What is Dyslexia?

“Dyslexia is a different brain organization that needs different teaching methods. It is never the fault of the child, but rather the responsibility of us who teach to find methods that work for that child.”

– Dr. Maryanne Wolf, Education Researcher and Dyslexia Advocate

What Is Dyslexia?

“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.”

International Dyslexia Association 2002

The Problem

The risk of Dyslexia can be identified as early as 3 years old, however, our current school system follows a “wait to fail approach”. This includes allowing a child to fail academically before identifying their risk for reading struggles. Ironically, the most effective and impactful intervention is provided in the early elementary years.

Dr. Nadine Gaab explains this in the video below:

The Science

The National Reading Panel identified 5 Pillars of Reading Instruction. The Science about how to teach reading is settled. The implementation of this science has been slow to reach schools of education and schools for learning. The result is inadequate instruction for students struggling to learn how to read. Most students would benefit from an explicit structured literacy approach to reading, some students will not learn to read without it.

The Solution

Screening for the risk of Dyslexia in Kindergarten

Massachusetts Dyslexia Screening Law – October 2018 The Legislature approved Chapter 272 of the Acts of 2018 on October 19, 2018. The new law requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), in consultation with the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) to “issue guidelines to assist districts in developing screening procedures or protocols for students that demonstrate one or more potential indicators of a neurological learning disability, including, but not limited to, dyslexia.”

Massachusetts Guidelines for Dyslexia

Accommodations for students with Dyslexia

These should be individualized and based on a student’s skill level and academic weaknesses due to Dyslexia.

https://www.understood.org/articles/en/at-a-glance-classroom-accom modations-for-dyslexia https://www.readingrockets.org/article/accommodating-students-dysle xia-all-classroom-settings

Intervention to remediate weaknesses due to Dyslexia

One of the most effective dyslexia interventions for remediation is known as The Orton-Gillingham Approach. Orton-Gillingham is not a method, program or system. It is an approach used to instruct those who have trouble learning to read and spell accurately. It is often referred to as “structured literacy” and includes systematic, multi-sensory, sequential instructions in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and spelling.