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Year 1's To Be Screened For Learning Difficulties

Fed Gov trial to start in 2018

Year 1's To Be Screened For Learning Difficulties

Australia's youngest students are set to be screened for early signs of learning difficulties, under a new Federal Government trial to begin in 2018.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham is set to announce the literacy and numeracy program, broadly based on a successful model used in the UK in 2012.

It won't be a test based on marks like NAPLAN which students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 currently complete, but it will work as a tool to help teachers pick out the students struggling with sounds, word and number patterns.

It is expected the screening will be rolled out at a number of schools and if successful, implemented nationwide.

Azza Brown from the Australian Psychological Society says examining a child's de-coding and recognition skills very early on can do a lot of good.

"A screener prior to their Year 3 NAPLAN test would be highly beneficial, especially to examine their reading skills. In most cases being a poor reader means you'll have poor spelling and writing skills aswell," she said.

"Picking up any reading difficulties early on can assist in their development throughout primary school so they don't fall under the radar."

In terms of intervention for parents who believe their youngsters are falling behind, Brown says it's about working out where the gaps are.

"Whether it's language or reading based issues, it is probably best to get external testing and be proactive."

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