top of page
  • Writer's pictureChris

The Importance of Early Screening for Dyslexia

By: Rachael Farmer M.ED, CALT, LDT

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that can cause difficulty among all language domains: reading, spelling, writing, and speaking. Due to it being neurobiological in origin, it is not curable but can be treatable. Many states recognize a dyslexia diagnosis as a learning disability and put in place specific interventions, as well as accommodations/modifications to help those students succeed. But, what about those students who do not have a dyslexia diagnosis but still struggle with language-based activities? Those are the students we want to be able to catch early on.

What's Being Used in Schools Now?

Every student has the right to access fair and equitable education. States utilize a process called RTI (right to intervention) in order to track student progress on meeting benchmark proficiencies. Those unable to make progress are placed in intense intervention groups that may eventually lead to comprehensive testing for special education eligibility. The important thing to note with RTI is that it is a process and requires weeks of data before appropriate interventions are in place.

Dyslexia Screenings

Utilizing early screening for dyslexia is a crucial step in setting up our students for academic success. Dyslexia is very common, with 1 in 5 people showing characteristics of dyslexia. Even with its growing presence, some schools have yet begun implementation of dyslexia screenings in our early grades. While screenings do not diagnosis dyslexia, it does provide a strong indication of if a student presents the characteristics of dyslexia.

Benefits of Early Screening for Dyslexia

Why is it important? We as educators need to recognize the signs of dyslexia in order to be able to provide every student the fair and equitable education they deserve.

Early Screening for Dyslexia Identifies At-Risk Students Early

Early screening for dyslexia allow us to identify at-risk students early on. Rather than taking them through weeks of the RTI process, utilizing screenings in our younger students allows us to implement appropriate accommodations that help build strong language-based neural connections in the brain. Creating new neural connections in the brain is not something that is done overnight and requires repeated exposure and practice.

Early Screening for Dyslexia Helps Close Academic Gaps

Early screening for dyslexia helps prevent academic gaps. Many times, we begin to see prominent reading delays in students by the time they reach upper elementary school. While these students in upper elementary grades may still struggle with decoding or encoding tasks, the curriculum pushes forward and shifts from learning to read to reading to learn. We see these students start to fall drastically behind in comparison to their peers. Oftentimes, the presence of these academic gaps are when the students are flagged and placed into the RTI process.

Early Screening for Dyslexia Helps Generate Appropriate Accommodations and Interventions

Recognizing the signs of dyslexia can also lead to the diagnosis of dyslexia by a medical professional. Many people are unfamiliar with what dyslexia is and it is often misunderstood as being a visual impairment where words appear backwards. That is far from the truth. Implementing screenings requires for educators to become educated on what dyslexia is and the signs to look for. This in turn, helps educators to create and utilize appropriate accommodations and interventions.

Early Screening for Dyslexia Can Potentially Restructure Curriculum

Screening for dyslexia could help shift and restructure the way literacy curriculum is presented and taught. Teaching reading is a science and following that science benefits all students, including those who have or present signs of dyslexia.

There are so many benefits to implementing early screenings for dyslexia that every school should be utilizing it. Doing so could help radically improve our nation's literacy rates.

26 views0 comments


bottom of page