Did you know?

  • Approximately one out of every five children struggles with dyslexia.
  • Most students are in special education because they have dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia is not outgrown and one cannot “mature” out of reading difficulties.
  • Dyslexia is neurological in origin and is related to neuropsychological differences in brain function.
  • There are specific subtypes of dyslexia, each requiring different research- based interventions.

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability, resulting in reading difficulties. According to the International Dyslexia Association, it typically results from a deficit in sound-symbol (phonological) relationships and is unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities. The identification of dyslexia is now written into special education code (NJ law). All students between kindergarten and second grade with reading difficulties are required to receive screening for dyslexia.

Despite progress in identifying dyslexia, challenges still remain in correctly pinpointing those with reading problems. For example, dyslexia is classified under “Specific Learning Disability” when receiving special education services. The model commonly used to determine if there is a learning disability is known as the discrepancy model, which refers to a significant difference between a student’s IQ, or cognitive potential vs. actual school achievement. This model has been criticized by many researchers as flawed. One key reason is because it’s often unable to uncover the discrepancy when needed most, during a student’s critical early years in school. A newer model, incorporated into the code, is called the “strengths and weaknesses” model. This model takes into account the neurological profile unique to each student. It helps identify learning disabilities and reading disorders earlier and more accurately.

It is also important to understand there are several types of reading disorders. Although many students with reading problems have difficulties in phonological awareness, some students have very different reading issues. They can have challenges recognizing sight words that cannot simply be sounded out, have poor reading fluency, or struggle with reading comprehension and/or working memory. A neuropsychological evaluation can better help determine why a reading disorder exists, so that more accurate and timely interventions can be implemented.