Since the core difficulty in dyslexia stems from deficits in phonological awareness skills, phonological memory, and rapid automatic naming abilities, dyslexia is clearly a disability stemming from a core deficit in language.
We as Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) can, and should be, the first responders for young students as risk for dyslexia.
By identifying students with poor phonological awareness skills, or phonological awareness skills that do not match up with other language skills or cognitive abilities, we can make a difference in helping students at-risk for dyslexia before they begin to fail at reading.
The earlier remediation begins, the less severe the impact of the disability will have on the student’s life.
The SLP’s role in identifying students at risk for dyslexia include:
- Dyslexia is a specific disability that is neurological in origin.
It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.
These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.
Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
(Adopted by the International Dyslexia Association Board of Directors, November 2002)
2- Know the Signs of Dyslexia
- May have difficulty with rhyming
- May have poor auditory memory for nursery rhymes and chants
- May have difficulty learning and remembering the names of letters in the alphabet
- May have difficulty recognizing letters in his/her own name
- May mispronounce familiar words
- May be unable to recall the right word
- May have trouble learning numbers, days of the week, colors, and shapes
- Fails to understand that words come apart (i.e. snowman can be pulled apart into snow and man, man can be broken down as /m/ /a/ /n/)
- Complains about how hard reading is, or “disappearing” when it is time to read
- Cannot sound out simple words like cat, map, nap- lacks a strategy to decode single words
- Relies on context clues to recognize a word
3- Use A Language Assessment to Identify Students Who Need Further Testing for Dyslexia
When completing a language assessment on students in pre-K through second grade, include the CTOPP-2 in your assessments. If the student scores low on the CTOPP-2, CONNECT WITH THE CAMPUS EVALUATION SPECIALIST AND CONSIDER A DYSLEXIA REFERRAL.
If the student scores average to high-average on the receptive language portion of the language test you administer, but the teachers tell you he/she is lagging behind in his/her reading skills, CONNECT WITH THE CAMPUS EVALUATION SPECIALIST AND CONSIDER A DYSLEXIA REFERRAL.
If the student demonstrates good listening comprehension skills, but poor decoding skills or reading passage comprehension skills, CONNECT WITH THE CAMPUS EVALUATION SPECIALIST AND CONSIDER A DYSLEXIA REFERRAL.
If the student demonstrates poor decoding skills, difficulty decoding nonsense words, poor spelling skills, strength in listening comprehension but weakness in reading comprehension, and poor response to intervention to remediate these skills, CONNECT WITH THE CAMPUS EVALUATION SPECIALIST AND CONSIDER A DYSLEXIA REFERRAL.
If you feel that a student is exhibiting characteristics listed in “Recognizing Signs of Dyslexia”, CONNECT WITH THE CAMPUS EVALUATION SPECIALIST AND CONSIDER A DYSLEXIA REFERRAL.
*If a student demonstrates poor reading comprehension skills ALONG WITH poor listening comprehension skills, the student may have a global language disorder co-occurring with dyslexia.
As SLPs, we hold a valuable key! Let’s use it to make a difference in children’s lives.
By: Cheval Bryant