Ep. 21: What You Know and Don’t Know About Dyslexia with Dr. Lauren McClenney-Rosenstein

Mar 16, 2021 | 0 comments

I am thrilled to welcome today’s guest to help us break apart the myths of dyslexia. You’ve likely heard of dyslexia, but what is it really? As today’s guest points out, it’s more than we think it is and the work that she does to educate parents, teachers, and communities is very impactful.

Today’s guest is Dr. Lauren McClenney-Rosenstein. She is a passionate advocate for dyslexia awareness with a background in education within private and public schools. She earned her Doctor of Education in Teaching, Learning, Leadership, and Curriculum in 2019 and holds a dual masters in Special Education and Elementary Education. Her journey from classroom educator to founder of Think Dyslexia is amazing and her mission is to bring awareness, knowledge, and change to a systemic literacy issue within public schools.

It all starts with awareness and information. So listen to today’s episode to take the first step in understanding dyslexia, what it is, what it isn’t, and how we can start making important changes in addressing the needs of every student.


Show Notes:

[2:21] – Dr. Lauren shares her background and how she came into working in the field of special education and specifically with those with dyslexia.

[4:01] – Dr. Lauren’s experience in private and public schools gave her many experiences that she uses today in her career field. Her journey has given her a well-rounded background.

[6:04] – A great place to start to get the full definition and details about dyslexia is the International Dyslexia Association.

[6:23] – Defined by Dr. Lauren, dyslexia is a language-based learning difference. It is characterized by trouble with fluency in reading and writing and understanding the different components of language.

[7:15] – Dyslexia is more complex than the common belief that it is just the reversal of letters, numbers, and words.

[8:38] – There are a lot of myths surrounding dyslexia. Letter reversal is not always an indicator. Until a certain age, letter reversal is developmentally appropriate.

[9:23] – The number one myth that Dr. Lauren has heard regarding dyslexia is the below average intelligence.

[10:15] – Dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence. Dr. Lauren explains that there is a systemic issue on the university level when training teachers on how to accommodate students with learning differences.

[11:09] – Dr. Wilson shares that there are also a lot of non-verbal cues that children with dyslexia pick up on that may make them feel that they are not smart enough to learn.

[11:57] – The big takeaway from learning about dyslexia is that it is language-based.

[12:22] – Another myth is that dyslexia will go away. It is not an illness that can be cured, but rather the way the brain is wired.

[13:31] – Although dyslexia isn’t something that can be cured, with the right intervention and starting the intervention early on, improvement can certainly be made.

[13:58] – Karen points out that dyslexia looks very different for each child who has it. This causes a lot of students to be overlooked in assessing their need for intervention.

[14:24] – Dr. Lauren compares the dyslexic “spectrum” to the spectrum of autism. Everyone is impacted very differently by this learning difference and many have comorbid disabilities.

[15:37] – There are some early indicators that parents and teachers can look for in grades as early as Kindergarten, including knowing their alphabet and being able to rhyme.

[17:39] – Dyslexia is more closely tied to hearing and receiving sounds rather than just letter and word reversal.

[19:36] – Dr. Lauren describes that systemic issue of understanding dyslexia. She also discusses the impact of affordability and demographics.

[20:58] – There is also a very real problem of race causing the mislabeling of students, specifically in boys.

[21:53] – Teaching is an exhausting career, but as educators it is their responsibility to help find the root cause of the problem. Dr. Lauren explains that it is the systemic issue at the university level of not providing teachers the understanding surrounding behaviors.

[22:54] – Dr. Wilson discusses the research surrounding race and the mislabeling of students of color.

[24:46] – Dr. Lauren shares that she has had experiences with families while explaining dyslexia that the parents themselves didn’t realize that they likely have dyslexia as well.

[26:02] – Understanding that dyslexic is genetic, Dr. Lauren is passionate in building relationships with the families of the students she works with.

[27:05] – By the time a student reaches third grade, they are reading to learn rather than learning to read. However, some fluent readers still show signs of dyslexia as their comprehension is impacted.

[29:37] – The first step in making change is having these conversations. Dr. Lauren is realizing that people want to know this information and want to be aware but don’t have the resources.

[30:22] – Dr. Lauren is also passionate about networking with others to help provide resources to communities.

[31:05] – It is a complex situation that is not an easy fix, but the literacy gap is huge.

[32:09] – Spreading awareness and understanding is the first step in this change. Parents who children are struggling to read may blame the teacher for not teaching them rather than trying to find the root cause of the problem.

[33:24] – Dr. Lauren is the founder of Think Dyslexia and explains how she came to developing this platform.

[35:44] – The mission for Think Dyslexia is to bring this knowledge to school districts to train teachers and provide support for educators in the field.


About Our Guest:

Dr. Lauren McClenney-Rosenstein’s passion for educating, advocating, and bringing awareness to dyslexia at the domestic and international levels began in the elementary classrooms of private schools serving students with language-based learning disabilities. She has been a certified Special Educator for a decade, and she earned her Doctor of Education in Teaching, Learning, Leadership, and Curriculum in 2019 from Northeastern University and holds a dual masters in Special Education and Elementary Education from Syracuse University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Syracuse University. Her dedication to providing the gold standard of instruction to individuals with dyslexia led her to obtain her endorsement at the Associate level through The Orton-Gillingham Academy in 2014. Eventually, she expanded her skill set in the public schools as a 7th and 8th grade math and English Language Arts (ELA) co-teacher before taking a position with a non-profit organization that advocates for inclusion in public schools for students with disabilities.


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