Agency Spotlight: The International Dyslexia Association

Agency Spotlight: The International Dyslexia Association

Watching a child struggle with reading, writing, and other academic areas can be heartbreaking for parents and other family members. The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) strives to help parents of dyslexic children, as well as, others with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences overcome these challenges. With its 46 branches, located throughout the United States and Canada, and its 21 global partners across 18 countries, including Australia, Brazil, England, Germany, Ireland, and Japan, the IDA is a non-profit, scientific, and educational organization dedicated to the study and treatment of dyslexia and other learning difficulties.

The organization estimates that up to 20% of the population demonstrate signs of dyslexia and a recent study revealed that as many as 35% of entrepreneurs may be dyslexic. Each year, the IDA answers 30,000-40,000 direct inquiries to their national office from individuals seeking more information about dyslexia. Due to an increased demand for support services, the IDA has shifted to offer more resources directly to parents of dyslexic children.

As a result, the IDA has developed the Parent Pilot Program to help parents of children with dyslexia or other reading and writing difficulties. This unique program provides parents access to an online interactive community including a discussion forum, blog and more, a bi-monthly dyslexia newsletter, access to Perspectives (The IDA’s quarterly publication focusing on dyslexia and other reading problems), discounted pricing on IDA publications, access to Annals of Dyslexia (a journal dedicated to the scientific study of dyslexia), discounted admission to the IDA’s annual conference which includes top experts on dyslexia, an online referral service for treatment professionals, the opportunity for educational scholarships for their children, as well as travel and insurance discounts. In addition to all of these services, each parent will also be connected to their local branch of the IDA, which will provide local support and services. The IDA also provides other resources for parents who suspect that their children have dyslexia or another learning challenge. To help parents identify if their child has dyslexia, the IDA sends out an e-newsletter describing the signs and symptoms of dyslexia and other learning-related challenges.

The IDA website also provides a great number of fact sheets, which are designed specifically for parents. These fact sheets cover a range of topics including dysgraphia, home schooling, and social and emotional problems related to dyslexia.

The IDA President and world-renowned dyslexia expert, Dr. Guinevere F. Eden, uses brain imaging technology to visualize how reading pathways of the brain are impacted by instruction, mode of communication, and writing systems. MRI scans conducted by Dr. Eden and her team show that learning areas activated in the brain of a dyslexic are different from those of “typical readers.” Dr. Eden says, “This organization is sincerely dedicated to helping those with dyslexia and with other reading and writing difficulties. The IDA believes that every individual has the ability to learn, some just learn in different ways than others.”

In order to promote effective teaching approaches and related clinical educational intervention strategies for people with dyslexia, the IDA has developed the Matrix of Multisensory Structured Language Programs. This project provides parents with various language programs that are available for dyslexic children and aims to help parents choose which language program is best for their specific child. Through the determination of the IDA, individuals with dyslexia will have the opportunity to lead a productive and fulfilling life.

Currently, the IDA is urging Congress to pass the newly developed Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act, introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). This act will offer federal monies to support instruction, intervention, and professional development for teachers and support personnel, and the IDA has drafted model language for state literacy laws. Once passed, these laws will assist states in accessing the funds and establish a set of standards to determine which educational entities will receive the federal grants.

If you would like to find an IDA Member Professional in your area, become a member of the IDA or the Pilot Parent Program, or find out more information about the organization, visit the IDA website

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