SAISD 504/Dyslexia Newsletter

December 2020

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Section 504 Explained

Section 504 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. It ensures that a student with a disability has equal access to an education and to benefits and services comparable to those given to peers without disabilities.

A child with a disability is one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities. Major life activities include: Caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.

504 plans are formal plans that schools develop to give kids with disabilities the support they need. That covers any disability that limits daily activities in a significant way. Accommodations don’t change what kids learn, just how they learn it. The plan is developed to remove barriers and give kids access to learning.

Accommodating Kids with Disabilities

In the United States, every child is guaranteed the right to a free public education from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Some of these kids will have disabilities - from asthma to ADD - who need certain accommodations made in their classrooms. For them, there's Section 504. Watch how Andrew is able to succeed in school once an appropriate 504 plan is put in place.

Note: A medical diagnosis is NOT required to begin a 504 referral.


Dyslexia is a language-based learning difference. It affects the organization in the brain that controls the ability to process the way language is heard, spoken, read, or spelled. Dyslexia can also manifest in difficulties with working memory, attention, and organization. Dyslexia can be genetic, and ranges on a continuum of mild to severe. It is important to keep in mind that people with dyslexia are not lacking in motivation or intelligence. In fact, they are typically average to above average in intelligence. Furthermore, dyslexia is fairly common.


Characteristics of Dyslexia

Useful Resource

Immersive Reader

Immersive Reader is a free tool that uses proven techniques to improve reading for people regardless of their age or ability.

Special Features includes:

  • reads any web page out loud
  • ability to change the font, spacing, text size, and background color
  • able to break words into syllables
  • can identify parts of speech (noun, verb, adjective, and adverb)
  • picture dictionary to help with vocabulary
  • able to translate into many different languages
Immersive Reader Extension

Dyslexia Success Stories

Anderson Cooper

The famous journalist opens up about his early difficulties learning to read and the ways he tried to hide it from others. Now he recognizes the importance of early diagnosis and intervention to making a difference to those with dyslexia.

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Famous Dyslexics

Patricia Polacco

Throughout her school years, Patricia Polacco struggled with reading. Far behind her fellow classmates, she was teased enough to believe that she was just dumb. It wasn't until Polacco was 14 that a special high school teacher recognized her dyslexia. Once she received additional help, Polacco learned to read well and caught up with her peers. Her ability as an artist, however, had never been in question. Fellow classmates had always been impressed by her drawings.

Patricia Polacco is now the author and illustrator of many charming picture books. Not surprisingly, her stories often involve meaningful interactions between young and old people as well as an intermingling of different cultures. She has written and illustrated Thunder Cake, The Keeping Quilt, Chicken Sunday, and many other favorites. Her book, Thank you, Mr. Falker, tells her personal story of difficulties learning to read.


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