Early Dyslexia Identification Essential For Student Success

Mar 31, 2016
Sam Greenhalgh / flickr

20 percent of school-aged children in the United State are impacted by dyslexia or similar language-based disorders. Because it’s an invisible disability, dyslexia is difficult to diagnose, especially in young children. New research suggests early detection could be key in ensuring these students receive the services they need to succeed. We’ll ask Pittsburgh Region Chair Christine Seppi and board member Daphne Uliana of the Pennsylvania Branch of the International Dyslexia Association about new pilot programs and legislature moving through the Commonwealth. The annual conference is being held next week.

Third and fourth grade students with dyslexia are invited to enroll at Provident Charter School in Troy Hill, which opens this fall. 

Chris Pizzello / AP Images

While many may know him as the cool, tough Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli on TV’s “Happy Days,” actor, author and director Henry Winkler has earned fame through a lifetime of achievements both on the screen and through his philanthropic work. Most recently, he served as the keynote speaker at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Second Annual Men’s Night Out last week.  Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer sat down with Winkler to reflect on his many acting roles, his Jewish identity and the challenges of growing up with a disability.

About 15 to 20 percent of Americans has dyslexia, a disorder that results in slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling and writing or confusing similar words.

But many cases go undetected, making schooling difficult for those who have it.

A new bill that aims to address this issue just passed the House and Senate this week and awaits Gov. Tom Corbett’s signature.

According to Senator Sean Wiley (D-Erie), the bill enables the Pennsylvania Department of Education to establish a Dyslexia Screening Pilot Program.

Karoly Czifra / flickr

Some of the most notable people in modern history have been diagnosed with the learning difference known as dyslexia.

Inventors, entertainers, authors and politicians have excelled in spite of -- or because of -- the unique way their minds work. But reading, writing, and even speaking can be an ongoing challenge as well, and proper support can help.

Christine Seppi is the chair of the Pittsburgh region of the Pennsylvania Branch of the International Dyslexia Association, and organizer of an upcoming conference on diagnosis and management of learning differences. She also has an adult son with dyslexia.

Judy Baxter / Flickr

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability which makes it hard for those who have it to learn to read and write. According the Pennsylvania branch of the International Dyslexia Association, it’s the most common learning disability.

“15 to 20 percent of the population have some level of dyslexia.” said Pittsburgh region of the Association Chairperson Christine Seppi. “That’s a really huge number. Autism, which gets a lot of press, has one in 50. This is one in five or six.”