Question for Israeli members re: dyslexia

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by svengandhi, Dec 30, 2007.

  1. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    My 11 year old son is dyslexic. He is so dyslexic that my school district is actually paying for him to attend an out of district private school that specializes in dyslexia. We have had great success with him using Orton-Gillingham and then Wilson and he now reads above grade level in English.

    However, we are now starting his Bar Mitzvah prep. I met with the Rabbi and was advised that he is at the bottom of his class in terms of his reading and writing in Hebrew. The usual methods are not working for him. He is at the top of the class in things like theory and history, but the reading and writing are just not coming.

    My question is this - I am sure there must be dyslexic native Hebrew speakers, so what is the Israeli or Hebrew equivalent of O-G and/or Wilson that could possibly help my son learn to read and write Hebrew. Making his Bar Mitzvah is important to him and it is becoming an issue because my 8 year old is advancing in his acquisition of Hebrew and may overtake him soon. I am Yeshiva educated and read and write Hebrew fluently (though my spoken Hebrew is very poor as we were not taught to converse in my day) so I would be able to work with him.

    The Rabbi said that if there is a software or other program that is not too expensive, the temple might consider funding it as my son is not the only Learning Disability (LD) child in the program.

    Thanks to anyone who might be able to help.
  2. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member


    I'm sorry I can't help at all. I never had a problem with dyslexia with any of my children. I would think, however, that if you contact any Jewish school in the USA you will find there are teachers of Hebrew who are from Israel, and who will be able to give you the names and addresses of the relevant organizations in Israel that deal with children with learning disorders and dyslexia.

    I wish you luck, and "nachas" from your kinder.

    Love, Esther
  3. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Esther. I thought I had a lot of kids, but you have me beat by THREE! I do shep nachas from them (mostly)although sometimes they make me meshuga!

    I have a friend I just thought of who is a teacher and whose H is Israeli. I don't know why I didn't think of her earlier since the son I wrote about is best friends with her son and was at her home when I posted! I will ask her if she knows anything.

    In addition, I subscribe to an online dyslexia newsletter and I will search their site to see if they have an Israeli counterpart.

    The yeshivot in my area are all Orthodox or Conservative and do not accept children with Learning Disability (LD)'s - they generally go to public school. We are in a Reform temple at this time (I felt it would be easier as there is less Hebrew required, but even this lesser amount is an obstacle for him) and the Reform movement does not have day schools.

    Now that you mention it, though, I do recall reading in the Jewish Press about a day school in Boro Park that specializes in children who can't "lein" the usual way. I will see if I can find that information.

    Esther, by the way, is my middle name in Hebrew.
  4. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    I am definitely not Israeli, but years ago I consulted with the Solomon Schechter Day Schools in the Chicago area regarding teaching Hebrew to dyslexic students. I do not know the specific outcome currently (such as if there is now software programs, etc) but in Chicago, the Jewish Day School system has extensive provisions for special education so I would think that contacting them would be helpful.

    I do not have a specific name for you, or I would PM it to you. However, I do have one anecdote that is illustrative: I once evaluated a child from a strictly Orthodox family who had multiple problems that resulted from a brain injury. He was the first born son and the pressure on him to read Hebrew was intense (writing was not going to happen in any language due to motor control problems.)His left-right orientation problems were such that he could not learn to read in two languages going in opposite directions. At 11, he was illiterate in English and Hebrew although he spoke English (his first language) very well and his spoken Hebrew was good according to his mother. I rarely make predictions about long term outcomes in children this young but when a child cannot look at the Hebrew alphabet or English alphabet and know which side of the page to orient to after years of instruction, the problem is not going away in my opinion.

    All of this has nothing to do with your child who has learned to read in English---with good results which is wonderful. However, this child's father's solution to the problem was novel: he moved his family to Israel so his son would only have to cope with one language. I lost track of the child after they moved, so I have no idea if he ever learned to read Hebrew. From my point of view, moving the family to Israel on the hope that the child could cope with one language better, is either a bit extreme or naive about how severe this child's Learning Disability (LD) was, but no one can argue with the idea that this solution probably "fixed" the child's left right orientation confusion.

    Best to you,

  5. Bugsy

    Bugsy New Member

    We are not orthodox but my children go to a jewish day school run by Lubavich Orthodox. I have found that if you contact the local Chabbad they have an endless bank of information and resources.

    If you still are having trouble I will be happy to talk to our school and see what they are doing for our special needs program called Ein Gedi and my orthodox family lives in Boro Park Brooklyn and I certianly can give my cousin a call.

    PM me if you need me to do some searching.

    Bugsy's mom
  6. Denali

    Denali New Member

    Hi, I am not Jewish but I do follow private/independent schools and teaching learning disabled students.

    You are prompting me to get back to a subject--there were a lot of news stories on the subject of religious education & Learning Disability (LD) kids in the spring, and I just didn't keep up with it all.

    At any rate, the Greenfield Hebrew Academy has a special "school within a school", M'silot, for kids with LDs. You might try calling them up for advice.

    The Partnership for Excellence In Jewish Education (PEJE) also has a community of practice for diverse learners

    Good luck! 2nd language can be difficult for the dyslexic child