A 6th grade student takes notes during an English class.

A 6th grade student takes notes during an English class.

Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities, affecting up to 17 percent of the population, who have difficulty reading, writing and spelling. Recognizing dyslexia in students who are just learning to read can be difficult, but once the disorder is identified, it can be addressed through special education. The earlier, the better.

A recent investigation by American Public Media reveals that “across the country, public schools are denying children proper treatment and often failing to identify them with dyslexia in the first place.”

The APM findings also show that the way schools handle recognizing and educating students with dyslexia could have implications for how all children are taught to read. We look at how one special needs population affects early childhood education and literacy rates across the board.


  • Emily Hanford Senior education correspondent for APM Reports, the documentary and investigative journalism group at American Public Media.
  • Kimberly Richey Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.
  • Dr. Sally Shaywitz The Audrey G. Ratner Professor in Learning Development at Yale University; Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity; Author of “Overcoming Dyslexia"
  • Gayle Long Mother of a student with Dyslexia.
  • Kristin Long Student with Dyslexia.

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