With all of the advances in our understanding of early intervention, dyslexia in older students and young adults often gets short shrift.

The paper by Dr. Kathleen Niesen and colleagues has some interesting findings that have important points for identification, accommodations, and understanding of both the challenges and strengths of adolescents and young adults with dyslexia.

Importantly, the authors made this point:

“…if dyslexia was not diagnosed earlier in schooling, young adults do not qualify for accommodations even if as adolescents and adults they meet research criteria for dyslexia on evidence-based assessment. Such assessment practices do not seem fair or sensible or consistent with the spirit of the Americas for Disabilities legislation.”

The point made was that dyslexia missed in the early grades usually meant dyslexia was not being recognized at all, with all the accompanying negative academic consequences, including lower school performance because accommodations were not in place to ensure test results reflect knowledge or ability. The paper also finds (not surprisingly to some of you) that working memory differences account for at least a significant degree of the variation between students’ reading and writing performance.

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