“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological 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.” International Dyslexia Association, 2002
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. Students who have a dyslexia diagnosis must meet the state and federal eligibility criteria in order to qualify for special education services.
While Edina Public Schools does not formally diagnose dyslexia, we do actively monitor student performance and screen for reading concerns and signs and symptoms of dyslexia 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 Support Team will notify parent(s) of their findings and secure permission prior to proceeding should additional supports, or services, be recommended. (Dyslexia Diagnosis Chart)
Edina Public Schools does not include screening for convergence insufficiency disorder as part of its vision screening program. Parents with concerns about the condition should see their licensed eye care specialist for assessment and treatment. Edina follows the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommendations for vision screening and follow-up. Vision screenings for school use are insufficient for diagnosing Convergence Insufficiency.
Indicators of Dyslexia
Characteristics consistent with dyslexia may look different according to a child’s age. (Signs of Reading Difficulty and Dyslexia)
Some common indicators may include:
- Struggling learning common nursery rhymes
- Struggling with Phonemic Awareness
- Struggling with Spelling
- Family History of dyslexia
Edina Public Schools uses FastBridge and classroom assessments* for early identification screening for dyslexia and other reading difficulties.
- 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 5 have oral reading fluency assessments to assess decoding, accuracy, and grade level proficiency of their reading.
Screening does not diagnose dyslexia but is the first step in identifying students who:
- Are not making adequate progress toward reaching grade-level expectations of proficiency.
- Need additional systematic and explicit instruction in phonemic awareness, decoding/encoding, morphology, fluency and comprehension to achieve grade-level expectations.
*Note: Classroom assessments are school 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 point potential supports are discussed.
The district’s elementary learning specialists, special education teachers, and some classroom teachers have been trained in direct, explicit and systematic instruction based on the Orton Gillingham multisensory principles.
Interventions are: ADSIS (Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services), Title 1, Success Center for Reading and Math, MN Reading Corps, and MN Math Corps. Some of the materials used include:
- 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 students’ reading ability.
- Lexia – Computer-based program that focuses on phonological awareness, phonics, structural analysis of words, automaticity/vocabulary and comprehension.
- Assistive Technology - Learning Ally and Bookshare.
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 the intervention.