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E801: Action 3.15: Screening Tests

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Simpson, J. & Everatt, J. (2009) 'Reception class predictors of literacy skills'

Notes on importance and nature of screening tests for dyslexia. What issues are relevant to your own interpretation, use and critical evaluation of any screening tests for dyslexia that you may use?

DEST (Dyslexia Early Screening Test, Nicholson & Fawcett, 1996)
4:6 to 6:5 years
Based on three possible causes of dyslexia: phonological deficit; magnocellular auditory pathway (rapid processing); automatising skills (Cerebellum)
Sub-test scores combine to give ARQ (at risk quotient) - controversial

Need to show predictive validity across age ranges and contexts

Combined tests may reduce the ability of a test to predict variance in skills

Predictors of later literacy development change with age so test needs to change with age


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E801: Action 3.9: Early Screening for Dyslexia

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DVD - 'Early intervention in East Renfrewshire'

Read (2009) Chapter 4

What are the advantages and disadvantages for having a screening programme in the early years?

The advantages are that children with any sort of difficulty are picked up and can receive extra support. Those who are slightly delayed developmentally will benefit as well as those with SpLDs. Parents can be assured that extra help is available for their children.

Disadvantages come from labelling a child when they are so young and setting up expectations/excuses for failure.

What would be the difficulties in implementing such a strategy?

It must be a screening strategy for all difficulties rather than a diagnosis and communication with the students and parents must be carefully handled.

Power struggles and communication between various agencies i.e. overlap between nurseries, pre-school and school.

What differences might it make for young children?

Catch the children before they fail thus preventing loss of self-esteem. Children can be assisted to stay on the same track as their classmates and parents can be reassured that children are being helped with a genuine difficulty rather than being lazy thus avoiding them putting pressure on the child.

How does this fit with a policy of inclusion?

It allows the child to stay with the class and there will be less likelihood of their withdrawal for special help at a later stage.


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