- As research about dyslexia brings more information to light, best practices are evolving, including the recommendation for universal screening in kindergarten and first grade in order to address the issue before greater gaps in vocabulary and general knowledge put students farther behind educationally and emotionally, District Administration reports.
- The issue is important to address because dyslexia affects 5% to 20% of students, and they may need special accommodations such as extra time completing tasks, use of audiobooks, a multi-sensory approach to education, and systematic small group instruction on the structure of language.
- Some school districts are already seeing success from identifying students at an earlier age and offer interventions to aid learning.
The Dyslexia Research Institute reports that “dyslexics have an inherited neurological difference, resulting in language, perceptual, processing, and attention/concentration differences. Yet only 5% of individuals with dyslexia are ever properly diagnosed and given appropriate help, so over 85% of adult illiterates are dyslexic…. Dyslexia is a language disability, not a reading disability, so not only does it affect the ability to learn to read, write, and spell by conventional methods, it affects the ability to communicate in more subtle ways. Dyslexics have processing, perceptual, and attention/concentration problems. The majority of ADD individuals are also dyslexic.”
Since this issue affects so much of a child’s educational experience beyond just reading, it makes sense to identify and address dyslexia in students as early as possible. Doing so may not only improve the child’s chances of success in school, but may also improve the chance of other students in the classroom who may be affected by the attention an undiagnosed dyslexic student requires.
Because so many students are dealing with dyslexia, school districts need to make sure there is a qualified staff member who is keeping abreast of the newest information and strategies in dealing with dyslexia, and who can help sort out the best strategies possible. The issue is evolving and new research and technologies are becoming available. These new strategies may pay off, not only by improving individual student performance, but by boosting district performance as well.