Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects around 17-20% of the population, making it the most common learning disorder. It is characterized by difficulty in reading, spelling, and writing, despite normal or above-average intelligence. If left undiagnosed and unsupported, dyslexia can significantly impact a child’s academic performance and self-esteem.
Understanding the difference between screening and assessment
So, how can we identify dyslexia early on? The first step is to understand the difference between screening and assessment.
Screening is a quick and informal process that helps identify students who may have a learning disorder, such as dyslexia. It is typically administered by a teacher or administrator and can be done in as little as 15 minutes.
An assessment, on the other hand, is a more in-depth and formal process that is conducted by a trained professional, such as a psychologist or learning specialist. It can take several hours to complete and is used to confirm a diagnosis of dyslexia.
Dyslexia screeners and assessments
There are several dyslexia screeners and assessments available, but it’s important to find one that contains the components needed to appropriately provide accurate results for the age and reading level of the student.
Some popular dyslexia screeners include Lexercise, Pearson: aimswebPlus, Amplify mCLASS with Dibels 8th Edition, and the Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Association Dyslexia Screener in Association with William Carey University.
It’s important to note that dyslexia is a complex disorder, and there is no single assessment that can diagnose it. A comprehensive battery of tests should be utilized and include a thorough assessment of cognitive ability, oral language, perceptual ability, academic ability and behavior and attention.
Some commonly used assessments include:
- Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement III (WJ-III), which is designed to identify reading and writing difficulties in reading, writing, and language skills, as well as an examination of the child’s cognitive, academic, and social-emotional functioning.
- Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing 2- (CTOPP 2), which measures phonological awareness, phonological memory and rapid naming.
- Gray Oral Reading Test – 5th Edition (GORT), which is a norm-referenced test of oral reading rate, accuracy, fluency, and comprehension among children aged 6-18 years.
Providing appropriate intervention and support
Once a child has been diagnosed with dyslexia, the next step is to provide appropriate intervention and support. This should include specialized reading instruction that encompasses the Orton-Gillingham approach, which is designed specifically for children with dyslexia. It may also include accommodations, such as extra time for testing or the use of assistive technology, such as text-to-speech software.
The story of Melissa: A child struggling with reading
Imagine a young student named Melissa, who has always struggled with reading. Despite her parents’ and teachers’ efforts to help her improve, she continues to fall behind in his reading skills. Her parents become increasingly concerned and decide to have her screened for dyslexia.
The role of screening and assessment in identifying dyslexia
During the screening, Melissa is asked to segment, and blend spoken syllables, generate and recognize rhyming words, produce accurate sounds of the letters, and rapidly name objects, letters, or numbers. The results of the screening indicate that Melisa may have dyslexia, and her parents decide to have her assessed by a trained professional.
The assessment for Melissa took several hours; it included a thorough examination of her reading, writing, and language skills, as well as her cognitive, academic, and social-emotional functioning. The assessment results confirmed that Melissa has dyslexia.
Implementing Orton-Gillingham-based reading instruction and accommodations
With this confirmation, Melissa’s parents and teachers worked together to provide her with the support she needed to succeed. They implemented an Orton-Gillingham-based reading program tailored specifically for students with reading disorders such as dyslexia. And provided her with accommodations such as extra time for testing and the use of assistive technology, such as text-to-speech software.
The positive impact of support on melissa’s reading and self-esteem
With the right support and intervention, Melissa’s reading skills began to improve. She was able to read with more accuracy and fluency, which led to an increase in her comprehension. And keep up with her peers in class, and her self-esteem improved as she was able to read and understand the books that her classmates were reading, which helped her feel more included and less left out.
The importance of early identification
It’s essential to remember that early identification and intervention are key to helping children with dyslexia succeed in school and in life. Melissa’s story is just one example of how early identification and intervention can make a big difference in the life of a child with dyslexia.
The importance of collaboration between parents, educators and administrators
By understanding the difference between screening and assessment and knowing what options are available, we can work together to ensure that children with dyslexia receive the support they need to reach their full potential.
Conclusion and next steps for parents, educators, and administrators
In conclusion, dyslexia is a common learning disorder that can have a significant impact on a child’s academic performance and self-esteem. Screening and assessment are important tools in identifying dyslexia early on, and providing appropriate intervention and support can make a big difference in a child’s success in school and in life.
It is important that teachers, parents, and administrators work together to support children with dyslexia to ensure they reach their full potential.