Instructional Supports and Resources
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
Students identified as having dyslexia typically experience primary difficulties in phonological awareness, including phonemic awareness and manipulation, single-word reading, reading fluency, and spelling. Consequences may include difficulties in reading comprehension and/or written expression. These difficulties in phonological awareness 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.
The following are the primary reading/spelling characteristics of dyslexia:
- Difficulty reading words in isolation
- Difficulty accurately decoding unfamiliar words
- Difficulty with oral reading (slow, inaccurate, or labored)
- Difficulty spelling
The reading/spelling characteristics are most often associated 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 (rapid naming)
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 reduced reading experiences
Assessing for Dyslexia
The identification of reading disabilities, including dyslexia, will follow one of two procedures. A district will evaluate for dyslexia if a student is suspected of having a disability within the scope of IDEA 2004, all special education procedures must be followed. These procedural processes require coordination among the teacher, campus administrators, diagnosticians, and other professionals as appropriate when factors such as a student’s English language acquisition, previously identified disability, or other special needs are present.
Schools collect data on all students to ensure that instruction is appropriate and scientifically based. Essential components of reading instruction are defined in section 1208(3) of the ESEA/NCLB as “explicit and systematic instruction in (A) phonemic awareness; (B) phonics; (C) vocabulary development; (D) reading fluency, including oral reading skills; and (E) reading comprehension strategies.”
The identification of dyslexia is made by a special education referral, the admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee. In order to make an informed determination, the ARD committee must include members who are knowledgeable about the student being assessed, assessments used, and meaning of the collected data.
Additionally, the committee members must have knowledge regarding the reading process;
- dyslexia and related disorders;
- dyslexia instruction; and
- district or charter school, state, and federal guidelines for assessment.
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The guidelines and procedures adopted are designed to correlate to the identification and instruction of students with dyslexia and related disorders adopted by the State Board of Education in 1992 and most recently updated on February 10, 2022 mandated by the state of Texas and presented in The Dyslexia Handbook: Procedures Concerning Dyslexia and Related Disorders and Procedimientos sobre la dislexia y trastornos relacionados.