A dyslexia expert cast an analytical eye on the process by which children are assessed to be dyslexic on a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Tim Odegard, a professor of psychology and holder of the Murfree Chair of Excellence in Dyslexic Studies, first aired May 18 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.
You can listen to their conversation via the Soundcloud link above.
In a recent research article, Odegard and his co-authors noted that it’s difficult for educators to ascertain which Tennessee public school students have dyslexia when 66 percent of those students cannot read proficiently by the end of the third grade.
Whether or not these youngsters struggle with this specific learning disorder, the experts noted that the children suffer substantial deficits in word reading, oral reading fluency, reading comprehension and other relevant measures of their ability to read.
Odegard said some parents actually want their children to be characterized as dyslexic, even if they don’t really merit that assessment, because the parents are desperate for their kids to get special help.
“They want protections, and they want law, and they want something in writing and documentation that they can point to and have that security and peace of mind,” Odegard said.
“Those of us privileged to have the resources can put those resources to doing something outside of the system, but it shouldn’t have to be that (way). Those that are not as privileged to be able to do that are going to be left with what they can get in the system.”
The article, “External evaluations for dyslexia: do the data support parent concerns?”, was published in March 2021 in the academic journal Annals of Dyslexia.
Odegard’s co-authors are Eric Oslund, an MTSU associate professor of elementary and special education; Emily Farris, MTSU assistant director of dyslexia services; and Tamera Hutchings, a doctoral candidate in literacy studies from Spring Hill, Tennessee.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about the radio program, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.