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Understanding Dyslexia




Dyslexia is a specific disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.

These difficulties typically (but not solely) result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.

Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding.


Learn About Dyslexia

*Read literature about dyslexia. Books, such as Overcoming Dyslexia by Dr. Sally Shaywitz, have been crucial for many parents in understanding our children’s needs.

*Take our Dyslexia training course so that you can help your child at home.

*Learn more about state and federal special education laws by attending Rhode Island Advocacy for Children parent training and workshops.

*Get second opinions through private testing by a university, learning center, neuorpsychologist, educational evaluator, speech pathologist, developmental pediatrician, occupational therapist or other specialists.

*Speak to advocates, educators in public schools and special education attorneys.

*Attend seminars, get on mailing lists, and network with others from support groups and LD organizations in your area.


We are well-versed in providing dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia educational advocacy, information and referral services.  Our founder, Joanna Scocchi, serves on the Rhode Island Commission on the Educational Needs for Children with Dyslexia and/or other Reading Disabilities.




Please note that we do not officially endorse, represent or have any legal connection to any of the resources listed below. These are websites, films and books that many parents have found very useful in their personal searches for information on and about dyslexia.


Yale Center for Dyslexia & /creativity |
Learning Ally (formerly RFB&D) |
Bookshare |
The Gaab Lab at Boston Children's Hospital
The McGovern Institute at MIT,
Headstrong Nation Founded by Author and Advocate Ben Foss
Children’s Dyslexia Centers, Inc |
The International Dyslexia Association |
National Center for Learning Disabilities |
LD Online |
Bright Solutions for Dyslexia |
Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy |
Dyslegia: A Legislative Information Site |
Proactive Parent |
Special Education: Understanding Federal and State Statutory Requirements


Films on Dyslexia:
The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia |
Dislecksia – The Movie |
Like Stars on Earth (English version)  a great movie!


You Tube Videos:
"Attention and Dyslexia"
"Tracking the Roots of Reading Ability"
"The D-Word: Understanding Dyslexia"
"How Learning Effects a Child's Emotions"
"Choose Strength not Shame"


College Bound Dyslexics:
Scholarships for Students with Disabilities
Top 10 Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities 


Book Resources:
Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level
by Sally Shaywitz, M.D.; Vintage (2005) — A great book that explains what dyslexia is and gives parents tools for helping their children become fluent readers. One of the most helpful and informative books that most parents read early in their journey
that really open their eyes and pointed them in the right direction to seek the help their kids needed.


Parenting a Struggling Reader
by Susan L. Hall and Louisa C. Moats; Broadway (2002) — This book helped explain how school systems work and provided
real-world practical guidance on how to understand and work within the framework of the public school system. It also helped us understand the need to sometimes look outside public schools for additional resources.


Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy: The Special Education Survival Guide
by Pam Wright and Pete Wright; Harbor House Law Press (2006) — Realizing that your child has an LD (or any disability) can set parents off on a roller coaster of emotions. This fabulous book helped us distinguish facts from emotions in order to properly document the facts and best advocate for our daughter.


The Human Side of Dyslexia: 142 Interviews with Real People Telling Real Stories About Their Coping Strategies with Dyslexia
by Shirley Kurnoff; London Universal, (2001) — Just as the title says, this book is packed with real stories by people with dyslexia. While many books on dyslexia focus on the mechanics of the learning disability, this is the human story of the people who live with it. Through their stories we learn their strategies and tools for coping with the reading disability. Many of the stories are inspirational and will be a comfort to parents who worry about their child’s future.


The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science
by Norman Doidge; Penguin Books (2007) — An astonishing new science called “neuroplasticity” is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable. In this revolutionary look at the brain, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., provides an introduction to both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they’ve transformed.


The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain
by Brock L. Eide M.D. M.A. and Fernette F. Eide M.D., Plume (2012) — In this groundbreaking book, Brock and Fernette Eide explain how 20% of people—individuals with dyslexia—share a unique learning style that can create advantages in a classroom, at a job, or at home. Using their combined expertise in neurology and education, the authors show how these individuals not only perceive the written​word differently but may also excel at spatial reasoning, see insightful connections that others simply miss, understand the world in stories, and display amazing creativity.


The Dyslexic Empowerment Plan, by Ben Foss
After years of battling with a school system that did not understand his dyslexia and the shame that accompanied it, renowned activist and entrepreneur Ben Foss is not only open about his dyslexia, he is proud of it. In The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan he shares his personal triumphs and failures so that you can learn from his experiences, and provides a three-step approach for success.