We have a 7th grader with dyslexia and ADHD. We live in Oklahoma where resources for remediation and assistance are so scarce. He goes to a private school which has helped but I feel that he is getting more stressed and more behind as he gets older with the more reading that he will have. We are already members of Bookshare (which he doesn't use as often as he should since it requires sitting and listening). Is he just going to have to find ways of compensating? I am looking at your app list right now. Thank you.


Dr. Pierson's Response: 

Most likely, your son is indeed going to have to continue to find ways to compensate. The amount of reading typically will continue to increase as he proceeds through the grades. The good news is that as he finds his career niche, he will develop vocabulary specific to that vocation and his reading should become a bit easier, so to speak. He'll not have to be reading in so many different subjects. Rosalie Fink did some great research with highly successful dyslexics, many of whom did not become ‘readers’ until later in school.

Your son may benefit from intervention that helps him understand how to read different genres of text—we don't read a piece of fiction like we do a science text, for example. Strategies to help remember what he read, to learn to use headings, and to learn to scan text might be helpful. He also might benefit from strategies to prioritize different reading assignments. This will be particularly important as he moves through the grades and into college where the amount of reading and demands increase. Study skill strategies may also be helpful.

I assume your son has text-to-speech software on his computer, so that he can have text read out loud. We have listed some programs on our Software & Assistive Technology page. [1]

Your son should definitely continue with Bookshare and audio books. He needs to understand that his reading will improve the more he reads—so he should listen to the audio while reading along. If he doesn’t like sitting, is there a way that he could listen to Bookshare and move around? For example, he could walk around the room or stand up while listening to and reading the book. What about using one of those large ‘fitness balls’ that you sit on? It would require some movement on his part.

I know that it’s not easy for him, particularly if he is a kid who likes to move. Continue to encourage him by having him read in areas of interest. At least if the topic is interesting to him, he may be more motivated to persevere. Good luck!