Dyslexia screening is a tool for identifying children who may be at risk for dyslexia (reading disability) and for gathering information to assist those children. A dyslexia screening can be performed by a range of educational professionals. Although it might be ideal for the screening to be conducted by someone specializing in learning disabilities (such as a school psychologist, reading specialist or special education teacher), the nice thing about a dyslexia screening is that practically any teacher can perform one.
As with any other screening – whether for health issues, athletic skill, or artistic ability- a screening for dyslexia should be relatively quick and easy to conduct. When you administer the screening, you ask a child to perform several tasks designed to predict who is “at risk” for dyslexia (reading disability) and who appears to be “good to go” and not to be at risk.
The value of this kind of screening is that it yields predictive information in a short period of time. With effective screenings teachers and parents can counter a “wait and fail” mindset by utilizing evidence-based interventions very early in a child’s education
Let’s look at screening used in sports to help us think about how a screening for dyslexia works.
Imagine that you are the head coach of a Little League baseball team. It is the children’s first day, you have a large group of eight-year-olds and you must decide where to place each one on the team. You have no idea about their skills, but you must make your decisions fairly quickly. To do so, you have your assistants screen the kids by watching them hit, throw and catch a few times.
With this kind of screening, based on a brief interaction you can make a decision regarding each child, including placing children into categories. For example, some children will be “good to go” – meaning they have pretty good skills – while others will need targeted skill instruction.
Can mistakes happen in this kind of screening? Of course. However, the value that comes from identifying children early far outweighs the potential of identifying a child as “at risk” when she may not turn out to be so.
As with the Little League example, a dyslexia screening determines whether a child is “good to go” or needs intervention when it comes to the fundamental skills of early reading, spelling and writing by identifying whether the child needs intervention.
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Excerpt from : ”Dyslexia Screening: Essential Concepts for Schools & Parents,” Richard Selznick, Ph.D. (2015 SDL Consulting/Publishing www.shutdownlearner.com)