ten ce Cop y Pho nol og y Vis Vig ilan ce Infe ren ce Vis Mem ory Lis ten Gifted Dyslexics S um m Lis ten Com Pseudoword Decoding p Re a din g Com p Dig it Spa n Spelling, Read Aloud, Write Alphabet, Com p le x Good Se n t Impaired
  • 29. IMPAIRED WRITTEN ALPHABET: Surprising Sensitivity Omissions, substitutions, malformations, reversals, slow, sequence. 10 y.o. boy SBLM 172 11 y.o. boy VIQ 137 16 y.o. boy SBLM > 150
  • 30. Lack Of Automaticity In Written Expression Leads To A Marked Disparity Between Written And Oral Expression quot;Kids stealing cookies, acedants adout to haten. The mother is not aware. Dads out. The mom is clearly some wer els. shye gona ned a mop. I think this can be clarafide as adi...quot; 16 y.o. gifted male college student, SBLM>150, grades in most recent semester, A, A, B.
  • 31. …SAME YOUNG MAN, ORAL DESCRIPTION quot;We've got kids stealing cookies and water overflowing from the sink. It appears that Dad is not home and the mom is clearly distracted, and it looks like the kid is about to fall off the stool. This family is clearly very dysfunctional. It looks like they own a fairly big house. That driveway stretches on a long way.quot;
  • 32. READ ALOUD Word and line skips, substitutions, elisions, additions: • are about to become/will soon be • poison/poisons, sea/seas, chemicals/chemical, liquid/liquids • gave her/gather • Mary/May • microscopic/microsoftic • endangered/elder aged, • tolerance/tole-ace, • most of the time their/most of their Most of these children were not previously identified as having a reading problem because of strong silent comprehension.
  • 33. NONSENSE/PSEUDOWORD READING • squive: skwerve/squivvey • kelb: kwelb/kleb • schnapp: suchkwakannap/sachannap ―I try to memorize what words look like so I don‘t have to sound them out.‖ --Michael
  • 34. How Words May Come Out When ―Memorized‖ Without Relation to Sound quot;On a planet farfay awaw There was a youno man by the name of uragoner who set of for the edges of his planet in surch of the plantes bengines. His cutter had mot alwalec peen on This planet.quot; 11 y.o. gifted boy with VIQ of 137
  • 35. FREQUENT ACCOMPANIMENTS OF DYSLEXIA THAT WERE NOT SENSITIVE OR RELIABLE IN GIFTED CHILDREN • Many Common Tests of Phonology* (e.g., deletion/substitution, sound switching) *(Nonsense words best, segmentation next best) • Reading Comprehension: Often in superior range • Rapid Word Recall and Rapid Naming • Sentence Copy • Visual Vigilance • Visual Memory • Receptive and Oral Expressive Syntax
  • 36. What Accounts for these Differences? First, fewer impairments in recall/retrieval: • Only 15% gifted children had deficits in rapid picture naming or rapid verbal recall, versus 50% non-gifted dyslexics. • Difficult for children with recall / retrieval deficits to perform well on IQ tests.
  • 37. What Accounts for these Differences? Second, gifted dyslexic children often use strong working memory abilities and complex cognitive strategies that allow them to ―outthink‖ the test. On Tests of phonology, like sound switching tasks (e.g., pig Latin), sentence copy, and syntax, they may use strong working memory abilities to compensate for deficits in sound/auditory processing.
  • 38. Cognitive Strategies On tests of reading comprehension gifted children often score surprisingly well despite problems with decoding speed and single word accuracy, by using strong working memory, analytic and inference skills, and outside knowledge to tease out passage meanings (verbal closure). • They may often show better comprehension on longer versus shorter passages, or than on single words. • Despite strong functional comprehension, they may fail comprehension tests through misreading the questions and answers, which generally have little redundancy and context, rather than misreading the passages.
  • 39. Common Profile In The Gifted: Stealth Dyslexia From Samuel Orton‘s: Reading, Writing, and Speech Problems in Children (1937) Based on research done at State Psychopathic Hospital, Iowa City, Iowa
  • 40. Stealth Dyslexia: Reading • Adequate or even strong silent reading comprehension— especially of longer, context-rich passages. • May struggle to read short, poorly contextual passages (e.g., test questions, answers, or instructions). • Usually residual oral reading deficits (―guess and go‖, word or line skips), and problems decoding new words (or pseudowords). e.g., the Gray Oral Reading Test from one of our subjects is typical: • Rate: 5% • Fluency: 9% • Comprehension: 75%
  • 41. Stealth Dyslexia: Writing • Poor spelling, though may recognize correctly spelled words well enough to score adequately on standardized tests of spelling recognition, and may remember well enough for spelling tests. • Usually messy or slow handwriting (cursive often especially hard). • Each of the children whose writing samples were previously presented reached at least 6th grade without being diagnosed with reading problems, or being given help for a learning disorder. • Not surprisingly, appropriate educational placement is often an issue.
  • 42. Conventional School Often Hard for Gifted Dyslexics Gifted Dyslexics Gifted Non-Dyslexics Public School 13% 67% Priv / Alt School 20% 13% Homeschool 53% 20% Community College 13% 0% Gifted dyslexic children are particularly likely to struggle in conventional educational settings, since both the special nature of their gifts and their challenges often go unrecognized
  • 43. With Gifted Students Especially, A Broader And More Dynamic Understanding Of Dyslexia Is Needed Dyslexia = Just A Reading Disorder • For gifted children with dyslexia, reading comprehension is typically not the biggest challenge. • The essence of dyslexia is not the functional problem with reading or spelling, but the variations in brain organization and sensory and information processing pathways that underlie these functional problems. • All truly dyslexic children should have demonstrable differences in sound and/or visual processing.
  • 44. Not Just a Reading Problem: Non-Reading Challenges in Dyslexia • Handwriting and spelling • Oral language (retrieval, organization, expression) • Rote/semantic memory • Sequencing • Orientation to time • Working memory • Right-left orientation • Auditory processing (mishearing, background noise) • Visual processing • Classroom attention and organization. • Secondary social and emotional issues (self-esteem, anxiety, depression, etc.)
  • 45. The Potential Combinations Of Strengths And Challenges Are Unlimited Each child‘s experience growing up with dyslexia will be unique, and the teacher must must know how to to handle that complexity.
  • 46. How To Think About Gifted Children With Dyslexia The Five DyNaMITE Perspectives 1. Development 2. Neurobiology (―wiring‖) 3. Motivation/Interest 4. Temperament 5. Experience
  • 47. Development The Long Course of Brain Development Age 5 Age 20 Thompson, NIMH
  • 48. Development Different Time Course For Development For Poor Decoders With Good Language Skills Weismer, U Wisconsin
  • 49. Development Brain Development Differs By IQ The Higher the IQ, the More Delayed Executive Function (Prefrontal) Maturation Then Thicker Brain Young Gifted Cortices in the Teen Children Have Years Thinner Cortices Before the Age of 10 Giedd, NIMH Delays may be especially pronounced for children with sensory processing and motor coordination deficits.
  • 50. Development Development May Differ in Different Areas: Gifted Brains are Often Asynchronous ―...unevenness is the rule among academically gifted children, while global the exception‖ - Ellen Winner WISC-III VIQ / PIQ Discrepancies – 18 Points or More Control Sample 17.0 % Gifted Sample 54.7 % Unevenness is More Common with Higher IQ Sweetland, Port Washington School District
  • 51. Development Gifted Dyslexic Children: Early Elementary Problems • Sound-symbol/phonics mastery • Visual fixation and Eye Movement Control • Letter formation and spelling • Visual-spatial orientation (letter and figure) • Rote, sequential, procedural memory • Attention (Auditory, Visual, Difficult Tasks) • Unitary Self-Concept
  • 52. Development Typical Early Reading Pattern of Gifted Dyslexics • May struggle to learn alphabet or sounds. • Struggle to master phonics and decoding. • Sudden ―aha!‖ moment (typically between late first and third grade, but in some even later) that words can be recognized by sight, with rapid progress thereafter. • Subsequent neglect of phonics and true decoding strategies with reliance on context and ―guess-and-go‖. • Trouble with new words, poorly contextual or confusingly written (or syntactically dense) passages.
  • 53. Development A Frequently Misunderstood Aspect of Dyslexic Talent and Development: Spatial Orientation • By the time they reach adolescence, many dyslexics show special spatial abilities (reading maps, plans, recognizing impossible figures, etc.), but early on they are often especially challenged at these tasks. • Despite strong interests in building and design, they may perform poorly on spatial tasks, often due to a tendency to indiscriminately rotate objects in space. • This may show up not only as special difficulties with letter orientation, but in the context of orientation problems with other visual-spatial tasks as well.
  • 54. Development Problems With Letter Orientation ―To dae at camdp wea had are frst game time. and artr wea I rot in my diree. and are giten rede to tacea nap. dut de for tacea a nap.‖ Gifted 8 y.o. girl • Some investigators believe this is due to problems with binocular fixation and visual instability. • Others suspect issues with hemispheric dominance or communication.
  • 55. Development These Children Typically Struggle Not Just To Write, But Also To Recognize, The Proper Orientation—But Not Sound-Based
  • 56. Development Extends To Non-Lexical Tasks
  • 57. Development Same Girl, Spatial Rotations
  • 58. Development Same Girl, Sentence Copy
  • 59. Development Same Girl, Age 7
  • 60. Development Dysgraphia: Handwriting Impairments • May present as very messy, or very slow handwriting. • Slow handwriting (most common presentation in girls) often goes unrecognized, and usually presents as difficulty completing work, poor work output, or work resistance. • May also present as ―dumbing down‖ of written work • Often most easily diagnosed in comparison to oral output. • Writing difficulties often extremely emotionally distressing.
  • 61. Development Dysgraphia Important: Abnormal Grip A Sign of Deeper Problem: Not Itself the Cause of Handwriting Impairments! Usually means effort is way up and endurance will be low.
  • 62. Development Another Frequent Early Problem: Rote Memory • Spelling • Times Table
  • 63. Development Using Color, Picture, and Auditory Memory in Dyslexia • Personal/Story Memory • Picture, Color, Pattern • Moms always dish up eats • Maids always ignore dusting
  • 64. Development Math Memory • • Multiplication in Minutes • Addition the Fun Way
  • 65. Development Sequence and Time • Rate, order, sequence, time • Problems balancing and prioritizing information, sensory, emotional, and motor signals. • ―Time-Blindness‖: Tends to come on line the second decade. • Slow work output. Poor pacing. • Especially stressed by timed tests. • Gets better during adolescence.
  • 66. Development Late Elementary To Middle School • Spelling and Written Expression • Oral Expression • Organization/Attention • Cynicism/Peer Acceptance • Spatial abilities often become manifest
  • 67. Development Common Change in Spelling Problems in Gifted Dyslexics Porter, a very bright 9-year-old boy with a verbal IQ of nearly 140 described the above picture in the following way: ―The bay sole the cookie Jar. the Gul Push the bay. The mam fooded the hane.‖
  • 68. Development Common Change in Spelling Problems in Gifted Dyslexics ―the Boy is falling down the gill is reche for the cockis and the mom let the wate for wasing the disis overe flow becas she is dring the clen ones.‖ • 10 y.o. female, Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Talent Search Winner, scored above 80th percentile for 6th graders in 4th grade on SCAT
  • 69. Development Common Change in Spelling Problems in Gifted Dyslexics quot;I am a Typhoon and I am on my way to Japan and gathering spead. I mite be the Typhoon that destrois the mongls and their ships on their second invashon of Japan.... My stronggest power is wind wich can make trumendus waves that can capsise even the stronggest mongl ship.quot; 11 y.o. boy, VIQ > 130
  • 70. Development Language Output Challenges • Working memory overload (especially for writing). • Word retrieval challenges. • Difficulty with expressive syntax. • Predominantly visual or non-verbal thinking style.
  • 71. Development Language Output Non-Verbal Thinkers quot;The words of the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanisms of thought. The physical entities which seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and more or less clear images which can be voluntarily combined.quot; Albert Einstein • ―Big picture‖ non-verbal or highly associational imagery is right brain dominant, and sequential ordering predominantly left brain. • Non-verbal imagers often grow up to be very creative and innovative thinkers and writers, but they must learn strategies for mediating the productive interaction of these two brain regions.
  • 72. Development What the Right and Left Brains Think When They See Words In a partially split brain patient, the printed word ―knight‖ was flashed in such a way that only one hemisphere at a time could see it. • When the word flashed only to the left hemisphere, the patient responded, ―It says ‗knight‘.‖ • When the word was flashed only to the right hemisphere, he said, ―I have a picture in my mind but I can‘t say it… Two fighters in a ring. Ancient wearing uniforms and helmets… on horses trying to knock each other off… Knights?‖ Gazzaniga, Dartmouth
  • 73. Development These Children Often Struggle With Inter-Hemispheric Cooperation Signs of poor hemispheric interaction : • Mixed cerebral dominance (e.g., hand and eye) • Ambidexterity or late development of handedness. • Mixed cerebral representation of functions. • Left-right confusion. • Difficulty with tasks involving alternating sides of body. • Spatial-rotational ability/challenge. • ―Late-blooming‖ profile. • Expression can be improved by working in steps or stages.
  • 74. Development Family History: Looking Ahead By Looking Back Parents of Gifted Dyslexics (Fathers and Mothers) Spatial, Mathematical, Personal Communication Engineering, Computers, Science, Economics 43% Management, Business, Sales 25% Other 4% Pilot, Coach, Artist, Counselor, Veterinarian, Optometrist
  • 75. Development Family History: Engineering • N: 10 yrs old. Dyslexia, dysgraphia, very high IQ, language output slow, shy. Fascination with building. Created complex drainage system for boggy property. Question raised of Asperger Syndrome. Grandfather…? • D: 10 yrs old. Dyslexia, dysgraphia, very high IQ, language output slow, shy. Fascination with building. Turned backyard into water park. Father…?
  • 76. Development Residual Challenges When Decoding and Spelling Difficulties Not Adequately Addressed • 19 y.o. college sophomore, extremely talented writer, flamboyantly poor speller. Made writing tutor by professor. Racked with anxiety by her inability to spell. • Diane McGinnis: R. who? Philosophy and math. • New words, pronunciation, spelling, reading to learn. • MCATs, Medical Boards, and silly mistakes. • ―Imposter syndrome.‖ • Goal is to keep options open
  • 77. Development For Most Children With Dyslexia, the Theme Song Should Be: “Ti-i-i-me Is On My Side” • Misusing the notion of a ―critical period‖ creates a sense of desperation that‘s ultimately counterproductive. Most children are not going to irretrievably ―miss the boat‖ and be left on the dock. Ships keep coming, but undue worry can lead children to abandon the idea of getting on board. • Early attention to challenges is important, but avoid undue anxiety to ―catch up to peers.‖ Dyslexia represents a different developmental pathway rather than a defect in brain function. • Alternative, not remediative, education. • Undue pressure and concern can create adjustment reactions (anxiety, opposition, aggression, self-doubt) that persist even after the learning challenges have been mastered.
  • 78. Perspective 3: Motivation and Interest • A child‘s motives, interests, and values can have enormous influence on his or her learning and behavior. • Strong interests should be used whenever possible to enhance motivation, especially when children are struggling.
  • 79. Motivation and Interest Motivation Requires Success ―Now that I can break the second floor window, I‘ll try for the third!‖ • Research has clearly shown that when children fail to achieve a critical ratio of success in a particular activity, motivation plummets and they simply stop trying. Huge problem for handwriting, math, reading… • Too often, struggling children are asked for unmakeable leaps rather than small steps.
  • 80. Motivation and Interest Success Maintains Motivation • Challenges must be incremental rather than exponential, especially for struggling children. • Mental focus and persistence increase dramatically—even for children who‘ve been diagnosed with ADHD—when they‘re given meetable challenges. • Children with dyslexia must achieve a higher level of attention to perform the same tasks as other children (think of the difference in attention required to drive the same stretch of twisty mountain road on a clear day versus a rainy night—and the difference in stress and fatigue that result). • In most children, the desire to achieve mastery is natural; apathy is learned.
  • 81. Temperament Perspective 4: Temperament • Temperament is a child‘s ―emotional disposition‖; her style, manner, or ―flavor‖ of responding behaviorally and emotionally to the world. • Temperament is part of a child‘s personality, which also includes humor, intelligence, interests, and talents.
  • 82. Temperament What Adds Up to Trouble The problem is not simply the traits themselves, but the way the traits interact with the environment: Predisposition + Provocation = Response
  • 83. Temperament Warning! • Prolonged failure to deal with mismatches between the child‘s temperament and the environment (including academic demands and the expectations of parents, teachers, or the child him- or herself) can result in the development of behavioral adjustment reactions. • These reactions may consist of a fall in self-esteem, aggression, oppositional behaviors, underachievement, anxiety, depression, etc.
  • 84. Temperament Different melancholic/moody choleric/hot Temperaments, Different sanguine/happy phlegmatic/droopy Risks Intensity is often the biggest personal risk: • Intense introverts: anxiety, depression, withdrawal • Intense extroverts: anger, opposition, aggression, anti-social • Sensitive, intense, negative: perfectionistic But calmer temperaments can also create struggles: • Calm and introverted children can be passive • Calm and extroverted can be to happy-go-lucky to struggle.
  • 85. Perspective 5: Experience— The ―Art of Autobiography‖ • Experience, as we‘ll use the term, is not simply an objective record of past events, but the child‘s interpretation of and responses to those events. • In other words, the record is not biographical, but autobiographical. • A child‘s interpretive style plays an enormous role in determining how he or she responds to experience.
  • 86. Two Types of Interpretation Research by Martin Seligman has extensively documented the two different styles of interpreting experience, especially of failure: • The pessimistic style attributes failure to factors that are permanent, pervasive, personal, and that they are powerless to affect in the future. Often see failure as inevitable, deserved, or a punishment. • The optimistic style attributes failure to factors that are temporary, specific to the particular event rather than permanent or universal. The optimistic style attributes failure to factors that were present this time, but which with care can be avoided in the future. • Optimism is trainable, and invaluable for prolonged effort.
  • 87. Best Interventions • Phonics (segmentation, discrimination): the challenge, getting children to go back • Reading fluency • Spelling/Rote Memory • Accommodations: Keyboard, Write Outloud, Oral alternatives • Focus on Strengths: Understand what adult dyslexics are like; understand the adult job market (Inc., Fast Company) • Mentorship programs
  • 88. Accommodations The Right Accommodations Get Kids Into Learning, Not Out Of It! • Accommodations are ways to improve function and increase achievement, not to avoid it! • Accommodations can be enabling and therapeutic!
  • 89. Accommodations Dysgraphia Don‘t treat handwriting as the narrow route along which all a child‘s work must pass • Never let handwriting problems prevent progress in other areas! • Accommodations like written notes, alternative forms of output (e.g. keyboarding, scribing, oral presentations) can keep children with dysgraphia learning to their full capacity. • Practice handwriting as its own separate discipline. • Don‘t push extended written expression too soon.
  • 90. Accommodations Gifted Dyslexic Boy Before Using ―Write Outloud‖ Software quot;I am a Typhoon and I am on my way to Japan and gathering spead. I mite be the Typhoon that destrois the mongls and their ships on their second invashon of Japan.... My stronggest power is wind wich can make trumendus waves that can capsise the stronggest mongl ship.quot;
  • 91. Accommodations Author of ―Mongl Invashon‖ after 2 years of ―Write Outloud‖ With Constant Feedback, Student Internalized Spelling Patterns
  • 92. When to Suspect Dyslexia in a Gifted Child • Dysgraphia with poor spelling in a child with gifted-level oral language abilities will usually be dyslexic. • Verbally gifted children nearly always want to read in the absence of underlying problems. • If oral reading level or choice of reading materials doesn‘t match verbal ability or cognitive/interest level, there‘s usually a problem. • Gifted children with unexpected problems with reading, writing, or spelling always require a comprehensive evaluation that looks at auditory, visual, sensory-motor, language, and memory functions, because appropriate intervention requires accurate assessment.
  • 93. How To Think About Dyslexia In Gifted Children: Alternative, Not Remediative Education Problem with the remediative education model: These children aren‘t simply failing to develop along the ―normal‖ pathway in a way that‘s diseased, disordered, or delayed: they‘re developing along a different pathway that‘s normal for them. This pathway may predispose them to special success in a variety of adult pursuits, but it typically requires different approaches to learning to read, write, spell, etc., and different expectations regarding the time course for acquisition of these skills.
  • 94. The Mislabeled Child Brock Eide M.D. M.A. and Fernette Eide M.D. “The Mislabeled Child represents a significant step toward a rethinking of our understanding of struggling children. It…will enable us to customize education and parenting for children whose minds work differently from most!‖ --Mel D. Levine, M.D., Author A Mind at a Time ―The best book we have read for a very long time. Highly recommended.‖ Dyslexia Teacher