Automatic Dyslexia Screenings in Oklahoma Schools

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that affects areas of the brain that process language and it is one of the most common reasons children come to Trinity School. Over the years, Trinity School has served thousands of Oklahoma children with dyslexia. We know the condition is under-diagnosed and often consistent remediation and resources are not available to students. However, recently legislation was signed into law to help close that gap.

The new law, HB 2804 by Representative Mike Sanders, will require dyslexia screening for all early elementary students reading below their grade level. The automatic screenings will be required for children in kindergarten through the third-grade, only if their grade level reading tests indicate that they are struggling. This initiative will reduce the time it takes to catch a student struggling and offer support.

Our educators at Trinity School are thankful that Governor Stitt has signed the Reading Sufficiency Act  that will go into effect in November of 2020. Policies, training, and testing should be fully implemented by the start of the 2022-2023 school year.

Early intervention for  dyslexic children  is crucial for their academic success. According to the Child Mind Institute, as many as 80-90% of children with a learning difference have dyslexia, so the initiative to automatically test will have a wonderful impact for undiagnosed kids. Getting help early in life will improve children’s long-term educational outcomes.

Studies have shown that a large majority of children who struggle to read at a young age will continue to do so through adulthood (LD Online says 74% of poor readers struggle for a lifetime), unless they receive intervention. Trinity School’s Director of Reading Therapy, Shelli Thomas says,

“Early intervention is key to helping students narrow the gap between the students ability and achievement. This is why HB 2804 is so beneficial to both the students and teachers of Oklahoma.”

Trinity School at Edgemere is the only school in the OKC metro with a K-12 curriculum dedicated to helping students with dyslexia and other learning differences learn to read and thrive in all subject areas. Based on Orton-Gillingham proven methods, all of our students receive specific “Take Flight” reading intervention. Kids work both in groups and individually with Reading Therapists certified in Take Flight, a program that teaches students the process of reading. But, most uniquely, all of our classroom instructors utilize the comprehension coloring coding component of the Take Flight program, including science, history, and electives. These methodologies and programs are then tailored to each student and reviewed frequently by our Certified CALT Reading Therapist, classroom instructors, curriculum director, and school counselor  to determine what additional remediations and interventions are needed to help our students  fulfill their fullest potentials!

Many barriers to testing can limit access to much needed screenings. Children that have gone undiagnosed often mask their difficulties because they think there is something wrong with them and are often accused of not trying.  Sometimes environmental factors, a lack of resources or the cost of testing prevents children from being diagnosed. Trinity School offers free dyslexia screenings four times a year or upon request to do our part to fulfil that need. This newly passed legislation is a breath of fresh air and offers a greatly needed resource to so many students, and it stands to make a great difference in the lives of so many Oklahoma children. Trinity School will be there to lend support along the way!