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Dyslexia in the School Setting

by | Sep 27, 2022 | Academic | 0 comments

Dyslexia or Lack of Appropriate Instruction?

Working as a school psychologist in the middle of a pandemic created many challenges in our practice. For instance, when concerns about a student’s ability to read are brought to our attention, nowadays we begin to question whether or not a disability exists or possibly if the student’s struggles are from lack of appropriate instruction during school closures. Let’s take a closer look at Dyslexia, how it can impact a student’s ability to access the curriculum, and what factors school psychologists need to consider when determining eligibility. If you are interested in watching a replay of the live recording where I discuss these topics, please click here.

The Impact of the Global Pandemic and Dyslexia Assessment 

How have school closures affected student learning? Here are some questions to consider when conducting an assessment for a student with suspected Dyslexia. 

  • What was the student’s attendance like during school closures? How was the student’s attendance before school closures? 
  • Were they able to access instruction daily through distance learning?
  • What support did the student have at home during school closures? 
  • How do the student’s parents feel school closures affect their child’s learning?
  • When the student had questions about instruction, learning, or homework, who were they receiving help from? 
  • Did the student have consistency with his or her teachers? How often was the student exposed to substitute teachers?
  • Now that schools have re-opened, how does the student feel about their learning now? Do they feel school closures had an impact on their ability to learn? 
  • Before the start of Covid-19, did the student have difficulties with reading? Were any teacher concerns noted in this area? Be sure to note important areas associated with Dyslexia such as spelling, fluent word recognition, sound blending, the ability to segment sounds apart, and decoding. Remember that rapid naming skills, phonological memory, and phonemic awareness all fall under the category of phonological processing.

We have a lot of states with Dyslexia guidelines. However, if you are practicing in a state that doesn’t have specific guidelines, check out the California and Arizona handbooks for more information about Dyslexia. 

Determining Eligibility

It is important to keep in mind that a student not showing up consistently during distance learning may be an exclusionary factor. Let’s take a closer look at other factors that could be considered when determining eligibility. 

  • If you are getting low scores on assessment batteries, the student may be struggling with decoding skills, fluency, and comprehension due to lack of instruction or inconsistent attendance during school closures. Remember, reading requires explicit instruction!
  • If a parent brings in a doctor’s note or another outside evaluation stating the student has Dyslexia, that does not automatically qualify them for special education services. 
  • Because of the global pandemic, it will be more important than ever to rely heavily on past educational history, attendance records, and parent and teacher input when synthesizing information and making a determination for eligibility.

If you are looking for some free resources about Dyslexia, click here! You will have access to two free videos which discuss how to support students with reading difficulties and more information about phonological and orthographic processing. 

Did you know we also just recently finished our 3rd annual Summer Boot Camp where Dyslexia was discussed at great length? If you did not get a chance to participate, don’t worry because we recorded everything! Check out the “Deep Dives” tab after clicking the button below to access hours of Dyslexia content. But wait, there’s more! You will also receive access to three other “Deep Dives”, giving you the opportunity to learn extensively about Autism and Emotional Disturbance, using a neurodiversity lens as a school psychologist, and building LGBTQ+ inclusivity into your practice. You will have access to real case study examples, complex scenarios and complicated dilemmas school psychologists face during assessments, understanding the development of gender support plans, and more! But hurry, these recordings are only available until October 31st! 

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