ERIC Number: EJ1203857
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Dyslexia in the Schools: Assessment and Identification
Lindstrom, Jennifer H.
TEACHING Exceptional Children, v51 n3 p189-200 Jan-Feb 2019
There is often confusion about the terms used to label or describe a reading problem. Clinicians and researchers use different terminology than the schools. For example, medical professionals, psychologists, and other practitioners outside of the school often use the term "dyslexia," "reading disorder," and "specific learning disorder." Schools and educators use the terms "reading difficulty" and "specific learning disability in reading." The language used in schools comes from federal and state educational laws. Laws define the criteria under which students have a guaranteed right to services. Compliance with these laws and the mission to educate all students drive schools' decision making; in other words, a school's primary focus is on determining the need for specialized instruction, accommodations, and modifications. In order for any student to be eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2006), the student must (1) be identified as having a disability that falls under one of IDEA's categories of disability; and (2) have a demonstrated educational need. In other words, if a student has an identified disability, such as dyslexia, but is making appropriate educational gains according to school-based norms or expectations, that student may not qualify for special education services. For students with dyslexia, in order to be eligible under the category of specific learning disability (SLD), response-to-intervention (RTI) or other educational data may be used to demonstrate that the disability has a significant educational impact (Mather & Wendling, 2011). Therefore, some students who have been identified with dyslexia may meet state-determined criteria for the special education category of SLD, whereas others may not. Although schools do not commonly use the term dyslexia, it is important for school personnel to understand the specific areas that can be affected by dyslexia. School personnel can then identify appropriate measures to use in an evaluation and link data from the evaluation to the development of an individualized education program (IEP). Schools and teachers play an essential role in identifying students with reading difficulties, including dyslexia, and are responsible for teaching them to read. The challenge is to ensure that teachers understand how to identify reading difficulties early, use data collected through the assessment process to make eligibility decisions, and link data to the development of the IEP. Early identification of dyslexia is essential so that the student not only learns to read but also understands why reading is hard so that these social and emotional difficulties can be mitigated.
Descriptors: Dyslexia, Reading Difficulties, Compliance (Legal), Eligibility, Educational Legislation, Equal Education, Federal Legislation, Response to Intervention, Special Education, Disability Identification, Student Rights, Symptoms (Individual Disorders), Reading Skills, Evaluation Methods, Decoding (Reading), Reading Fluency, Phoneme Grapheme Correspondence, Spelling, Reading Comprehension, Oral Reading
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement; Wechsler Individual Achievement Test; Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement; Gray Oral Reading Test