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DyslexiaScreen Provides Early Identification of Children With Dyslexia

  • Published: 2016-10-19 : Author: Pearson : Contact:
  • Synopsis: Shaywitz DyslexiaScreen is an evidence-based and user-friendly assessment to help teachers identify students in kindergarten and first grade who may have dyslexia.

Dyslexia, also known as alexia or developmental reading disorder, is characterized by difficulty with learning to read and with differing comprehension of language despite normal or above-average intelligence. This includes difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, processing speed, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, language skills and verbal comprehension, or rapid naming. Internationally, dyslexia is designated as a cognitive disorder, related to reading and speech. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke definition describes it as "difficulty with spelling, phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), or rapid visual-verbal responding.

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"I collaborated with Pearson to develop the Shaywitz DyslexiaScreen to empower teachers to identify children who may be at risk for dyslexia at the earliest age possible."

Recognizing the long-term effects of waiting to identify students at risk for dyslexia, the Shaywitz DyslexiaScreen is designed specifically to support early identification. Created by Dr. Sally Shaywitz, a global leader in dyslexia study, and unlike other measures which take up valuable instructional time, this assessment is delivered in under five minutes per student.

Pearson unveiled the Shaywitz DyslexiaScreen™, an efficient, reliable, evidence-based and user-friendly assessment to help teachers identify students in kindergarten and first grade who may have dyslexia. Created by Dr. Sally Shaywitz, a global leader in dyslexia research and advocacy, the digital assessment emphasizes phonological, linguistic and academic performance. Based on teacher observations, the assessment is delivered in less than five minutes per student, compared to other measures which take up valuable instructional time.

Shaywitz is the Audrey G. Ratner Professor in Learning Development at the Yale University School of Medicine, and the co-director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. As a physician-scientist, she conducts cutting-edge research to advance the science of dyslexia and provide a framework for the 21st century scientific understanding of dyslexia. Together with her husband, Dr. Bennett Shaywitz, she originated and championed the "Sea of Strengths" model of dyslexia which emphasizes a sea of strengths in areas such as higher critical thinking and creativity surrounding the encapsulated weakness in decoding found in children and adults with dyslexia. Shaywitz is the author of more than 250 scientific articles and chapters. Her award-winning book, Overcoming Dyslexia, details fundamental scientific findings on dyslexia and how to translate this scientific knowledge into policy and clinical practice.

"My work is focused on providing children with dyslexia, their families and teachers awareness that success is within their reach together with strategies for achieving that success," said Shaywitz. "Our research has demonstrated that the achievement gap between dyslexic and typical readers is evident as early as first grade. Critical to closing that gap is early identification of those children at risk for dyslexia. Early identification opens the door to early, evidence-based interventions and, if needed, accommodations, such as extra time in class and on tests, necessary to demonstrate their ability. I collaborated with Pearson to develop the Shaywitz DyslexiaScreen to empower teachers to identify children who may be at risk for dyslexia at the earliest age possible."

The Shaywitz DyslexiaScreen joins more than 65 other assessments on Pearson's Q-global, the only scoring and reporting system that features today's leading assessments on a simple-to-use, web-based interface that is accessible anytime, anywhere. Q-global offers clinicians 24/7 secure, web-based access and portability.

"We are proud to work with an expert of Dr. Shaywitz's caliber to make this important assessment available to elementary schools," said Aurelio Prifitera, Ph.D., managing director of Pearson's clinical assessment group. "Early identification means early intervention for the thousands of young learners who may be at risk for dyslexia and, as a result of the Shaywitz DyslexiaScreen they may now get the intervention and, if needed, accommodations they require sooner in their academic careers than in the past."

In 2015, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to define dyslexia as "an unexpected difficulty in reading for an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader; and due to a difficulty in getting to the individual sounds of spoken language, which affects the ability of an individual to speak, read, spell, and often learn a language." This definition expands on and brings forward the definition adopted by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) which also refers to the unexpected nature of dyslexia. According to the IDA and reflecting Shaywitz's data, up to 20 percent of the population may show symptoms of dyslexia.

The Shaywitz DyslexiaScreen is a key component of an overall Pearson dyslexia toolkit of resources on screening and identification. The toolkit is available at


Pearson is the world's learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Our mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives. Pearson's Clinical Assessment group provides a comprehensive portfolio of research-based instruments to help clinicians develop insights that support evaluations and shape treatment plans. For more information visit

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