Research has shown that interventions are most effective when they are done in kindergarten and first grade • Why is early identification important? • What are the early warning signs? • What to do if you suspect dyslexia?
In many instances, dyslexia is not identified until a student has shown significant struggles with reading and/or writing. Unfortunately, this tends to start happening when students are already in second grade, with some students being identified as late as in high school. This late identification is not ideal because research has shown that interventions are the most effective when they are done in kindergarten and first grade. In order to avoid a bigger learning gap, we need to take a closer look at early identification, the early warning signs to look for, and what steps to take if you suspect dyslexia.
Why is early identification important?
Early identification is important because the earlier we intervene, the easier it is to address and remediate students’ difficulties. Early identification has been found to be essential in helping students succeed in school and later in life. Students with dyslexia need to be provided with interventions that are specific to their needs. If intervention is not provided before third grade, research has found that it is 75% likely that students will continue to experience reading and writing difficulties going into high school. Not only are they affected academically, but students are also affected emotionally. Struggling students can see their self-esteem and motivation decrease when they see their peers doing better while they are struggling despite all the time and effort they put into their reading and writing tasks.
The digitized MTA curriculum
The Amplio Platform has digitized the traditional MTA curriculum. This provides everyone with access to the full curriculum accessibility and the supplemental instructional components. There’s no need to purchase additional materials to support student learning, as it is all present and digitized on the platform.
The Amplio Platform has added features that support instant data keeping, such as daily progress notes, Word Correct Per Minute (WCPM), student attendance, and time spent in the curriculum. Teachers are provided the flexibility of using the digital lesson planner, the Master Lesson Plans, or they have the freedom to create lessons that adheres to their students’ individual learning needs.
Amplio and MTA have created additional forms of progress monitoring in the form of probes, specifically in reading and spelling. These probes are curriculum-based measures, designed to be administered every two weeks and provide the teacher with a greater understanding of current student progress in the curriculum along with traditional measures such as Mastery Checks and instructional inventories.
What do I need to look for?
Dyslexia can be spotted as early as in preschool. Here are the signs of what to look for:
- Difficulty with naming the letters of the alphabet, numbers, days of the week
- Difficulty writing/spelling their name
- Difficulty with directional words
- Unable to follow a set of instructions
- Struggles with rhymes
- Struggles to call things by their name
- Mispronounces words
- Speaks less than children their age
Apart from the early signs listed above, we need to consider if there is a history of dyslexia and/or learning difficulties in the family. Research has shown that dyslexia runs in families and it has been found that as many as 49% of parents of identified students also have dyslexia.
If intervention is not provided before third grade, research has found that it is 75% likely that students will continue to experience reading and writing difficulties going into high school.
What steps should I take if I suspect dyslexia?
Once you think that your child might have dyslexia, it’s important to take action so that an evaluation can be conducted. The first step is to send a written request to the school’s principal, counselor, and your child’s teacher to meet in order to discuss your child’s performance and next steps. In many instances, students will be placed in RTI (Response to Intervention) where the teacher will address the identified learning gaps and monitor for progress. If progress is not made, a formal evaluation will be conducted to determine if the student has a learning disability. I strongly suggest checking your local/state guidelines as there could be legislation already in place that needs to be considered. For example, in Texas, the “Texas Dyslexia Handbook” states that the moment a student is showing signs of dyslexia, a referral for an FIIE (Full and Individual Initial Evaluation) should be initiated. In other words, it’s not necessary to wait and see if the student has made progress in RTI. The results of the assessments conducted under the FIIE as well as other data (RTI progress monitoring, classroom performance/observations, family history, etc) will help the committee determine if the student has a learning disability.
Since early intervention is vital for students with dyslexia, it is important to know the early signs we can look for and what to do if we suspect dyslexia. In order to increase awareness of the importance of early identification and what to look for, I invite you to share this information with the people you know and to reach out if you have any questions.