TRENTON – To mark October as Dyslexia Awareness Month, the New Jersey Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NJSHA) is urging parents to seek advice of experts if they have concerns regarding their child’s reading or writing development or if they want to rule out a potential language-based learning disability.

Members of NJSHA say many children in New Jersey are not being identified or treated appropriately for a reading or writing disorder, sometimes referred to as language-based learning disabilities.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), speech-language pathologists (SLPs) play a critical and direct role in the development of literacy in children and adolescents and in the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of written language disorders, including dyslexia. That’s because: 

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  • SLPs have expertise about the components of language, including the meaning of words, pronunciation, letter-sound association and grammar. These components are interconnected, and impact spoken language, reading and written language abilities;

  • Students need to develop strong skills in speech and language to help them be successful in school, from preschool through college;

  • Spoken language provides the foundation for the development of reading and writing;

  • Spoken and written language are directly related;

  • Children with spoken language problems often have difficulty learning to read and write; and 

  • Instruction in speech can help a child excel in both reading and writing.

If your child has a history of speech or language delay, he/she may be at greater risk for struggles with reading and writing. SLPs identify the impact of early issues related to speech and language, determining if they are an underlying component for a reading or writing disorder.

Parents are encouraged to speak with a SLP in a public-school setting, in a private practice or hospital setting.

For Dyslexia Awareness Month, NJSHA is offering resources for parents to assist with early identification and to better understand the spoken and written language needs of children.

Visit www.njsha.org and click on the “Reading Disabilities Corner” listed in the Recent Updates scroll on the top right to obtain access to the state’s dyslexia laws, a state dyslexia handbook and other important resources.

Parents can learn about their rights in a document entitled, “Parental Rights in Special Education” or PRISE. Visit https://www.nj.gov/education/specialed/form/prise/