What Does a Dyslexia Specialist Do?

Tara Barnett

A dyslexia specialist is any person who is specially trained to help someone overcome dyslexia, usually in a classroom or educational setting. This profession is not well defined, and job duties may differ depending on the area, but in most cases a specialist of this type works on reading skills. In some cases, a specialist might be charged with identifying potential cases of dyslexia. Some schools, particularly those that educate beginning readers, ensure that all teachers receive some training in identification of dyslexia. Even so, a dyslexia specialist may still be useful when attempting to overcome this disability over time.

A specialist who works with dyslexic children in school might focus on tutoring and homework.
A specialist who works with dyslexic children in school might focus on tutoring and homework.

The job of a dyslexia specialist depends on the group that hires the specialist. For example, a specialist who works only with dyslexic children in a school might spend a large amount of time doing exercises and recommending special homework. A teacher with special training in identifying dyslexia, however, would more likely try to help the student within the classroom and recommend extra help if needed.

Individuals with dyslexia may experience reading and writing difficulties.
Individuals with dyslexia may experience reading and writing difficulties.

Some specialists work outside of educational institutions entirely and may be hired directly by parents to help a single child. This allows for an individualized plan and may involve regular meeting times. In some cases, a dyslexia specialist of this type might need training that goes above and beyond simple certification in order to justify the cost to parents. Additionally, much of a specialist's time might involve finding new people with which to work.

In some areas, there is special and regulated training required to become a dyslexia specialist. This training might include information about the causes, treatments, and diagnosis criteria for dyslexia. Duties of a dyslexia specialist are typically secondary to the professional's duties as a teacher, so a specialist might only alter his or her profession by being more alert to this particular disorder.

There are also specialists who study dyslexia and do research on new treatments. These people may not ever directly work with people in order to help them overcome dyslexia, but they often provide much of the important research that helps others design treatment plans. Researchers may spend their time studying what is known about dyslexia and designing experiments that test new ideas about how it might be overcome. They also typically write papers, present research, and may even teach in a field like psychology.

What a dyslexia specialist does also depends on the advances in research about dyslexia at a specific time. While some people employ a straightforward strategy of spending more time on reading and writing, others use special dyslexia exercises. Given the breadth of the definition of dyslexia, what a dyslexia specialist does may also in some ways depend on the student.

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