Aleczander has specific learning disabilities. It’s important for public school special education teachers, and most particularly special education program administrators, to understand that kids who have learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and oral motor disfluency don’t suddenly develop these learning problems when they hit kindergarten, they are born with them.
Texas Education Code (TEC) §38.003 defines dyslexia in this way:
(1) Dyslexia means a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity.
(2) Related disorders includes disorders similar to or related to dyslexia such as developmental auditory imperception, dysphasia, specific developmental dyslexia, developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability.
Kids like Aleczander need multi-sensory instruction which Aleczander now receives. In addition to being enrolled in a third grade classroom at a private school, Aleczander also attends an after school dyslexia program at the Scottish Rite Learning Center.
From the Texas educational code, we read about the major warning signs of dyslexia:
At the Preschool level, children with dyslexia may:
- talk later than most children
- have difficulty with rhyming, have difficulty pronouncing words (i.e., busgetti for spaghetti, mawn lower for lawn mower)
- have poor auditory memory for nursery rhymes and chants
- be slow to add new vocabulary words
- be unable to recall the right word
- have trouble learning numbers, days of the week, colors, shapes, and how to spell and
write his or her name.
As a toddler, Aleczander displayed all of these symptoms and his parents sought and received special education interventions for him through the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (Odessa ISD) and through Early Childhood Intervention Services (Permian Basin Rehab Center). After Aleczander and his family moved to San Antonio, parents attempted to enroll Aleczander in similar programs. Sadly, despite his previous assessments and record of special education services, Aleczander was denied admittance to PreKindergarten and wasn’t assessed for any special education services at all until he was six years old.