Webinar: Using the WJIV to Diagnose Dyslexia
Presenter: Nancy Mather, Ph. D.
Sponsored by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date: 11/17/2015
Total Hours: 1.5

Nancy Mather Ph. D., co-author of the WJIV and dyslexia expert, led the webinar. The focus of the webinar was to review the definition of dyslexia and to present the specific tests that should be used when conducting a comprehensive evaluation using the WJIV for identification of dyslexia. In some states children who qualify under the definition of dyslexia may be classified as SLD in basic reading skills, as in the state of New Jersey under NJ Administrative Code. The first step in assessment is to determine the development and acquisition of phoneme-grapheme relationships assess phonics and sight word reading, reading and spelling rates, and spelling. Dyslexia identification includes components of achievement, cognitive abilities and linguistic capabilities. These abilities are measured by tests included in the achievement, cognitive and oral language batteries. In the achievement battery recommended administration includes: Test 1- Letter-Word Identification, Test 3-Spelling, Test 7-Word Attack, Test 8-Oral Reading, Test 9-Sentence Reading Fluency, Test 15-Word Reading Fluency, and Test 16-Spelling of Sounds, not necessarily in that order. Tests from the cognitive battery include: Test 5-Phonological Processing, Test 12- Nonword Repetition, Test 4-Letter-Pattern Matching, Test 11-Number-Pattern Matching, Test 3-Verbal Attention, Test 10-Numbers Reversed, and Test 16-Object-Number Sequencing (Extended). Test 3-Segmentation, Tests 7-Sound Blending, Test 9-Sound Awareness, Test 5-Sentence Repetition, Test 18-Memory for Words, Test 4-Rapid Picture Naming, and Test 8-Retrieval Fluency are administered from the Oral Language battery.

Development and acquisition of reading comprehension, written expression, and vocabulary and knowledge are part of secondary testing. Dr. Mather indicated that children with dyslexia demonstrate a decline in academic knowledge and avoid reading. Weaknesses noted in speech sound processing, and automatic recall of spelling patterns, including blending and segmentation (phonological awareness) are related to speech/language impairments. Research has shown that high co-morbidity exists for children who are diagnosed with ADHD. According to Peterson & Pennington, 2012; Snowling & Hume, 2012, and Swanson, Trainin, Necoechea & Hammill, 2003, there has been an overemphasis of the phonological model. Dr. Mather explained that reading development can be impacted by multiple cognitive and linguistic abilities in addition to phonological processes. According to Dr. Mather, students with dyslexia will often show discrepancies between their level of reading and spelling development (lower scores) and their abilities on measures of oral language, knowledge, and reasoning (higher scores).