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How Dyslexia Affects Speech

Imagine you’re watching television and suddenly you recognize the face of your mom’s favorite actor. You call her up immediately. “Hey, turn on your TV. It’s… it’s… you know the guy… that actor you love… from the thing….”  Suddenly you’re at a loss for words, even though you know who the actor is. You’re experiencing a momentary problem with what experts call word retrieval or word finding. Everyone experiences this now and then. But with dyslexia, it can happen often and with all types of words.


Kids and adults with dyslexia may know a word but have trouble remembering how it sounds. The word they want to say may be “on the tip of their tongue.” But they have trouble bringing to mind the exact sound combination for that word.  People with dyslexia may say a wrong word that sounds similar to the right one (like extinct instead of distinct). Or they may talk around it using vague words like thing or stuff. This kind of mental hiccup can happen when they’re writing too. Read more

Oral Language Impairments and Dyslexia

Children have a natural gift for language learning and most children acquire oral language with little difficulty. However, some children have problems in language development and demonstrate impairments in their use and/or understanding of spoken language. Children may have difficulties pronouncing words, acquiring vocabulary, and/or learning the grammatical rules of language. 

Oral language impairments also place children at risk for difficulties in reading comprehension. Because oral language is the foundation for written language, a limited vocabulary and/or problems with morphology and syntax can cause difficulties in deriving meaning from written text. Read more

Support for Speech in School


Individualized Education Plan (IEP) via Special Education*

  • Data-based assessment of student’s present levels of functioning related to speech (ie. the student’s needs and how disability in this area impacts progress in the curriculum)

  • Goals in IEP related to speech (Ex. goals for articulation of sounds / words, fluency of speech, processing what is heard, etc.) An example of a goal for expressive language could be, “Given a picture or a series of pictures, student will formulate 4 or more grammatically correct sentences to tell a short narrative describing the picture in 70% of opportunities.”

  • Progress monitoring in IEP to see if student is meeting individualized goals to grow in skills and close gap with peers

  • Services of specialized teachers to teach your child how to achieve their individualized goals and monitor their progress towards meeting goals. For speech, students typically receive speech-language therapy from a speech language pathologist (SLP).

  • Accommodations to address student’s unique needs in IEP such as “Allow the student time to express themselves. Do not interrupt a slow speaker” or “Allow the student to substitute oral assignments with written papers or use other available technologies.”

504 Plan

  • Accommodations as noted above in IEP plan 

* Reminder: All services provided via special education should be provided in the least restrictive environment, which is a typical classroom whenever possible. Special education is a service, not a place.

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