“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.” (IDA/NICHD, 2002)
A child with dyslexia exhibits reading difficulties in spite of demonstrated cognitive abilities in other areas. A key concept in dyslexia is unexpected difficulty in reading in children who otherwise possess the intelligence, motivation, and reading instruction considered necessary for the development of accurate and fluent reading (Shaywitz, 2003).
Children with dyslexia have a core deficit in processing skills (Torgeson, et.al, 1996)
Dyslexia is not caused by low general intellectual ability but rather by special difficulties processing the phonological and orthographic features of language that can co-exist with all ranges of intellectual ability. However, some students with dyslexia may have strong cognitive abilities that allow them to compensate for or mask their deficits on certain tasks. These intellectual and compensatory skills may enable these students to obtain reading scores in the average range yet still have dyslexia. Research shows us that there is no difference between IQ-consistent poor readers and IQ-discrepant poor readers, providing very little justification for the use of the IQ-discrepancy approach solely to identify a reading disability (Stuebing, Fletcher, LeDoux, Lyon, Shaywitz & Shaywitz, 2002).
Screening is necessary to identify dyslexia and the need for intervention.
Data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) indicate that brain plasticity decreases over time, therefore early intervention is essential to close the gap between struggling readers and their “normally developing” peers (Stanovich, 1986).
• Identify students who are at risk for dyslexia or reading failure
• Form small groups for instruction and intervention
• Plan instruction and intervention
• Set individual goals for student achievement
• Set exit criteria for the intervention window
Screening – Initial brief assessment that focuses on critical reading skills strongly predictive of future reading growth and development.
• Conducted at the beginning of the school year to identify children who need additional support and/or alternative forms of instruction
• Used to identify children who are at risk or not at risk for reading failure
• Followed by benchmark assessments completed mid-year and end of the year using same, comparable, and/or multiple test forms to determine reading development
In addition to the initial screening, ongoing assessment is key in ensuring students are making adequate progress towards their goals (academic, social-emotional, and literacy goals).
Ongoing assessments performed and administered to determine student progress toward targeted goals, identify students who are not making adequate progress, and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to close the achievement gap.
Identifying Dyslexia in SLPS and Beyond:
STAR is utilized as an official screener in SLPS. Students in SLPS are assessed within the first 30 days of school as part of the ongoing assessment cycles for the academic school year. Although DESE has not identified the full list is available screeners, STAR can be utilized to identify some of the academic needs of students as an early indicator of dyslexia and other early literacy needs.
As it relates to virtual screeners for dyslexia, some of those recognized by DESE include but are not limited to:
Ø aimsWEB https://www.pearsonassessments.com/professional-assessments/digital-solutions/telepractice/telepractice-and-aimswebplus.html
Ø DIBELS https://dibels.uoregon.edu/news/covid-message#pd
Ø Supplemental Screeners
Ø 95% Group https://www.95percentgroup.com
Ø Fundations https://www.wilsonlanguage.com/programs/fundations/materials/virtual-resource-hub/
Ø Zaner-Bloser https://www.zaner-bloser.com/learn-at-home-literacy-resources.php
Ø Really Great Reading https://www.reallygreatreading.com
Ø Wilson https://www.wilsonlanguage.com/supporting-your-students-during-remote-and-blended-instruction/
Additional Dyslexia Resources:
Review this Screening Organizer to determine possible classroom diagnostic next steps and ideas for explicit instruction based on focused student need https://dese.mo.gov/media/pdf/curr-dyslexia-screening-organizer-by-grade
Review this document for screening components, examples of accommodations, and terminology https://dese.mo.gov/media/pdf/curr-dyslexia-serving-students-at-risk-lea-guidance
Reading Rockets PreK- 5th grade short modules with text and videos focused on: print awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, spelling, etc. https://www.readingrockets.org/teaching/reading101-course/welcome-reading-101
International Dyslexia Association Dyslexia in the Classroom: What every teacher needs to know https://structuredlit.wpenginepowered.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/DITC-Handbook.pdf
Annual Professional Development Training:
Dyslexia Training (developed to cover the 3-hour annual training requirement per the state) and a subsequent quiz, curated by the Department of Professional Development, will be required for completion by all certificated and instructional staff annually. This training will be completed via Vector and will be published to each staff member; documented completion will be maintained in the Human Resources Department. A certificate of completion will be available each year upon completion.
The training presentation will also be available on the district’s Professional Development Management System (currently Frontline) to be accessed by new staff members and archived for view/review to staff upon login to their profile.