Dyslexia recognition training slated for USD 457

Meghan Flynn

In order to address issues of dyslexia such as how to identify it, how it affects children and how to help them, teachers within Unified School District 457 will have to undergo state-mandated training.

Information on dyslexia and the training was presented at the regular USD 457 Board of Education meeting Monday.

Suzette Goldsby-Lewis, coordinator of professional development, said the initial six-hour training set forth by the Kansas Dyslexia Initiative must be completed by August 2021 for those endorsed in elementary education, early childhood education, high-incidence special education, English Language Arts teachers, reading specialists, school psychologists and para educators are recommended for the training.

“By the end of April, we should have everybody on that roll-out should be trained,” she said. “Then once we have our first year of the six-hour training there is an expectation that there is a yearly professional development training that focuses on dyslexia.”

Dyslexia is more than just reading, Goldsby-Lewis said, it affects multiple modalities such as listening, motor control, memorization, spelling, writing and spatial/temporal modalities, such as telling the time and left/right confusion.

“When many people hear the word dyslexia, a lot of people think of just the letters being backwards or somebody writing the letters backwards or reading backwards,” she said. “This is not what it is, it's also not a vision or hearing issue. It's not an intelligence issue, it's not because a student has low motivation or they're not putting forth the effort. It's not due to poor teaching, it's not a condition that they outgrow ... and it's also not as rare as some people think.”

Monica Diaz, coordinator of Language and Literacy, said the training will help teachers recognize the characteristics of dyslexia and help students early.

“This training is going to help teachers provide successful classroom instruction when delivered by an informed educator,” she said. “Our ultimate goal for reading it to limit the severity of reading and writing and difficulties for students. By providing some of this science of reading training for our educators we'll be able to give them the strategies that they need to support our readers that are struggling currently of any age, as well as our very young students who are just learning to read.”