I am in need of finding a tutor for my 8- year-old son, who is dyslexic. His school has told me that the State does not recognize dyslexia and doesn’t have any tutors they can recommend. I have contacted many places but can’t find any that specialize in the Orton-Gillingham teaching. I would really like to get him help so that he doesn’t fall too much behind in school. Trying to homeschool him is very hard and frustrating for us both.

Dr. Pierson's Response: 

First, let me address the issue of the State not recognizing dyslexia. The word "dyslexia" is right in the MI Special Education Administrative Rules (and has been for years). Here is a piece that I wrote about that issue. That being said, many school personnel do not know how to diagnose dyslexia, although it IS a specific learning disability (i.e., a reading disorder) and school personnel do have expertise in assessing, identifying, and subsequently, providing intervention for reading disorders.

I'm assuming since you are looking for a tutor that he has had a good comprehensive assessment. If he is dyslexic, then he will need structured literacy intervention, which the Orton-Gillingham approach is.

I recommend getting a copy of Dr. Sally Shaywitz's (2020) book Overcoming Dyslexia. Written for parents, it tells you everything you need to know about what dyslexia is, how we diagnose it, and what intervention entails. Quite honestly, due to the pandemic, it might be challenging to find someone to work with him. Some tutors are not seeing clients right now. At my private clinical practice, 3LI, we have been seeing clients virtually, which is not ideal, but it is better than no intervention. Additionally, I have found that parents are now becoming more aware of their child’s challenges due to seeing the schooling at home. More people are looking for help. These are challenging times. I wish you the very best.