My son is 13 years old. He recently had a psycho-educational assessment, which showed he is severely dyslexic. He is very artistic, comprehends well and is willing to help improve his reading. He does well in math and doesn't struggle with numbers, although, his processing takes time. Navigating all the different intervention programs has been challenging. The psychologist suggested an intensive program, but locally there are very little resources. I have met a few people who have been through the Davis program, but I know there is no science backing this method. I have looked at the Rewards and Language Live program and am more inclined to the Language Live program. Considering his age, any help would be greatly appreciated.

Dr. Pierson's Response: 

Language Live was authored by one of the top-notch researchers in the field, Dr. Louisa Moats. Dr. Moats is a highly regarded researcher in the field of reading disorders. You can trust her work.

I cannot find who authored Rewards (and am not familiar with it), but it looks like it starts at the multisyllabic level and is geared more toward understanding content and writing.

I would want to know your son’s pattern of strengths and weaknesses relative to phonological processing, the skills that undergird reading in order to best advise you, anyway.

I have some other programs here. The Barton program was designed for parents. I also think that the Sonday System, while not specifically designed for parents, is quite descriptive in how to teach the lessons. I have had some parents find success in using it. I also think for someone your son's age, Marcia Henry's Words book might be helpful -- and it is not expensive; but it is not as complete at the other programs.

Regardless, you really need a good assessment of his phonological processing skills, and analysis of reading and spelling errors to determine what program and where to start. Are there no tutors trained in structured literacy in your area? Someone who could do baseline assessment and advise you?

I also recommend Overcoming Dyslexia by Dr. Sally Shaywitz. Despite the 2003 publication date, it remains state-of-the-art relative to assessment, diagnosis, and intervention; and she wrote it for parents.

I would also get a copy of A Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt -- a story about a 6th grade dyslexic girl and read it with your son (or get him the audio book). Aidan Colvin's Looking for Heroes would also be a great book for him to read. Aidan is dyslexic wrote letters to successful dyslexics and his book is a compilation of 100 letters.

This should get you started. It is great that you’re looking for the best resources for your son. Let me know if you have other questions.