Earlier this month, educators from around the state completed the six week graduate course, Introduction to Dyslexia. The course was offered through a partnership between the Maine Department of Education’s (DOE) Office of Special Services and the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF).
The online and in-class course introduced educators to current research in cognitive neuroscience and evidence- based teaching practices and how the two may interact to help children with dyslexia.
The class learned the benefits of early identification of students at-risk for reading failure. Through early screening, dyslexia can be predicted and the severity can be reduced using evidence-based intervention. Appropriate intervention brings the majority of at-risk children to grade-level reading levels. Presently, it cannot be predicted which children will respond to intervention. Additionally, early intervention reduces the risk of the difficult-to-remediate fluency deficit that often emerges in 4th grade.
After being introduced to concepts regarding the neuroscience of reading, the class took part in 3 full-day workshops to learn practical classroom techniques that work well for all learners.
The course was taught by Lisa Whitis, MEd, JD who serves as the Dyslexia Coordinator at the Maine DOE. Contact Ms. Whitis at Lisa.Whitis@Maine.Gov to discuss professional development opportunities for your district or technical assistance for issues regarding dyslexia.