Addressing and supporting the needs of children with dyslexia requires integrated, comprehensive approaches at the family, school, and community levels. Due to the disproportionate burden placed on schools to identify and remediate students with dyslexia, whole child approaches to assessment, identification, and intervention are critical.
Yaacov Petscher, PhD, featured speaker at the Spring 2023 Robert J. Schwartz Memorial lecture hosted by The Windward School and The Windward Institute, presented "Exploring Whole Child Approaches to the Identification and Support of Children with Dyslexia." In summary of the lecture, here are takeaways to be considered about the whole child approach.
Whole Child Approach to Reading and Learning:
What works for whom under what conditions?
- Emphasizes supporting both student achievement and well-being
- Points the way toward making educational experiences more responsive to individual student needs and strengths in the contexts of home, school, and community
- Aligns with ecological models that illustrate the impact of varied systems, such as family and health services, on a child’s development
- Aligns with a risk and resilience model (Catts & Petscher, 2021)
- Addresses known risk factors, including deficits in phonological skills, while simultaneously allowing for promotive resilience factors that may mitigate risk, such as growth mindset
- Considers four domains including (Darling-Hammond & Cook-Harvey, 2018)
- positive school climate
- productive instructional strategies
- social and emotional development
- individualized supports
- Acknowledges the potential of screenings, including screenings for trauma and dyslexia, to identify interventions and services for individual children
- Calls on teachers, parents, pediatricians, social workers, and other stakeholders to play a role in early identification as well as the development and implementation of individualized supports across varied contexts