Dyslexia and Related Disorders
Framework (What’s Required):
To comply with TEC §7.028(b), TEC §38.003 and TAC §74.28 the HISD Board ensures that HISD has implemented procedures for assessing, identifying, and providing appropriate instructional services and accommodations for students with dyslexia and related disorders. TEC §38.003 requires that students enrolling in Texas public schools be tested for dyslexia and related disorders at the appropriate times and that each school district provides instruction for any student determined to have dyslexia or a related disorder.
Each school must provide access to the services of a teacher for their identified students. The teacher must be trained in dyslexia and related disorders.
Due-process procedures are available under the provisions of Section 504 Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA).
CHARACTERISTICS OF DYSLEXIA
As defined in TEC §38.003(d): "Dyslexia" means a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and socio-cultural opportunity. "Related disorders" includes disorders similar to or related to dyslexia such as developmental auditory imperceptions, dysphasia, specific developmental dyslexia, developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability.
Primary Reading/Spelling Characteristics of Dyslexia (The Dyslexia Handbook, Rev. 2021, p. 1):
- Difficulty reading words in isolation
- Difficulty accurately decoding unfamiliar words
- Difficulty with oral reading (slow, inaccurate, or labored)
- Difficulty with spelling
It is important to note that individuals demonstrate differences in degree of impairment and may not exhibit all the characteristics listed above.
The reading/spelling characteristics are most often the result of difficulty with the following:
- Segmenting, blending, and manipulating sounds in words (phonemic awareness)
- Learning the names of letters and their associated sounds
- Holding information about sounds and words in memory (phonological memory)
- Rapidly recalling the names of familiar objects, colors, or letters of the alphabet
Consequences of dyslexia may include the following:
- Variable difficulty with aspects of reading comprehension
- Variable difficulty with aspects of written language
- Limited vocabulary growth due to a reduced reading experience
These difficulties are unexpected for the student’s age and educational level and are not primarily the result of language difference factors. Additionally, there is often a family history of similar difficulties.
House Bill 3, passed by the 86th Legislature, requires each school district provide for the use of a phonics curriculum that uses systematic direct instruction in kindergarten through third grade to ensure all students obtain necessary early literacy skills as part of evidence-based, Tier 1, core reading instruction (TEA Dyslexia Handbook, 2021, p. 2).
It is essential that schools continue to monitor students for common risk factors for dyslexia in second grade and beyond. In accordance with TEC §38.003(a), school districts must evaluate for dyslexia at appropriate times. If regular progress monitoring reflects a difficulty with reading, decoding, and/or reading comprehension, it is appropriate to evaluate for dyslexia and/or other learning disabilities (TEA Dyslexia Handbook, 2021, p.19).
Texas state law requires districts and charter schools to identify students who have dyslexia and related disorders. Texas Education Code §38.003 identifies the following examples of related disorders: developmental auditory imperception, dysphasia, specific developmental dyslexia, developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability. (TEA Dyslexia Handbook, 2021, p. 60). Procedures for Dysgraphia can be found in the TEA Dyslexia Handbook on pages 60 – 73.
DYSLEXIA INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAMMING AND SERVICES
Texas Education Code §38.003(b) states, “in accordance with the program approved by the State Board of Education, the board of trustees of each school district shall provide for the treatment of any student determined to have dyslexia or a related disorder.”
Standard protocol dyslexia instruction (SPDI) provides evidence-based, multisensory structured literacy instruction for students with dyslexia. This instruction is designed for all students with dyslexia and will often take place in a small group setting. A standard protocol dyslexia instructional program must be explicit, systematic, and intentional in its approach. This instruction is designed for all students with dyslexia and will often take place in a small group setting. Standard protocol dyslexia instruction must be—
- evidence-based and effective for students with dyslexia;
- taught by an appropriately trained instructor; and
- implemented with fidelity.
Specially designed instruction must also address the critical, evidence-based components described in chapter 4 of the 2021 TEA Dyslexia Handbook (linked below). Specially designed instruction differs from standard protocol dyslexia instruction in that it offers a more individualized program specifically designed to meet a student’s unique needs.
Note that participation in standard protocol dyslexia instruction must be considered for all students, including those receiving dyslexia instruction under IDEA. Please note that the standard protocol includes diagnostic teaching to automaticity - “prescriptive or individualized teaching - the teaching plan is based on careful and [continual] assessment of the individual’s needs. The content presented must be mastered to the degree of automaticity”. (TEA Dyslexia Handbook, 2021, p.43).
Standard protocol dyslexia instruction could be part of the specially designed instruction and services provided to meet the student’s needs. A provider of dyslexia instruction does not have to be certified as a special educator when serving a student who also receives special education and related services if that provider is the most appropriate person to offer dyslexia instruction.
DYSLEXIA TEACHER REQUIREMENTS
According to the 2021 TEA Dyslexia Handbook 2021 p. 44:
“In order to provide effective intervention, school districts are encouraged to employ highly trained individuals to deliver dyslexia instruction. Teachers, such as reading specialists, master reading teachers, general education classroom teachers, or special education teachers, 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 the instruction with fidelity. This includes training in critical, evidence-based components of dyslexia instruction such as phonological awareness, sound-symbol association, syllabication, orthography, morphology, syntax, reading comprehension, and reading fluency. In addition, they must deliver multisensory instruction that simultaneously uses all learning pathways to the brain, is systematic and cumulative, is explicitly taught, uses diagnostic teaching to automaticity, and includes both analytic and synthetic approaches. See pages 39 – 41 for a description of these components of instruction and delivery. A provider of dyslexia instruction does not have to be certified as a special educator when serving a student who also receives special education and related services if that provider is the most appropriate person to offer dyslexia instruction.”
Timelines are outlined in the Individualized Education Program (IEP)
Methods (What We Do):
Effective dyslexia intervention requires highly structured and systematic delivery. It is critical that those who provide intervention for students with dyslexia be trained in the program used and that the program is implemented with fidelity. Currently, there are opportunities for training teachers in the district-approved dyslexia programs in English and Spanish. Please see the dyslexia office internal website (linked below) for the next training opportunity. The provision of dyslexia services should be included in the planning of courses in the school master schedule. All students are enrolled in the appropriate course as outlined in an Academic Service Memo each year (linked below). The course must be taught by a teacher trained in an approved dyslexia program. Campus level administrators are responsible for the implementation of dyslexia programming and its instructional components with fidelity. Our HISD standard is a minimum of 45-minute sessions 4 times per week. Dyslexia services on an elementary level should be provided in the form of pull-out instruction. Dyslexia services on a secondary level should be provided in a reading elective unless otherwise determined by the ARD Committee.
“English Learners (Els) receiving dyslexia services will have unique needs. Provision of dyslexia instruction should be in accordance with the program model the student is currently receiving (e.g., dual language, transitional bilingual, ESL). Interventionists working with ELs should have additional training on the specialized needs of ELs.” (TEA Dyslexia Handbook, 2021, p. 46). In Texas, school districts are required to implement the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) as an integral part of each subject area in the required curriculum (TAC §74.4(a)). Dyslexia instruction for ELs must incorporate the ELPS. Strategies are listed on p. 47 of the TEA Dyslexia Handbook 2021 (linked below).
Instructional decisions for a student with dyslexia must be made by an ARD committee that includes a required member that is knowledgeable about the instructional components and approaches for students with dyslexia. Placement decisions should be carefully considered by the ARD Committee, and there are a variety of ways to meet the needs of students with dyslexia. A provider of dyslexia instruction does not have to be certified as a special educator when serving a student who also receives special education and related services if that provider is the most appropriate person to offer dyslexia instruction. ARD Committee Chairpersons should refer to the “Services for Students with Dyslexia and Coding Instructional Arrangement” document that was linked to the March 18, 2022, FAQ in Appendix A Update to the TEA Dyslexia Handbook 2021, (linked below).
The ARD Committee Chairpersons should consider the Individualized Education Program for students with dyslexia who have been determined eligible for and who are receiving special education services, Data from dyslexia instruction should be included in the student’s Present Levels of Academic and Functional Performance (PLAAFP). Case managers should use this data to develop the support and accommodations as outlined in the dyslexia and dysgraphia, TEA IEP Guidance Document (linked below). Students with dyslexia require intervention in structured literacy as outlined in the TEA Dyslexia Handbook 2021 (linked below).
Reading goals can be aligned with dyslexia intervention and assessed during the intervention block for most students. Case managers and dyslexia interventionists should collaborate on designing and measuring progress of reading goals. It is not necessary to have additional reading resource minutes when reading goals can be measured and assessed during the intervention block.
Specially designed instruction differs from standard protocol dyslexia instruction in that it offers a more individualized program specifically designed to meet a student’s unique needs, but it must also address the critical, evidence-based components described in chapter 4 of the 2021 TEA Dyslexia Handbook (linked below). Note that participation in standard protocol dyslexia instruction must be considered for all students, including those receiving dyslexia instruction under IDEA. Standard protocol dyslexia instruction could be part of the specially designed instruction and services provided to meet the student’s needs.
Students are placed on dyslexia monitor status when a student shows mastery of a dyslexia program and an ARD committee decides that a student no longer needs dyslexia services. Dyslexia monitor status is determined through a review ARD committee meeting where data related to the mastery of the dyslexia program, reading fluency, and performance levels on district and state level assessments are considered. If it is determined that a student needs support for reading after the completion of a dyslexia program, the student may continue to receive services and support as determined by the ARD committee.
Students served through special education, including those whose ARD committees have determined that satisfactory performance on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end-of-course (EOC) assessment is not required to receive a high school diploma under 19 TAC §89.1070, are not excluded from the laws requiring Accelerated Instruction Texas Education Code (TEC) §28.0211 and §28.0217. Students with disabilities must meet the requirements of Supplemental Accelerated Instruction (SAI) unless the ARD committee specifically determines that some, or all, of the requirements for SAI would deny the student access to a free appropriate and public education (FAPE). Accelerated Instruction does not remove a student from dyslexia instruction, enrichment, and/or the foundational curriculum. However, there are ways to provide accelerated instruction through an exemplary teacher, tutoring programs, summer school, or embedded instruction as determined by the ARD Committee. (See resource below)
Decisions about which accommodations (see link below) to use are very individualized and should be made for each student by that student’s ARD committee. Students should play a significant role in choosing and using accommodations. When making decisions about accommodations, instruction is always the foremost priority. Some accommodations used in the classroom are designated supports (linked below) that are allowed during a state assessment. However, an educator’s ability to meet the individual needs of a student with dyslexia or provide support for the use of an accommodation should not be limited by whether an accommodation is allowable on a state assessment. Educators should also collect and analyze data pertaining to the use and effectiveness of accommodation determine if the accommodation becomes inappropriate or unnecessary over time due to the student’s changing needs. Likewise, data can confirm for the educator that the student still struggles in certain areas and should continue to use the accommodation.
Dysgraphia is considered a related disorder to dyslexia, and child find requirements are the same as dyslexia. Chapter 5 of the TEA Dyslexia Handbook (linked below) describes screening, evaluation, instruction, and accommodations for students with dysgraphia.
You can find periodic updates in the form of an appendix to the current dyslexia handbook on the TEA Website for guidance for Dyslexia and Related Disorders (linked below).
HISD Dyslexia Office website, Dyslexia Services Academic Memo, HISD Dyslexia Contacts, TEA Dyslexia Handbook 2021 & Appendices, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Dyscalculia in the TEA IEP Guidance Document, Service for Students with Dyslexia and Coding Instructional Arrangement, Dyslexia PEIMS Coding Overview, Designated Supports, Accommodations Central, and Intensive Program of Instruction (IPI) & Accelerated Instruction (AI) Resource.