Decoding Dyslexia. This Cognitive Disorder Need Not Impede Students
String students with learning disabilities can be taught—if the teacher learns the signs
Few high points in Patricia Wyatt’s teaching career match the moments when a student strides onto the performance stage and sails through “Hot Cross Buns,” showcasing a musical ability that’s been nurtured despite learning disabilities so severe that the student can’t speak in complete sentences or needs help walking down the hall. In particular, Wyatt has found joy in helping students with dyslexia excel—a skill most teachers need, even if they don’t know it.
“[Dyslexic students] are in string classes more often than you would normally think,” says Wyatt, orchestra director in several Howard County public schools in Maryland. “And the tricky part is that many dyslexic students might not be diagnosed—or if they have been, the diagnosis might not be shared with the string teacher. You have to look for signs of confusion, and go from there.”
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