Dyslexia in EPS
Dyslexia is identified as a neurobiological learning disorder. The International Dyslexia Association characterizes dyslexia as “difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.” Edina Public Schools (EPS) takes the issue of all reading concerns very seriously and screens all elementary students for indicators of dyslexia in compliance with Minnesota Statute 120B.12. These screening efforts are designed to identify students who may need learning interventions or further evaluation to determine eligibility for special education services.
EPS uses FastBridge assessments* for early identification screening:
- Students in kindergarten and grade 1 have a reading assessment three times a year, in fall, winter, and spring. These assessments give indicators of phonemic awareness, decoding, memory and recall.
- Students in grades 2 and 3 have oral reading fluency assessments to assess decoding and accuracy of their reading.
Note: Screening does not diagnose dyslexia but is the first step in identifying students who need more explicit instruction in components of reading.
*Assessments are building dependent. For example, Normandale French Immersion School may use different assessments than a non-immersion school.
Parents are advised of findings that result from screenings at conferences or in a meeting with their student’s classroom teacher and/or learning specialist, at which time a plan for reading intervention is discussed.
The district’s elementary learning specialists and some special education teachers have been trained in the Sonday System, which is based on the Orton Gillingham multisensory principles. Training is done through the Orton Gillingham Reading Specialists, located in Edina.
Some of the materials used by interventionists include:
- Sonday System – Orton Gillingham methods and strategies providing multisensory reading instruction to students; the focus of each lesson is reading, writing and spelling.
- Leveled Literacy Interventions – Used in small groups for students who need extra support to achieve grade-level competencies; provides explicit instruction on phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, reading comprehension, oral language skills, and writing; helps teachers match students with texts of progressing difficulty and deliver systematic lessons targeted to a student’s reading ability.
- Lexia – Computer-based program that focuses on phonological awareness, phonics, structural analysis of words, automaticity/vocabulary and comprehension.
Students who are receiving intervention support are monitored to document growth and the response to the intervention. If a student is progressing, the goal is adjusted upwards and the student continues until ready to exit from the intervention. If a student is not making progress, the instruction could be adjusted with intensity or frequency in order to ensure student progress. FastBridge, the computer-based data program used for the initial assessment, is also used to document student progress throughout intervention.
Referral to Special Education
Students who do not show adequate progress with the assigned interventions may be recommended for a formal special education assessment. Learn more about referrals.
While EPS does not formally diagnose dyslexia, we do actively monitor student performance and screen for reading concerns that would indicate a need for supplemental instruction, alternative learning methods or specialized instructional services. Parents of students diagnosed with dyslexia by an outside source should make the classroom teacher aware of the diagnosis and share any additional information they think would be helpful, including, but not limited to the outside evaluator’s summary and recommendations.
The classroom teacher will bring this information to the attention of the building’s Student Assistance Team for consideration. The team will investigate the extent to which the diagnosed disability of dyslexia is affecting the student’s performance in the area of reading and determine the next steps which may include: additional evaluation, implementation of classroom accommodations, inclusion in one or more of the interventions available at the site or determine that no additional services are required. The Student Assistance Team will notify parent(s) of their findings and secure permission prior to proceeding should additional supports or services be recommended.