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      I Can’t Spell Dyslexia – Do I Have It?!      No matter how brilliant a person is, no one is immune to having a few academic challenges. Even those “child genius” competitions always have some kid who mastered calculus at age 4, but for the life of them can’t point out Europe on a map. Challenges are normal and can be overcome, but managing dyslexia can be an especially tricky obstacle, as the ability to read and write impacts many important areas of life.    Why does reading seem easy to others?   As effortless as it may look, reading is an incredibly complex operation for the human brain. It requires matching letters to their assigned sounds, placing sounds in the correct order, conveying them into sentences, and comprehending what they mean. People with dyslexia have trouble with the first step - matching letters with correct sounds. This in turn makes the rest of the steps a lot tougher.   Howd o i k nowif Ih av it?    If all sentences look as confusing as that headline, there’s a clue. Dyslexia manifests itself differently at different ages. A few common issues associated with dyslexia include:    Trouble with memorization     Difficulty finishing tests and assignments within time limits    Seeing spaces in incorrect places or having words appear squished together    Spelling words exactly as they sound – not comprehending “silent” letters    Rearranging letters in words. I.e. – reading “dim” as “mid” or “net” as “ten”    The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity is a great resource to what symptoms may look like across all walks of life from preschool to adulthood:    http://dyslexia.yale.edu/dyslexia/signs-of-dyslexia/          How did I get dyslexia?   The causes of dyslexia are not fully understood, but we do know that it is a neurological condition that is often hereditary. Research suggests that the brain connectivity in children with dyslexia differs from that of children with typical reading development. This impacts their ability to process “phonemes” which are the sounds that letters make when grouped together.    Face it, I’m just not that bright    Dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence. In fact, individuals with dyslexia tend to be fast, highly creative thinkers. They generally test well orally, as their issues are with reading and writing but may articulate very well. Since rote memorization is difficult, they gain an aptitude for “big picture” thinking and deeper understanding. With the right support, they can be very successful students and employees.   How do I deal with it?   Far too many people with dyslexia are left behind because they simply don’t have the tools and understanding to reach their potential. If you or someone you love is struggling with dyslexia, try taking these steps:   1. Get an eye exam   Though some people with dyslexia have issues with eyesight, vision problems are unrelated to dyslexia. However, sometimes people with vision problems mistake their symptoms as signs of dyslexia. Getting an eye exam can determine if vision plays a role in your challenges with reading; if your vision is 20/20 or glasses don’t seem to be helping, you may have dyslexia or another learning disability.      2. Set “micro-goals”   Taking on huge projects is intimidating for just about anyone, especially if you have dyslexia and know that it will require extra time and focus to get the job done right. Break projects down into smaller parts and set weekly micro-goals to tackle each piece. This will ease the intimidation and your smaller victories will add up to your end goal.      3. Master time management   Individuals with dyslexia require additional time to read, comprehend, and spell out answers to show their true understanding. Ask teachers for extra time to complete tests and find out test formats ahead of time to be prepared for what you’ll be tasked with. Work on time management by looking ahead to upcoming assignments; if your work load is light one night, start working on that essay that’s due at the end of the month. Giving yourself extra time will curb your anxiety and allow you to show your true mastery of the subjects at hand.      4. Find your inner “techy”   The first documented case of dyslexia was written by a British doctor in 1896. He wrote about a boy who was remarkably bright but had difficulty reading. Unfortunately for that boy, dyslexia didn’t even have a name at that point, much less an abundance of tech resources to make life easier. You on the other hand, are living in the age of smart phone grocery shopping and robot vacuums! Embrace the latest technology to work around your challenges.      A few techy tricks:       Read with your ears – Sight isn’t your only sense. Give your eyes a break and try audio books. There are tons of services that offer audio versions of popular novels and textbooks.    Become a dictator! – Easy Napoleon, we’re not saying to take over the world so you can ban reading and writing. We mean to explore dictation software so you can save time by talking instead of typing.     Use your image-ination – If you have dyslexia, relying on reading to process information can be difficult. Use image searches to add visual aids to your study tools and presentations. Printing images on flash cards will make memorization easier. A PowerPoint full of pictures will help you get through your presentation without the anxiety of having to read every point.    Space out – Some research suggests that increasing spaces between letters helps individuals with dyslexia read. Program your computer settings to add more space between letters in MS Word.     Upgrade your Bic – Ditch your dollar store pen pack and consider investing in a smart pen; these nifty gadgets will record everything you write and hear, eliminating the stress of trying to quickly write notes in classes or meetings.      5. Don’t Hate - collaborate!   When you’re struggling with completing tasks or just need someone to review your work, reach out to a teacher or friend for help. Seek support from coworkers who have strengths in writing and reading comprehension. Show them your appreciation and make yourself available to assist them in areas that they struggle with.     6. Unleash your superpower    Don’t let dyslexia’s difficulties overshadow the exceptional traits that it tends to yield. You have unique skills and talents to share, and the world needs them! With support and perseverance, individuals with dyslexia emerge from school and career life with exceptional work ethic, management skills, adaptability and creativity - all traits associated with success!     7. Get Tested   If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have dyslexia, the best way to have your questions answered is by getting tested by a specialist. A specialist in learning disorders can help you identify your challenges and create a customized plan to overcome them.   What’s more, many schools and universities have policies in place to support students diagnosed with dyslexia. A diagnosis and thorough understanding of your symptoms will help educators and employers make appropriate accommodations in school or the workplace.     Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D ., is an expert in child and educational psychology. If you’re uncertain if your child has dyslexia, Dr. Shinn can provide an educational consultation to guide you and recommend tests for your child, even if they’ve already been tested before. If your child is already classified with a learning disorder but not receiving the help they need, Dr. Shinn can assist with advocating for your child to ensure that their academic environment provides a supportive place for them to reach their potential.       
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
       Subscribe to our blog for a weekly article on topics that affect your life           
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.    More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).  See our    Specialists    page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a    call    and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Woollams, A. (2014). Connectionist neuropsychology: Uncovering ultimate causes of acquired dyslexia.  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences,   369 (1634), 20120398.  Understood.org. Types of Tests for Dyslexia.  https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/evaluations/types-of-tests/tests-for-dyslexia  The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity  http://dyslexia.yale.edu/dyslexia/what-is-dyslexia/#part-what-is-dyslexia   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). I Can’t Spell Dyslexia – Do I Have It?!   Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/i-cant-spell-dyslexia-do-i-have-it

I Can’t Spell Dyslexia – Do I Have It?!

Did you know that people with dyslexia tend to be fast and creative thinkers? Sadly, many students and employees with dyslexia get left behind because they don’t have the support in place to manage their struggles with reading. Check out this week’s blog to learn how children and adults with dyslexia can overcome challenges to achieve their potential.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Should I Get My Kid Tested?   All parents want their children to learn in a fair and enriching environment, but that doesn’t look the same for every child. Students struggling with academic, social, or emotional challenges may require additional support to help them reach their potential. In most cases, however, students can only receive special accommodations if they’ve been tested for eligibility by a licensed specialist.  But all students face challenges in one way or another – how does a parent know if their child should see a specialist?   What Psychologists are testing for   There are a variety of issues that psychologists can identify and recommend accommodations for. Now is an ideal time to get your child tested, as it allows you to make any necessary arrangements for accommodations. Consider visiting a specialist if you think your child may be struggling with any of the following challenges:   1. Learning Disabilities   Throughout your child’s school day, they are asked to process information in a variety of ways. They see numbers, hear directions, and write down answers. Many children have difficulty processing information in one or more ways which can delay their learning and reduce their confidence. Common learning disabilities can impair a child’s ability to focus, read, write, spell, process sounds, interpret language, or understand math symbols. If you suspect your child may have a learning disability, getting them tested can qualify them for accommodations and/or modifications to help them work around their areas of difficulty.    Check out our blog on securing accommodations and modifications for your child on the SAT/ACT    Click below to listen to Dr. Marta Shinn’s podcast on understanding accommodations and modifications for SAT and ACT tests     

 
 
      2. Emotional Intelligence Issues   While intellectual intelligence is important, many studies suggest that emotional intelligence (EQ) may be even more important to a person’s success than their IQ. If your child has a hard time understanding or managing emotions, it can impact their grades, self-esteem, resiliency, and coping skills. Having your child’s emotional development evaluated can help you learn ways to increase their EQ and improve their academic and social experiences.    Check out our blog on 5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children     3. Academic Giftedness   Like every child, intellectually gifted children need love, support, structure, and challenge to reach their potential. Unfortunately, the needs of gifted children can often get a bit neglected, especially when teachers are preoccupied with assisting struggling students. Testing for academic giftedness can help you become an informed advocate for your child. By learning about their abilities and development, you can work with the school to ensure they provide a stimulating environment for your child.   4. Autism Spectrum Disorder   Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological condition that can impact your child’s motor skills, sensory perception, language development, emotional health, and social life. Each of these areas have a significant impact on their academic performance and mental well-being. As its name suggests, autism displays itself in a variety of ways across a wide spectrum; if you suspect that your child may be showing signs, it’s  important that they be evaluated. Once a child is diagnosed with autism, there are many effective methods teachers can use to support their learning.   5. Anxiety Disorders   Anxiety can present itself in different ways – your child may have an irrational fear of hurricanes, worry excessively over tests, or avoid social situations at all costs. Whatever the cause of their worry, anxiety can impact their academic performance, physical health, and emotional well-being. Getting your child tested for anxiety can help you in working with your child’s school to understand their challenges and provide them with the emotional support they need to manage their symptoms in the classroom.      Check out our blog on how to STOP anxiety in its tracks     6. Trauma   While most parents try their best to protect their children from troubling experiences, it’s inevitable that children are sometimes exposed to traumatizing situations. If your child has gone through something traumatic, whether it be surviving a car accident, witnessing your recent divorce, or losing a loved one, they may need support in learning healthy ways to cope. Consulting with a specialist can help your child learn effective and healthy ways to overcome trauma and get back to focusing on school, friends, and fun.   Visit Variations    If you think your child might benefit from educational consulting or psychological evaluation, Variations can help. From testing, walking you through the IEP or 504, or advocating for your child on campus, Variations can support your family every step of the way.     Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D ., is an expert in child and educational psychology. She provides educational consulting to evaluate each child’s emotional and behavioral development and assess if there are other factors such as learning or attention differences that may impact their academic experience. Dr. Shinn works with parents and children to overcome obstacles and help children strive for their academic potential and emotional well-being.      
	  Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
       Subscribe to our blog for a weekly article on topics that affect your life:         
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a   call   and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Laura Thi Lam & Susan L. Kirby (2010) Is Emotional Intelligence an Advantage? An Exploration of the Impact of Emotional and General Intelligence on Individual Performance, The Journal of Social Psychology, 142:1, 133-143, DOI: 10.1080/00224540209603891  National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/panic-disorder-when-fear-overwhelms/index.shtml  Types of Learning Disabilities. Learning Disabilities Association of America Retrieved online https://ldaamerica.org/types-of-learning-disabilities/  https://www.crchealth.com/troubled-teenagers/autism-in-teenagers/   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Should I Get My Kid Tested?   Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/schools-out-should-i-get-my-kid-tested

Should I Get My Kid Tested?

All parents want their children to learn in a fair and enriching environment, but that doesn’t look the same for every child. Students struggling with academic, social, or emotional challenges may require additional support to help them reach their potential. In most cases, however, students can only receive special accommodations if they’ve been tested for eligibility by a licensed specialist.

But all students face challenges in one way or another – how does a parent know if their child should see a specialist?