Educating Teachers About Dyslexia – A Paradigm Shift

Dyslexia education often fails to reach teachers in the general education system.  Yet what we don’t know about dyslexia CAN hurt us.  More precisely, what teachers don’t know about dyslexia hurts our students.  When students with dyslexia and other learning differences pass from grade to grade without learning how to read, or to write, or to learn, we all lose.  We lose the gifts these future adults might otherwise share.  We lose that bright light that dims when children believe they aren’t smart enough, not capable enough, not… enough.


Image of yellow number 2 pencil, curved so the tip is pointing opposite of the eraser. White text on gray or fuchsia background about dyslexia education.


Why do so many highly educated teachers not know how to address dyslexia and other learning differences?  Because too often their graduate programs and their teacher credential programs didn’t include that information.


This lack of dyslexia education is a terrible injustice to all students who never receive the help they need.  It’s also an injustice to the heart-centered teachers who discover they are ill-equipped to help EVERY student learn.


Signs of Hope

At long last I’m hopeful that change is coming.  Are we really in the process of a paradigm shift in dyslexia education?


Thanks to a groundswell of much needed advocacy, we’re starting to see new legislation across the country.  With new legislation, we see more efforts to translate the neuroscience of learning into training programs for educators.  Much of that information isn’t actually new, rather it’s newly supported by clinical research.  If that makes it more likely to reach more educators, I’m all for it.


Dyslexia Education

I recently discovered The UC/CSU Collaborative for Neurodiversity and Learning, which hosts free training modules all about dyslexia.  Not all modules are available yet (near the end of 2023), that’s how new the training is.  From what I’ve seen so far, I highly recommend the training to any parent or educator who wants a deeper understanding about dyslexia.


Wouldn’t you know it, I learned a few new fun facts myself.  For example, while we know that dyslexia tends to run in families, a 2022 twin study reported that one twin with dyslexia was more likely to have a co-twin with dyslexia if they were identical vs. fraternal twins.  Makes sense, right?  Don’t panic just yet if dyslexia runs in your family and you happen to have identical twins.  As the module called Dsylexia and the Brain kindly reminds us, genes are not destiny.


For now I won’t go into the details about which lobes of the brain are responsible for reading, or which regions are activated or underactivated in students with dyslexia.  Instead I’ll simply report that the findings are clear: reading intervention changes the dyslexic brain.


Since quality intervention changes the dyslexic brain for the better, let’s not allow our lack of knowledge to prevent students from unlocking their true abilities.  I plan to keep learning.  If you’d like to do the same, I have even more training options for you to explore.