Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children patient with dyslexia in the classroom

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects approximately 10 percent of children. Those diagnosed with dyslexia have trouble connecting sounds to letter symbols. This affects the way children with dyslexia learn to read and spell. Fortunately, major strides have been made in understanding the language-based disorder, many of them at Scottish Rite Hospital. Children with dyslexia can learn to read and be successful despite their learning differences. 

Our Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia & Learning Disorders is named for Dr. Lucius Waites, who in 1965 established a program at Scottish Rite Hospital to identify and treat children with learning disorders, primarily dyslexia. The World Federation of Neurology met at Scottish Rite Hospital in 1968 and formulated the first consensus definition of developmental dyslexia. Our Center for Dyslexia is now internationally recognized in the field of learning disorders.

Dyslexia is a word reading problem due to differences in the brain that make learning letter sounds difficult. Without adequate letter-sound knowledge, recognizing words in print is slow and inaccurate. The root cause is weak phonological, not visual, processing. This phonological weakness is with the sounds of language.

There is no single test for dyslexia. Dyslexia is identified by gathering information about all of the factors that influence reading development and measuring reading ability. Family, medical, social-emotional and school data include questionnaires, health records, behavior ratings, grades and academic testing. Adequate general intellectual functioning, oral language, vision and hearing are determined using prior results or direct assessment. The dyslexia evaluation includes tests of the root cause (phonological processing) and reading subskills (accuracy, speed, comprehension, spelling). A clinician, or assessment team, makes the diagnosis after studying all of the relevant information.

Intervention for dyslexia directly, explicitly and systematically teaches an awareness of the sounds of language, letter-sound associations, vocabulary and strategies for understanding written language. Guided, repeated practice enables the child to apply what they have learned efficiently. Intensity (e.g., smaller group size, extended length of sessions and treatment, more individualized lessons) is what distinguishes dyslexia intervention from regular reading instruction. Take Flight: A Comprehensive Intervention for Students with Dyslexia is the most recent treatment developed by the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia & Learning Disorders.

The entire Center for Dyslexia Application for Evaluation should be completed. Please attach copies of previous tests and educational plans, as well as additional school related information as noted on page 5. 

In addition, the Academic Checklist is included at the end of the Center for Dyslexia Application for Evaluation and is required. Parents should select the appropriate form and have the child's teacher complete the requested information.

Please note:
  • Only the form applicable to the child's current grade is needed.
  • There is an academic checklist specific to kindergarten and one designed for grades 1-9.
All applications are reviewed to determine eligibility. The parents/guardian will receive either a phone call or letter regarding the child's eligibility. For help with the application process, please call 214-559-7815.

Our Center for Dyslexia’s research program focuses on the causes and treatment of dyslexia. The Center’s research team has worked with institutions of the University of Texas system in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Research findings have been presented at the World Congress of Dyslexia, and the annual conferences of the International Dyslexia Association and the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading.

Research projects have included studies on: 

The center provides evaluation and diagnosis for children with academic learning disorders, as well as specialized treatment for those with dyslexia. Led by medical director Sheryl Frierson, M.D., and director Gladys Kolenovsky, the center’s team combines the experience and skills of medicine and education. Learn more about becoming our patient or request an appointment

The center is dedicated to giving children with dyslexia the tools and confidence to be successful both in school and in life. To help with this journey, we are committed to educating teachers on the Take Flight curriculum to expand our mission and help children across the country. 

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