The California Department of Education (CDE) recently posted new online guidelines to help teachers and parents in identifying students with dyslexia, and to assist in planning, evaluating, and improving educational services for these children.
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.
A group of education experts met for more than a year to assist the CDE in developing the guidelines. The intent of the new dyslexia guidelines fits into the larger goal of increasing literacy skills for all students in California by appropriately supporting struggling readers.
The guidelines include an introduction by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torkakson. He explains that over the past several decades, we have learned a great deal about dyslexia. For example, we have learned that dyslexia is a disability that is neurobiological in nature that affects millions of people around the world.
We have also learned that most people with dyslexia struggle to recognize and manipulate small sound units, which makes it difficult to link the letters in print to sounds. Not surprisingly, without this skill it can be difficult to read.
We have learned how to teach people with dyslexia to read fluently and with comprehension using multi-sensory techniques.
What this all means is that for California's students with dyslexia, with concerted and ongoing effort by educators and parents, there is new hope.
You may read a copy of the online guidelines here.
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