LDA Newsletter

Newsletter – February 2019

Here is what’s in this month’s LDA Leader:

  • More on Dyslexia Screening, by Joe Biondo
  • Establishing Routines, by Karen Thomson
  • Inclement Weather Policy
  • Upcoming Event – TRIVIA NIGHT

A Cup of Joe

More on Dyslexia Screening
By Joe Biondo, Educational Consultant

I’ve felt a need for the past month or two to get back to all of you on the subject of dyslexia. I had hoped to report that the state mandate to screen all first through third graders followed shortly by screening of kindergartners would be completed and that those identified as suspected of this reading disorder would be well on their way to receiving appropriate services. To the best of my knowledge, at all St. Louis Metro schools, screening has been completed or is in the process of being completed.

As I have come to find out, in the process is a significant and meaningful phrase. Let me try to clarify for you the dyslexia screening best practice, as it was explained to me by a very trusted and highly skilled Instructional Coach assigned to one of our local elementary schools. Screening requires multiple steps, and in this district and at this particular school, the team has found that three separate tests are required to truly identify characteristics of the suspected dyslexia.

  • To begin with, all children in the aforementioned grades take a basic screening tool to identify reading deficits based on grade expectations.
  • Those that score below an expected level or range are then given a more comprehensive reading assessment. This includes an error analysis to this second screening tool in an attempt to more accurately identify students with struggles in phonemic/phonological awareness, word reading and decoding, letter/sound knowledge and other determining at-risk factors.
  • Finally, a more formal test is given, such as the Test of Phonological Processing to more accurately identify the one out of four students suspected to have dyslexia. To be perfectly clear, I am still talking about screening at this point. Only a licensed psychologist can make the diagnosis of dyslexia. The information gathered from the school screening is to be used as a guide for the school’s team.

Now the process I have just described is not the practice in all schools and all districts in the Metro St. Louis area. Some schools do less, and, I suspect, some do more, which then should lead to placing students with suspected reading disorders in appropriate specialized reading programs. Now here is where it gets more complicated. That is, nowhere in the requirement to screen for dyslexia is there guidance that specifies what methodology is to be used with those students identified as having characteristics of this reading disorder. Reading specialists or interventionists have a number of reading intervention tools that can be used with children with reading difficulties. However, with suspected dyslexia, reading programs need to be Structured, Sequential, Systematic, Multi-Sensory and Phonologically-based. Usually, the Orton-Gillingham Reading Methods are recommended.

Our licensed psychologists here at St. Louis Learning Disabilities Association are able to diagnosis dyslexia and other suspected learning disabilities. If you have questions or concerns, make an appointment with the Reading Interventionist at your child’s school, or you are welcome to contact St. Louis Learning Disabilities Association at info@ldastl.org or 314-966-3088.


Your contribution can inspire students to learn, develop, and achieve!


Establishing Routines

Karen Thomson, MA, Program and Resource Development

Everyone needs routines. These begin early for all of us, actually in infancy, and help life from becoming too chaotic. At times it can be difficult to establish consistent, comfortable and effective routines. A good routine achieves a compromise between disorder, rigidity and boredom. A good structure to your child’s day will lead to more consistency and the willingness to be more adaptable.

Establishing a routine as a parent will set a good example for your child to follow. What may also be a good idea is to ask your child to assist you with reviewing the family’s routine. Ask them what works and what does not work for the family. It helps to break this into times of the day:

Mornings:

  • Organize as many things (items) the night before.
  • Keep wake-up routines and times consistent and positive.
  • Be sure to eat breakfast–even if is a small one.
  • Have a regular goodbye routine for school/work.

Afternoons:

  • Stay consistent with nap/rest/quiet time.
  • Be sure to have adult supervision and a consistent pick-up time from care or school.

Evenings:

  • Dinner time is important–keep this as regular a routine as possible. Eat together without screen time but instead with discussion about the events of the day or upcoming activities.

Bedtime:

  • Practice a regular bedtime for sleep, with proper sleep habits–no screens and calm-down rituals and routines. Nighttime rituals can help ease a child to sleep. These rituals can include storytelling, reading aloud, conversation and songs.

Weekends:

  • Keep to the regular schedule as much as possible–substitute work and school time for family activity time together.

Establishing an effective daily routine will create a positive environment for your child and will boost their sense of security. In turn, they will have a more structured night of sleep and have positive interactions at school or childcare. If you would like more information on establishing routines or any other of St. Louis LDA’s workshops, contact us at info@ldastl.org or 314-966-3088.

Sources:

Miller, A., Lumeng, J., & LeBourgeois, M. (2015, May 19). Sleep Patterns and Obesity in Childhood. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4437224/

 

Upcoming Events


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