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Essentials of Dyslexia Assessment and Intervention
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 6, 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
"Essentials of Dyslexia Assessment" is, first and foremost, a textbook for teachers and literacy specialists. Its tone is sober and judicious. It avoids presenting information that is controversial or inadequately researched. The first six chapters present the accepted definitions of dyslexia, a short history, a synopsis of current scientific research, and a comprehensive look at how dyslexia affects the reading abilities of children and adults. There are plenty of charts, boxed reference points, and so on, with a summary "Test Yourself" at the end of every chapter. This section is so dense with information that it could be quite daunting unless you were using the text with the guidance of an instructor.

However, beginning with Chapter 7, the emphasis is on more practical material, and here the book, while still a textbook, also becomes valuable for parents of dyslexic children. In addition to chapters on instruction in phonological awareness, reading and spelling skills, and reading fluency, there is a valuable chapter on technological resources, another on dyslexia in different languages (including a look at ELL students with dyslexia), and a final chapter on special education law. An appendix presents summaries (organized alphabetically) of 26 remediation programs, from Barton to Wilson. There is a good glossary at the end, along with a good index. For parents and teachers alike, it will be a helpful reference. A lot of information has been packed into this book.

If you're just learning about dyslexia, is this the book to begin with? No. For that I'd go to Sally Shaywitz's "Overcoming Dyslexia," which was written with parents in mind and is excellent on both the scientific and educational aspects of dyslexia. I think that "Essentials of Dyslexia Assessment" is a fine and useful resource, though, and if you have a personal or professional interest in this subject, you'll want to own it.

M. Feldman
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69 of 83 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 26, 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
While this book covers many aspects of dyslexia assessment and intervention well, I was absolutely shocked by what was missing from this book. The goal of this book is to be "practical, step-by-step information on accurately identifying, assessing, and using evidence-based interventions with individuals with dyslexia". For those that understand the complex nature of dyslexia, this is a pretty lofty goal for one book. And, as should be expected with a relatively compact book, it fell well short of meeting its mark. While the book did well in the topics that it covered (for the most part, with some exceptions), the things that were not covered were the most surprising and made me the most uneasy about this book.
For example, while it is well established that dyslexia disproportionately affects individuals with higher IQ's, there was very little in this book about gifted children. Over half of all children with dyslexia have above average IQ's and this book dedicates little more than occasional paragraphs to dealing with gifted children who have dyslexia. In fact, the book barely covers what has become known as "stealth dyslexia" (the book never even mentions stealth dyslexia), which is children that are clearly dyslexic, but are almost impossible to diagnose with traditional methods of assessment because their overall IQ allows them to compensate (mostly temporarily) for their reading difficulties.
The book also fails to cover the positive attributes associated with individuals with dyslexia. Yes, individuals with dyslexia then to have problems (sometimes very severe) problems with reading, spelling, decoding, phonics, etc. However, they also tend to have excellent abilities in things such as material and dynamic reasoning (basically, they often miss the details, but understand the "gist" of information amazingly well. The often miss the trees, but they understand the forest on a scale often not found in non-dyslexic individuals).
Another area missing from this book was the possibility of misdiagnosis of other disorders that might mask or mimic dyslexia. I was also pretty shocked that the book never mentioned issues that are sometimes tandem with dyslexia (like vision issues such as eye teaming or eye tracking or auditory processing issues).
This book really feel into the trap of looking at dyslexia as a "reading disorder" when dyslexia isn't that at all. Dyslexia if more of a way the brain processes information. Because of the way the the brain of dyslexic individuals tends to process information (looking at the whole instead of individual parts), this makes the acquisition of skills such as reading (both encoding and decoding of phonemes) much more difficult. Reading is a skill of looking at parts and seeing how they make up a whole, if you have trouble seeing the "parts" you are going to have a lot of trouble reading. However, dyslexic individuals don't tend to have a problem with comprehension - so tagging it as a reading issue only (which was a large gist of this book) is very problematic.
Another big area of dificiency was the look at home environment - stating that environment was a risk factor for dyslexia - what? Genetics is a risk factor as dyslexic parents tend to have dyslexic children, but dyslexia again is found in the way children process information. This book actually sited things such as lack of books in the home as a possible contributing factor for dyslexia. I have never, ever seen this factor and I have read deeply on dyslexia (I am dyslexic, have a dyslexic child, and have a Master's degree in Education). Yes, a lack of reading materials and an impoverished language environment IS a risk factor for poor reading skills, but poor reading skills doesn't equal dyslexia. In fact, this book failed to distinguish between what is a learning disability (like poor phonological awareness, poor decoding skill, poor encoding skill, lack of exposure, poor articulation) and what is dyslexia. I am very concerned for any educator that would use this book as a way of getting information on, diagnosing, and providing intervention for dyslexic individuals. Even the list on interventions and accommodations was woefully inadequate (it listed Earobics as an intervention, but not a just as effective and much more readily available Hear Builder software program). I was also shocked to the core when they actually recommended partnering a dyslexic child with a better reading in the class as a dyslexia intervention. WHAT!!!!! Are you kidding me? One should hope for a trained specialist working with their dyslexic child, if that isn't available the person helping the child and being a partnered reader should at least be an adult knowledgeable in reading that can provide a safe environment for the child to gain not only skill, but confidence. This book quotes many a "celebrity" that is dyslexic (like Tom Cruise and Steve Forbes) and one of the common themes was feeling "stupid" or being teased and feeling behind. Why in the world would you recommend exposing the difficulties of the student by partnering them with a better reader in the classroom? And parents of the better reading are sending their child to school to get an education, not be be a substitute reading intervention specialist!
As I read through this book with horror my suspicions were confirmed when I read through the references. While the references are extensive - again the most telling are the names NOT listed. You won't find the work of Dr. Brock Eide, Dr. Fernette Eide, Ronald Davis, Dr. Larry Beason, Dr. Sylvia Moody, Dr. Manual Cassonova, and honestly many others. Not all of these authors agree with one another on dyslexia, but they have all added much to the field (including brain research). In fact, when are currently recognized expert was cited (like Dr. Maryanne Wolf or Dr. Sally Shaywitz) it seemed to be mentioned just in passing and not really core to what the book was area being dealt with within the text.
I had really high hopes for this book, but I couldn't even recommend it with caution at this point. It needs a complete rework, especially if it is going to be put into the hands of education professions who haven't had significant training in dyslexia. It really could end up causing more harm than good.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Essentials of Dyslexia: Assessment and Intervention by Nancy Mather and Barbara Wendling is an excellent resource for school psychologists, educators, and parents. It is written in a clear and concise declarative style that provides authoritative information about what dyslexia is, how it is treated, and what are the most robust treatments and accommodations. The chapters on dyslexia in the schools, dyslexia in other languages, the history of dyslexia, treatments for dyslexia, and technology resources for dyslexia stand alone as valuable contributions to understanding and treatment of dyslexia. They have produced a book on dyslexia assessment that removes the obfuscation sometimes attached to this subject and construct. The reader comes away with a fundamental understanding of dyslexia as well as being exposed to an excellent review of contemporary resources and treatments. In my opinion, the two best books on dyslexia for professionals and parents are Sally Shaywitz's Overcoming Dyslexia and Essentials of Dyslexia: Assessment and Intervention. These two books complement each other in meaningful ways. They are indispensible for school psychologists, educators, and informed adults who are engaged in dyslexia assessment or who wish to understand best practices in the assessment and treatment of dyslexia. It is also notable that Sally and Bennett Shaywitz contributed a chapter on the neurology of dyslexia. In addition, important historical developments in dyslexia research are included here which are not found in other volumes and textbooks. As a psychologist who has been dedicated to dyslexia assessment and treatment over the past 40 years, I would give this book my full and most enthusiastic endorsement. If you were only going to read two books on the subject, you could do no better than reading this book and Sally Shaywitz's. For psychologists and others involved in dyslexia assessment and intervention, these two books are absolutes "musts" for their professional libraries or media devices. For parents of children and for adults with dyslexia, these two books provide the information they need to understand what a good assessment involves and, most importantly, what are the best treatments, accommodations, and relevant technology as they negotiate schools and universities. 5-Stars+.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Mathers and Wendling have written a great book. This little book is the single best introduction to dyslexia intervention that I have ever read. The authors provide some background into the theoretical and research basis for dyslexia, then address the manifestations of dyslexia in the various stages of reading/writing acquisition, while providing useful and practical interventions along the way. This easy-to-read text can be mastered by a concerned parent as well as an educator. Because of its readability and practicality, I have adopted it as one of my textbooks for my university course. Kudos to Mathers and Wendling!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I ordered this book as a parent, and it is way over my head. Way too detailed for what I wanted it for. Probably wonderful resource for a teacher or someone in the medical field but too intense for a mom just wanting to learn more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is written by two professionals expert on the topic of dyslexia. It is well organized, well written, pretty comprehensive, well researched. It covers topics from the perspectives of parents, teachers and school administrators, and psychologists. I was favorably impressed with this very comprehensive overview! I recommend it for school staff libraries and support groups for parents of children with dyslexia.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The authors and editors of this series provide a text which should be reading for all classroom teachers! As mentioned in chapter twelve, teacher training colleges should offer courses specifically on such conditions and in-service training made available to teachers. This text would be a great reference in either case. Without losing many land-mark references (most of them found in chapter II), the authors bring the reader up to date on research from the neurosciences and genetics. Information from MRI and genetic studies are presented without hype or promises which cannot be fulfilled at this time. While these venues of research are of value and support the current knowledge, no panacea is offered.

I was impressed by the "Don't forget","Rapid References" boxes throughout each chapter as well as the "Test Yourself" section at the end of each chapter. Also, a glossary,an appendix providing a list of evidence-based programs and an annotated bibliography are offered.

The chapters are well written with a logical sequence starting with "Understanding Dyslexia" where a working definition and prevalance information is offered. Another often forgotten finding is the comorbidity of dyslexia. Having conducted psycho-educational assessments for over two decades, the comorbidity of this, and similar conditions are often overlooked.

The second chapter "Brief history of dyslexia" is informative yet somewhat disheartening in that there are suggestions dating back to the 1930's which have not made their way into many mainstream classrooms. Today, similar suggestions resurface under the label of "Differentiated Instruction". A sentence from page 41 caused me to wonder why more has not been done in addressing dyslexia: "Much was known about the causes and treatments for dyslexia over a century ago and research and technology continue to enhance that knowledge". It is my opinion that, if the term "cancer" or another condition were substituted, there would be Senate investigations and public uproar. However, this knowledge is distributed, discarded and, in many cases, many classrooms return to status quo.

The chapters on the assessment and instruction are filled with information which can assist the educator in developing strategies to assist in the instruction of children with these, and related, difficulties.

This book comes highly recommended for educators as well as parents, who are part of the team responsible for training the minds who will be making decisions in the future.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Essentials of Dyslexia Assessment and Intervention is a much needed and welcomed contribution to the field of dyslexia and should appeal to a wide audience including special education teachers, college instructors, psychologists, diagnosticians, parents and even those who suffer from it. Consistent with the Essential series, Mather and Wendling provide comprehensive coverage on the complexities of dyslexia including historical perspectives, neuropsychological research, assessment, technological applications, dyslexia and ELL and evidenced-based programs for remediation. As a practitioner in school psychology with over 30 years of experience and an assistant professor that teaches assessment, I am pleased to recommend this text by two highly respected sagacious authors, both of whom continue to make significant contributions to the field of special education. I am confident you will find it to be a valuable resource. With every good wish, Marshall Andrew Glenn, Ph.D., NCSP, Diplomate, American Board of School Neuropsychology, Assistant Professor, Oklahoma City University.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Essentials of Dyslexia Assessment and Intervention is a wonderful addition to the Essentials Series. It is well organized and provides information for people who are new to the field of learning disabilities as well as those who have been in the field for many years. The book provides a history of dyslexia research and new teaching strategies and interventions. The authors also describe assessments that measure skills needed to read, write and spell. The chapter on technology is current and offers many well-researched programs. The appendix is a great resource for program descriptions and ordering information. As an experienced professional, I find this book invaluable. I have recommended it to many of my colleagues and the response is very positive. I hope that Nancy Mather and Barbara Welding continue to write books for the Essentials series, because their books are excellent resources for all people involved in education.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have to commend Mather and Wendling on taking the magnitude of information that is known about dyslexia and formatting it into an accessible and practical guide. Let me clearly state for the previous reviewer who believes that a learning disability impacting the core skills involved in reading is somehow not dyslexia, that their definition of dyslexia is not the one widely accepted by the field of professionals who research in reading disabilities. Dyslexia is a very broad term defining a neurobiological disorder[a learning disability] that impairs a person's ability to read and can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, rapid naming, etc. As stated by Mather and Wendling, dyslexia is a learning disability that impacts the ability to decode (read) and encode (spell).
I am a 20 year teacher of students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, the mother of an adult son with dyslexia, and a Ph.D. who teaches and researched in dyslexia and other reading disorders. IMHO, the authors hit a homerun with this book - it does exactly what it says - provides practical information in an easy to read format that will benefit laypersons, teachers, and related service providers. It is on my shelf, will be in my classrooms, and on every recommended bibliography in my undergraduate and graduate literacy and assessment classes I teach.
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