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“Dyslexia is Not a Learning Disability”

by Wrightslaw

My granddaughter is in 2nd grade. She cannot read.

She was diagnosed with dyslexia by a psychologist and a special educational consultant. At present she is receiving 15 minutes a day with the Special Educator.

When we requested tutoring with the Special Educator, we were advised that dyslexia is not considered a learning disability.  What we should do next?

Although the special education law specifically lists “dyslexia” as a learning disability (20 U.S.C 1401 (30)), it’s a mistake to fight with school officials about labels.

You need answers to these questions:

  • Did the school find your granddaughter eligible for special education?
  • Does she have an IEP?
  • Is there a private school for kids with dyslexia in your area?
  • Are there tutors who are specially trained to teach dyslexic children in your area?

Your course of action depends, in part, on the answers to these questions.

Bottom line: Your granddaughter must be taught how to read by a teacher or tutor who has specialized training in Multi-Sensory Structured Language Instruction. (Fact sheets about dyslexia and multisensory instruction)

Your granddaughter will not learn to read by spending 15 minutes or 15 hours with a special educator who does not have the training necessary to teach kids with dyslexia to read. (see The Best Kept Secret in Special Education and No Offense, But It’s Alarming That So Many Children Are Not Learning to Read)

You and the child’s parents need to educate yourselves about dyslexia and how kids with dyslexia learn to read. Begin by reading articles in the Doing Your Homework series by Suzanne Whitney. Sue is an expert in dyslexia and other language learning disabilities.

Contact the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) for a list of schools and trained tutors in your community.

The Scottish Rite Learning Centers provide free tutoring for children with dyslexia, and training for tutors.
Learn more at

Ensuring that a child with dyslexia receives the educational remediation needed to be a proficient reader isn’t easy.

Pete Wright was diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and “minimal brain dysfunction” in 1954, when he was 8 years old. In the 1950’s, educators didn’t know about dyslexia or how to teach dyslexic kids to read, write and do math. (Three Generations at the U.S. Supreme Court). Sadly, with schools insisting that “dyslexia is not a learning disability,” this changed in most parts of the country.

More than 50 years ago, Pete’s parents educated themselves and made sure he received the remediation he needed to be a proficient reader. In those days, it was much harder to find information about dyslexia and appropriate remediation. If you educate yourself and are determined, your granddaughter can get the remediation she needs to be a proficient reader.

Don’t give up – the stakes are too high!

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21 Comments on "“Dyslexia is Not a Learning Disability”"

thanks for sharing such an useful post. its really knowledgeable and useful for me.


I am a retired teacher of 37 years in Ky. I am walking in a mine–field right now. If there is a law on the books regarding dyslexia but the school/system says that dyslexia is not recognized as a learning disability, what should I as an educator say. I have been saying “dyslexia is not recognized as a learning disability” but the fact is, it is a law. Confusing!


My daughter loves books more than toys now that she is Home Educated. When she was in school she could hardly read. After just one year of Home School, she is reading big books. She got a letter from Prince William about her singing stories.

Children with memory problems must not be bullied to learn, they need time and compassion. When my daughter reads and gets stuck on a word, we write it down and she learns how to spell it. It does not matter if she forgets how to spell this word the next day, because that is part of her memory problem. The most important thing is that we are making progress!

I would love to know what dyslexic children think of my daughters singing stories. She is a great role model for children who hate reading.

Research Pat Dixon on You Tube about dyslexia maths. Interesting stuff!


my son was diagnosed with double-deficiet dyslexia. we were told he fell into the 1% severe category. We took him to be tested by a psychologist who did an IEE. that evaluation changed our world. i educated myself and also hired an advocate to attend my IEP meetings. When we were not getting the appropriate education my son needed to learn we hired an atty. He was placed in a private school for a year. That school improved his self esteem and confidents. He also rec’d the Wilson Reading Program. We definitely closed the reading gap. Today he is in 10th grade at a catholic High School with NO IEP. He is getting A’s & B’s and is no different then his peers. In order to help your child YOU must educate yourself. I spent 6 mos going to school on Saturday’s to become an educational advocate. i travel to conferences. He is a success today!!!!


Do the school districts today (2013) have an obligation to give children with dyslexia special services. Or….does the law no longer require them to assist this child.