New dyslexia guidelines offer more direction for educators

Experts estimate that 70 to 80 percent of people who struggle to read suffer from dyslexia. They also estimate that anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of students are dyslexic, making it most common of the language-based learning disabilities.

That means that in Orange County alone, as many as 100,000 public school students could be struggling with dyslexia. October is National Dyslexia Awareness Month.

To help schools better support and identify students with dyslexia, the state Department of Education recently released California Dyslexia Guidelines, a 132-page document meant to help educators know what exactly dyslexia is and what interventions have worked best.

“This exemplary document highlights the current research and collective professional wisdom of the Dyslexia Guidelines workgroup,” said Allison Granger, elementary language arts coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education.

“This document provides California stakeholders with practical resources for identifying and educating students who are struggling academically because they cannot read,” she said.

The Dyslexia Guidelines were developed over the last two years as part of a requirement of state Assembly Bill 1369. The guidelines call for universal screening for dyslexia in early elementary grades, evidence-based intervention and increased teacher training.

These guidelines are not binding or mandatory, but give schools more comprehensive and uniform resources for dealing with the disability, Granger said.

On Saturday, the nonprofit California Youth Services will host a free Dyslexia Awareness and Education event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Peppertree Park, 230 W. First St., in Tustin.  The event will feature an expert panel, a Q&A session, and other information to help the parents and educators learn more about the new Dyslexia Guidelines. For more information, call 949-303-9016.