If a teacher or parent suspects that a child has a Learning Disability--in this case, Dyslexia--a careful review of qualitative and quantitative data takes place to determine if the student shows characteristics of Dyslexia. If the data show characteristics of Dyslexia, the student is referred for a Full and Individual Initial Evaluation (or FIIE) is made through Special Education (or IDEA). Parents/guardians always have the right to request a referral for a Dyslexia evaluation at any time.
Data that may be collected during an evaluation include academic skills, cognitive processes, academic history, and language differences (as appropriate). Parent input is also crucial in providing any family history of Dyslexia and early literacy skill development. Specific areas include:
Students may also be identified as needing additional evaluation through the RtI process. Response to Intervention (RtI) is an approach that schools use to help all students, including struggling learners. The RtI approach gives students opportunities to learn and work at their grade level. The idea is to help all students be successful. However, progression through RtI is not required in order to begin the identification of Dyslexia.
If you have specific questions about requesting an evaluation for Dyslexia, please contact the Reading Interventionist at your child's current campus.
Part 2: Identification
When making an identification, data from the evaluation is used to answer these three questions:
If all three questions can be answered "YES", then an identification of Dyslexia has been made.
Part 3: Instruction
Once a student is identified as a student with Dyslexia, a Student Services Plan (504) or Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed by a committee to provide the best supports and instruction possible for that student. Click this link to learn more about the differences between the two plans: IEP and 504
Students will either need Standard Protocol Dyslexia Instruction, Specially Designed Instruction, or may not need direct instruction at all.
Standard Protocol Dyslexia Instruction includes the critical, evidence-based components of and delivery methods for dyslexia instruction addressed in detail in Chapter IV of The Texas Dyslexia Handbook, 2018 Update. Components of this instruction include phonological awareness, sound-symbol association, syllabication, orthography, morphology, syntax, reading comprehension, and reading fluency. Principles for effective delivery of content must be consistent with research-based practices, including a multisensory, systematic, cumulative, and explicit approach.
Specially Designed Instruction is defined under IDEA as “adapting . . . the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction” to a child eligible under IDEA. This instruction must address the unique needs of the child that result from the child’s disability and must ensure access to the general curriculum so that the child can meet the state’s educational standards (34 C.F.R §300.39(b)(3)). In some cases, the data may suggest that the unique needs of a student suspected of having dyslexia require a more individualized program than that offered through standard protocol dyslexia instruction. When this is the case, there is reason to suspect that special education services are necessary for the student.
All teachers--including reading specialist, master reading teachers, special education teachers, etc.--who provide Dyslexia intervention for students are not required to hold a specific license or certification. However, these educators must at a minimum have additional documented Dyslexia training aligned to 19 TAC 74.28 (c) and must deliver instruction with fidelity.
Part 4: Accommodation
Accommodations are an important tool used by both Section 504 and IDEA in providing equitable access to instruction that is commensurate to that of a student's non-impaired peers. They essentially "level the playing field", and prevent Dyslexia from interfering with a student's academic growth. Because each student's needs are different, not all accommodations work for everyone. It's important for the Committee to make data-driven decisions that align to a student's needs.
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