Concluding final testing rounds in Swedish primary schools earlier this year, Optolexia recently broke the secrecy surrounding their ground-breaking method for the early identification of dyslexia. The company is now setting up for global delivery of that highly valued prerequisite for early intervention – a swift, accurate and cost-effective screening process for primary schools.
“Our vision is to help as many children as possible to make the most of their education and future careers, so quite naturally we have a global scope,” says Fredrik Wetterhall, CEO. “As the UK already has a relatively high public awareness of dyslexia, we’re working hard to be ready to assist UK primary schools by the first half of 2017.”
Using unique data derived from comprehensive academic research, founders Mattias Nilsson Benfatto and Gustaf Öqvist Sejmyr were able to combine eye-tracking technology and analytics based on machine learning and artificial intelligence into a highly efficient and accurate service that requires fewer school resources than traditional screening methods.
The process involves on-site screening by Optolexia staff, in which each pupil reads a short text on a computer screen. The task is easy and comfortable for young children to perform, and takes less than two minutes.
While the pupil reads, an eye-tracking device records eye movement patterns, which are then run through an advanced analytical model trained to distinguish between individuals who are at risk and those who are not. After analysis, individual results as well as group statistics are then made available to the school via a user-friendly interface.
This approach has proved to deliver faster results more objectively and with greater accuracy than traditional screening methods. The individual results enable teachers and administrators to decide on further diagnostic or supportive measures with greater confidence. A further benefit of this computerized recording approach is that it provides group statistics on overall reading abilities – at the classroom level, school level or beyond.
“One might make subjective judgments up to a certain level, but then you really need to know,” says Lena Funseth Norberg, head of the Allsta school in Sundsvall, Sweden. “Optolexia provided a second opinion on which children were at risk of dyslexia and needed support. It added greater certainty and made for safer decisions on our part. The screening results enable special educators and teachers to prioritise children at risk.”
Optolexia offers a new screening method to identify children at risk of dyslexia already in the first years of primary school. Our method makes for confident decisions on whether an individual needs supplementary support, and if further investigation is necessary. This optimizes use of school resources to the benefit of students, staff and community.