School Psychologists are longstanding advocates of early intervention for children at-risk for reading problems.
Over 20 years ago-1998 be specific, Cobb County’s Psychological Services Department engaged in a field based research project to identify risk factors associated with reading difficulties. Dr. Fran Moon and a dozen other CCSD school psychologists screened kindergarteners enrolled in two CCSD elementary schools. The screening battery included measures of phonological awareness, expressive vocabulary, auditory working memory, letter recognition, letter/sound production, and rapid automatized naming of objects tasks.
Information from district reading assessments in second grade were correlated with results from the screening battery. While a majority of the students at these two schools showed well developed reading skills in second grade, those who scored below the 50th percentile on Stanford Achievement Test (STAT-9) in Reading demonstrated less well developed letter identification skills, had problems blending syllables, and were slower in recalling the names of familiar objects in kindergarten than did their higher scoring peers. Findings from this study were shared at the National Association of School Psychologists Conference (NASP, 2000) and the International Dyslexia Association (IDA, 2003).
Fast forward twenty years and the current Georgia Legislature is considering a bill that will require screening all kindergarten students for risk factors associated with Dyslexia, along with improving teacher preparation programs to include coursework related to teaching reading, and recognizing signs of learning difficulties and/or disabilities.
Epidemiologists predict that up to 20% of a given population may struggle with learning to read. However, not all students who struggle to read will demonstrate characteristics of SLD, or dyslexia. CCSD has implemented an Early Literacy Initiative in 18 schools, and has instructional resources available to help all students
CCSD’s school psychologists often evaluate students for Specific Learning Disability (SLD) eligibility using the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) criteria. Dyslexia is considered under SLD .
Christy Jaffe, Ph.D., Supervisor
Contributing Author: Dr. Fran Moon