As educators and people working to start a school, we get these types of question all the time.
"Isn't first grade too young to attend a special school for dyslexia?"
"Kindergarteners don't even know how to read. How can you say they might have dyslexia?"
"Kids catch up at different ages. Shouldn't I just be patient?"
It's very difficult to know when is the right time to screen your child or intervene for possible learning disorders. Ultimately, it's often a parent's intuition or a teacher's insight that can see the difference between struggling and still learning. But children as young as preschool-age can now be screened for dyslexia..
Unfortunately, most systems believe that children need to repeatedly show -- many times, for several years -- that they are behind the learning curve before teachers (or even parents) will agree to intervene. This "wait for failure" approach can be extremely damaging for children with dyslexia. It not only sets them up for lower self esteem, but it prevents them from getting the help they need early enough to make a real difference.
As researchers Wanzek & Vaughn wrote in 2007:
"Paradoxically, although a diagnosis of dyslexia usually is not given before the end of second grade or the beginning of third grade (after the requisite period of failing), intensive interventions are most effective in kindergarten or first grade."
Thus, specialized, multi-sensory, research-based education techniques for children with dyslexia and related reading disorders -- like the curriculum Lakes & Bridges Charter School will provide --should begin early.
We encourage you to read the full article on this important topic: "It's a Myth that Young Children Can't be Screened for Dyslexia."
And, if you have any concerns about your younger children, please don't wait for them to repeatedly fail before intervening. Ask questions, get help, and keep fighting for your child.