Academic journal article Journal of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies

Screening Program in Dyslexia for High School Students

Academic journal article Journal of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies

Screening Program in Dyslexia for High School Students

Article excerpt

Theoretical background

Learning disabilities

There are many definitions accepted for learning disabilities (LD), but most authors and professional agencies agree that LD are intrinsic to the individual, persist across the lifespan and can, therefore, be diagnosed later in life, they refer to the persistent difficulty of acquiring, in a typical manner, the most important academic skills: reading, writing, mathematics. These difficulties are not consequences of the lack of learning opportunities or of the inadequate instruction; they are considered neurodevelopmental disorders with biological origin (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The specific learning disabilities are: dyslexia (the difficulty of learning to read), dysgraphia (the difficulty of learning to write) and dysculculia (the difficulty of learning mathematics) (Reynolds, Johnson, & Salzman, 2012).

Diagnosing LD is a complex process that should begin in the early school years. Gilbert, Compton, Fuchs and Fuchs (2012) recommend a four step screening system for learning disability where the first step is a static screening instrument including letter identification, oral reading fluency, phoneme segmentation, and word identification for students in kindergarten or first grade; the second step is progress monitoring fluency in letter identification, passage reading, and word identification; the third step is follow-up testing using standardized, nationally normed test, and state achievement test; and the fourth test includes upgrading procedures for subsequent years.

McInnis et al. (2011, p.184) conclude that "there are differences in definitions of eligibility for learning disability services across the north-west of England, as well as assessment tools used, but there is some consistency with the use of the WAIS III-UK and preference for the ABAS II where formal tools are used, although the pattern may change".

The statistic data shows that between 2006 and 2010, the percentage of students aged 6 to 21 diagnosed with specific learning disability varied between 3.5 and 4.0 percent (Data Accountability Center, 2011).

Barriers in getting a diagnostic assessment

Reynolds, Johnson and Salzman (2012, p.189) in a four year study regarding learning disabilities screening and diagnosing program for adults in Ohio identifies that "cost is a primary barrier to diagnostic services and to formal accommodations in postsecondary education".

The most common barriers the high-school students face to get a diagnostic assessment for learning disabilities in Romania are mentioned below:

· Insufficient funds for professionals.

· Regular teachers training in the field of learning disabilities.

· Limited assessment tools.

· A standard procedure to refer a student to be tested for learning disabilities.

· The reduced number of resource teachers in high-school.


Dyslexia is defined as a neurological disorder characterized by word difficulties, reading disorders, spelling disorders (IDA, 2002; American Psychiatric Association, 2013), orthographic impairments due to the phonological disorders (impairments regarding phonetic-phonologic component of language) (Lyon, 1995; Green, Tonnessen, Tambs, Thoresen, & Bjertness, 2009; RadulyZorgo, 2010).

The prevalence of dyslexia is reported to range from 1.3-15,7% from the population depending on the investigation method, the group of participants in the research (Green, Tonnessen, Tambs, Thoresen, & Bjertness, 2009; Raduly-Zorgo, 2010) (children or adults), the aim of the researches, the country in which the research is developed (there are reported high levels of reading disorders and dyslexia in high developed countries). For example in Scandinavian countries high levels of reading disorders are reported due to the functional for years diagnose methods and the screening programs (Raduly-Zorgo, 2010). On the other hand the situation in Romania is different because the national screening programs for children at risk to develop learning disorders started recently with the new National Law of Education from 1/2011). …

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