This is the 2nd part of an overview of the Universal Screening process. Part 1 dealt with the initial identification of the 20% of children in preschool and primary grades who are likely to fail in the mainstream classroom. You can read this blog here.
Now I will move on to talk about the comprehensive tests that identify dyslexia.
Figure 1 from Dyslexia Screening by Dr Richard Selznick
This visual shows the major components of the reading process. For a reader to be functioning adequately they would need to be competent in all these areas.
Universal screening focuses on the first three components of reading; phonemic awareness, decoding/phonics, and if age appropriate, fluency. The next level of screening is more detailed and includes comprehension and vocabulary. If this indicates dyslexia is likely, a comprehensive assessment will need to be made by an educational psychologist.
Here I would like to return to the New Jersey screening law that I mentioned in Part 1 of the Dyslexia Screening….
“In the event that a student is determined through the screening conducted pursuant to section 3 of this act to possess one or potential indicators of dyslexia or other reading disabilities, the board of education shall ensure that the student receives a comprehensive assessment of the learning disorder. In the event that a diagnosis of dyslexia or other reading disability is confirmed by the comprehensive assessment, the board of education shall provide appropriate evidence-based intervention strategies to the student, including intense instruction on phonemic awareness, phonics and fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension.
A comprehensive assessment would include the following:
❖ A Detailed History
❖ Phonological Processing
❖ Rapid Automatized Naming
❖ Reading Fluency
❖ Word Reading and Spelling of Real Words
❖ Word Reading and Spelling of Nonsense Words
❖ Morphology Knowledge
❖ Orthographic Coding
❖ Processing Speed and Working Memory
❖ Reading and Listening Comprehension
❖ Expressive and Receptive Oral Language
A future blog will detail each of these components and tests that are used to assess these areas.
I will use the following visual for the introduction to dyslexia screening. It includes the three tiers of the Response To Intervention (RTI) model used in schools across the nation.
Figure 2: The Three Stage Dyslexia Screening Process
For a more detailed visual of Screening for Dyslexia, please refer to page 17 of the NJ Dyslexia Handbook.
For further details of the Response To Intervention (RTI) model, please see the following blogs by Marisa Bernard.
I would like to thank Alison Pankowski, Reading Interventionist and LDTC, and Dr Richard Selznick, for teaching me much about this process. For further reading on this subject, I highly recommend the section on Universal Screening & Early Dyslexia Identification in the NJ Dyslexia Handbook written by Alison Pankowski, as well as Dr Selznick’s book entitled “Dyslexia Screening”.
Lorna Wooldridge is a dyslexia specialist tutor with over twenty-five years of experience and qualifications in the field of learning differences, from both the UK and USA. Lorna has a unique perspective on this condition as she has dyslexia, and her passion is to serve this community in any way she can.