Q: My second grade son was just diagnosed with dyslexia.
He attends a dual immersion school where half the classes teach reading, spelling and writing in Spanish. The other half teach those same subjects in English.
If I hire a Certified Barton Tutor to work with him twice a week after school, is it okay to leave him in that dual immersion school?
A: Sadly, no.
Although he can continue to speak a second language, I strongly recommend a child with dyslexia be taught how to read, write, and spell in one language only.
You should choose the language that he will use the most as an adult.
Since you are in the United States, that language should be English.
He needs to be taught sounds of the vowels and consonants in English, and the American spelling rules.
If he tries to learn the sounds and spelling rules of a second language at the same time, it will greatly confuse him and slow down his progress in both languages.
American Sign Language
Students with dyslexia should be excused from foreign languages classes and allowed to take American Sign Language instead. Since American Sign Language is a visually based language, many dyslexic students can master that language.
The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity also recommends that option. To see that for yourself, go to:
Many states now have laws that public schools must accept American Sign Language as a foreign language. Click on this link to see a list of those states:
To learn which colleges allow a foreign language waiver for students with dyslexia, and how to make that happen, go to:
In California, most high schools do not offer American Sign Language courses. But students who are in high school can dual enroll in a local junior college. Many junior colleges offer American Sign Language classes. So perhaps when your son is in high school, he can take one during the summer or in the evening to satisfy the high school’s foreign language requirement.
BYU offers a live on-line American Sign Language class.
There is a free online ASL course at:
There is another on-line ASL course at www.signingonline.com, which fulfills the requirements for foreign language. It not only covers signing, but also the history and culture of the deaf population.
If you have any more questions about dual immersions schools, foreign language, or American Sign Language, please contact me again.