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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Profile – SE student overcomes learning challenges

Student+assistant+Allison+Hebron+helps+other+students+in+the+SE+Student+Success+Center.++%0APhoto+by+Heather+Shannon%2FThe+Collegian
Student assistant Allison Hebron helps other students in the SE Student Success Center. Photo by Heather Shannon/The Collegian

By Jalyn Sneed/reporter

Teaching aids, supportive parents help tackle dyslexia

Connecting letters to sounds. Decoding words. Recognizing sight words. Reading fluently.

Although these skills come naturally to most people, they don’t come as easy for a person with dyslexia.

Student assistant Allison Hebron helps other students in the SE Student Success Center.   Photo by Caitlin Herron/The Collegian
Student assistant Allison Hebron helps other students in the SE Student Success Center.
Photo by Caitlin Shannon/The Collegian

SE Campus student Allison Hebron, 21, was diagnosed with dyslexia in the third grade and knows all about the challenges it brings.

“I didn’t really see the signs of it at first,” she said. “My mom is the one who had me tested.”

Dyslexia is a lifelong common learning disability in the U.S. that makes it difficult to read and understand words, letters and/or symbols. Like many students with dyslexia, the skills Hebron often found herself struggling with in school were reading, math and writing.

“It was hard for me,” she said. “I would spend like one to two hours on math homework. When most kids would tell me, ‘I finished my math homework and then watched TV,’ I was like, ‘How can you possibly have time to watch TV after your math homework?’”

Since dyslexia can make it hard for people to understand and remember what they’ve read, Hebron found herself practicing her reading comprehension by reading several books to help develop her skills.

“I did a lot of reading at home,” she said. “It was hard for me to find something I was interested in. My parents would assign me a book and chapter because I’d want to read the same book over and over.”

Allison’s mother, Becky Hebron, was a big help at home with reading and other school material.

“I did a lot of reading to her,” Becky Hebron said. “We did a lot of reading street signs, flash cards and quizzing. In school, we had to find out what was best for her and get her teacher’s permission if we could do certain things for her.”

Luckily, Allison Hebron had special accommodations for her dyslexia that would help her get through classes more effectively. Although it took some time, she got the extra help she needed in school.

“There were a lot of parent-teacher conferences,” Becky Hebron said. “We had to make sure she understood the written directions, and she needed to sit up front in class. She also did small group testing.”

When she was in the fourth and fifth grades, Allison Hebron was part of a dyslexia program at Pearcy Elementary School in Arlington. A teacher there worked with her in a way that helped with her dyslexia.

“I really liked the teacher. She was really sweet,” Allison said. “We used flash cards, had writing centers, and there was a game we played in class called the dictionary game. I was very good at it and usually won it.”

Her dyslexia also affected her social skills when it came to school.

“It was hard for me to relate,” she said. “A lot was because of the dyslexia.”

However, she knew she always had the support she needed from home.

“My mom was really my only true and lasting friend,” she said.

While she knows dyslexia is a lifelong condition, she doesn’t allow it to hinder her from giving her best when it comes to college.

“Writing is something I’ve gotten better at,” she said. “Schoolwork is still difficult, but it’s not unbearable.”

Cordelia Thompson, former reading specialist for dyslexic students, said they often struggle with phonemic awareness, the ability to notice individual sounds and words.

“Students with dyslexia have trouble with single-word decoding, reading comprehension and writing,” she said. “They struggle with reading, writing and spelling.”

Thompson said dyslexic students have different ways to meet their school needs. First, teachers can do an assessment to determine what students’ skill levels are. Second, teachers monitor the students to see how they are doing. Third, schools can teach them strategies that help them where they struggle. Fourth, schools can teach the students in small groups and give them opportunities to practice and use the skills where they struggle.

“Students who have dyslexia are brilliant students,” Thompson said. “They just learn differently. When you allow them time and be patient, you’ll get a lot out of them.”

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