Dyslexia affects every instructional task a student will face in school.
Although we have a greater understanding of dyslexia today than we did a decade ago, much of this understanding hasn’t been available to the families who enter the public-school system. Helping parents and students feel comfortable having conversations regarding reading challenges is a big part of improving the outcomes for students with dyslexia. But, before there’s an opportunity for remediation, a student needs access to early screening and, when appropriate, a diagnosis of dyslexia.
1. Training and support for teachers
Having on-site personnel who have been trained in a dyslexia-specific reading remediation methodology is imperative to diagnosing students at a young age. Books like Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties, by David Kilpatrick, can help educators and parents better understand the disorder. Kilpatrick dives into the causes of reading difficulties, making it easier to assess why a child may be struggling.
2. Universal screeners
When there isn’t a cohesive understanding of dyslexia in students, they could have any number of experiences in the school system. A clear step to improving a student with dyslexia’s education experience would be to have universal screeners available, and have teachers and administrators trained on how to use them.
3. Technology tools
Technology that supports students with dyslexia has come a long way in the last five to 10 years. Classrooms can use tools like audiobooks as an alternative to textbooks, along with additional features like SmartPens, which allow students to record class lectures and transcribe notes to revisit later. Technology can provide students with dyslexia a stepping stone to encourage them to fully engage in the classroom.
4. Three essential supports for students
In Kilpatrick’s book, he cites three elements that existed in reading intervention programs that had the best results in early diagnosis of dyslexia:
Everyone can find a way to be involved in recognizing and supporting students with dyslexia, from educators to schools to administrators to legislators.