Learning Ally Blog: Access and Achievement

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Now more than ever, people with learning and visual disabilities are flourishing in the classroom, launching productive careers and becoming assets in their communities. This blog spotlights remarkable individuals who demonstrate that having a visual or print disability is no barrier to educational success.


Down-to-Earth Dyslexia Screening
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Dyslexia Screening by Dr. Richard SelznickExplaining the dyslexia screening process sans jargon is one area in which Richard Selznick, Ph. D., psychologist and Director of the Cooper Learning Center in South Jersey, excels. His approach is hard to come by in a field that is highly technical and often defined by formal processes. That’s why Dr. Selznick decided to write his new book, Dyslexia Screening: Essential Concepts for Schools and Parents. In this guide, readers can expect to find down-to-earth explanations of the key areas to assess in a dyslexia screening, introductory concepts, case examples and more. The book’s target audiences are administrators, special education teams, and early childhood educators, but Dr. Selznick made the material accessible for parents as well. “What I try to give is more of the thought processes behind the screening, rather than a manual telling you exactly what tools you should use, because I think a certain amount of judgment needs to go into it,” says Dr. Selznick. “If people have a deeper understanding of the process, they’ll know what to consider when they approach a new case and will be able to adjust their process to meet a child’s individual needs.” Often, schools take a by-the-book formal approach to assessment, but Dr. Selznick doesn’t believe that’s always necessary. “The purpose of the assessment isn’t to get a diagnosis,” he explains. “It’s to identify red flags and guide next steps. The sooner the warning signs are noticed, the sooner the child can begin to get help.” Whether the next steps are getting the child using assistive technology, such as audiobooks, starting Orton-Gillingham-based tutoring, or simply monitoring the student’s progress, an early screening will jumpstart a child’s path to success. Just how important is it that a child with dyslexia be screened as soon as concerns are brought up? “The effect on a child being identified early is huge. Research supports that those kids who are showing early signs of difficultly will, without help, continue to struggle and fall further behind. They’ll be reading less than their peers, have diminished comprehension and their confidence will take a hit. There is nothing to gain by waiting.” If you’re interested in learning more or ordering Dr. Selznick’s book, visit his website at www.ShutDownLearner.com.   To find a professional who can evaluate individuals for learning, physical and/or visual disabilities in your area, check out Learning Ally's specialist directory. Dr. Richard SelznickDr. Richard Selznick is a psychologist and Director of Cooper Learning Center, Department of Pediatrics, Cooper University Healthcare. Dr. Selznick, the author of two other books, "The Shut-Down Learner: Helping Your Academically Discouraged Child" and "School Struggles," has devoted his 25+ year career to helping parents, schools, and kids understand learning problems in down-to-earth, jargon-free terms. A member of Learning Ally’s specialist network, Dr. Selznick presented his session “Shut-Down Learners and Dyslexia: What’s the Connection” at Learning Ally’s 2014 Spotlight on Dyslexia Conference.


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