Dyslexia is a learning disorder characterized by persistent difficulty with learning to read that sometimes also manifests as difficulty with language in general. Dyslexia in children is currently one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders. In fact, one in five children will be diagnosed with some form of dyslexia. In the past, dyslexia identification and intervention began around the third grade, but research now shows that earlier intervention may more effectively close the dyslexia achievement gap.
Identify Dyslexia During the Formative Reading Years
Once children begin to think reading is difficult, they develop a resistance to it and lose confidence. Developing this attitude toward reading during the formative years makes it difficult to reverse later. To prevent this, teachers need to reach these students in kindergarten and first grade. Studies show that there is little to no difference between the reading abilities of average children and dyslexic children when intervention occurs early.
Call It Dyslexia
Many educators have been afraid to identify what they think is dyslexia because most have not undergone training to accurately identify the disorder. Dyslexia in children comes in many forms, so it can be difficult to recognize. Teachers working toward a master’s degree in special education may be ideally positioned to help these teachers and students. Special education offers dyslexic children the time and practice they need to learn to manage the disorder. Currently, many states are categorizing dyslexia as a learning disability, which will make it much easier to get students into early intervention under special education law.
Without Intervention, Dyslexia Becomes Long-Term
In a longitudinal study, researchers found that students with dyslexia struggled with reduced literacy throughout their school years; they were not able to overcome the disorder on their own. Intervention is the key to making sure students build a toolkit of strategies to help them keep pace with general education students. The following are challenges that children with dyslexia face:
- Synthesizing instructions.
- Concept building.
- Automated processing.
Early intervention includes strategies to strengthen or supplant memory skills, which are critical to the other skills dyslexic students must learn in order to manage the disorder. A master’s degree in special education online can help teachers understand the best practices for working with dyslexia in children over time and helping them close this educational gap before it is too late.