In California, students who have certain types of learning needs are eligible for specialized support in school. Special education programs exist for the benefit of those who cannot learn using traditional methods. One of the most common learning needs is dyslexia, which is a disorder that affects a student’s ability to read and write. While very common, the state currently does not have a requirement for each student to be screened for this. It is one of only 10 states that do not mandate screening.
Concerns that universal screening may not be the best approach
Screening for dyslexia can reveal if a student needs special education support or certain types of interventions that could help students succeed in the classroom. Many agree that screening all students could prevent problems, provide important help at an earlier stage and improve the quality of education. The state also funds dyslexia research and teacher training.
Teachers’ unions oppose mandating dyslexia screening. They claim that implementing mandated screening would take kids and teachers out of the classroom. There is also a concern that it could overly identify non-native English speakers as having reading problems.
Seeking support for students
California parents who believe their child may be suffering from dyslexia have the right to advocate for their child’s educational needs. Parents are important advocates, and they can pursue screening tools they believe will be helpful and even necessary for their student. Schools have an obligation to appropriately support students with unique learning needs, such as dyslexia, by providing them with reasonable accommodations, goals, services and other necessary measures.