What is dyslexia?
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 experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. -Adopted by the International Dyslexia Association Board of Directors, Nov. 12, 2002

What possible difficulties associated with dyslexia might my child experience?
The primary difficulties encountered by a student identified as having dyslexia occur in the areas of phonemic awareness, decoding, reading fluency, and spelling. Secondary consequences of dyslexia may include difficulties in reading comprehension and/or written expression. These difficulties are unexpected for the student's age, educational level, or cognitive abilities.

The following are the primary characteristics of dyslexia:

  • Difficulty reading real words in isolation
  • Difficulty decoding nonsense words
  • Slow, inaccurate, or labored oral reading (lack of reading fluency)
  • Difficulty with written spelling

Secondary consequences of dyslexia may include the following:

  • Variable difficulty with aspects of reading comprehension
  • Variable difficulty with aspects of written composition
  • A limited amount of time spent in reading activities
What common evidence is associated with dyslexia?
The following may be associated with dyslexia if they are unexpected for the individual's age, educational level, or cognitive abilities.

Delay in learning to talk
Difficulty pronouncing words (i.e. "mawn lower" for "lawn mower")
Difficulty with rhyming tasks
Poor auditory memory for chants and nursery rhymes
Difficulty in adding new vocabulary words
Trouble learning and naming letters and numbers, including remembering letters in his/her name

Kindergarten and First Grade
Difficulty breaking words into smaller parts, syllables (i.e. "baseball" can be broken apart into "base" and "ball"
Difficulty identifying and manipulating sounds in syllables (i.e. "cat" sounded out as /c/ /a/ /t)
Difficulty remembering the names of letters and their sounds
Difficulty decoding singe words
Difficulty spelling words the way the sound (phonetically)

Second Grade and Third Grade
Many of the previously described behaviors remain problematic along with the following:

Difficulty recognizing common sight words
Difficulty decoding single words
Difficulty remembering the correct sounds for letters and letter patterns in reading
Difficulty decoding unfamiliar words in sentences using knowledge of phonics
Difficulty reading fluently (i.e. slow, inaccurate, and/or without expression)
Difficulty connecting speech sounds with appropriate letter or letter combinations
Difficulty with written expression

Fourth Grade and Beyond
Many of the previously described behaviors remain problematic along with the following:

Difficulty reading aloud
Avoidance of reading (i.e. particularly for pleasure)
Acquistion of less vocabulary due to reduced independent reading
Use of less complicated words in writing that are easier to spell
Reliance on listening rather than reading for comprehension
Difficulty with the volume of reading and written work
Difficulty learning a foreign language

What should I do if I suspect that my child is dyslexic?
Discuss your concerns with your child's school. TEC §28.006 requires school districts to administer a reading instrument at the kindergarten, first, and second grade levels to monitor for students who might be at-risk for dyslexia and other reading difficulties. Parents/guardians of students who are at-risk for reading difficulties, will be notified.

What is the assessment process in LISD?
As a Tier 4 intervention, an evaluation for dyslexia will be administered at the recommendation of the school's Response to Intervention (RtI) team. Ideally, prior to an evaluation, there should be documentation that the student has received Tier 3 interventions, with insufficient response to those interventions. These interventions must be specific to the particular area of weakness, designated to measure progress, and must be in place for a reasonable amount of time.
  1. The RtI committee recommends assessment for dyslexia if the student demonstrates the following (see The Dyslexia Handbook Revised 2014, pg. 16):
  • Poor performance in one or more areas of reading and/or related area of spelling that is unexpected for the student's age/grade;
  • Characteristics and risk factors of dyslexia (see Chapter 1: Definitions and Characteristics of Dyslexia, pgs. 8-12).
Who ultimately identifies my child as dyslexic and makes placement decisions?
The identification of dyslexia must be made by the campus §504 committee of knowledgeable persons. The team must be knowledgeable about the student being assessed, reading, dyslexia and related disorders, dyslexia instruction, district, state, and federal guidelines for assessment, the assessments that were used, and the meaning of the data collected. Parents or guardians of the student are part of the process.

If a student is covered by IDEA, the placement decision would be made by the student's admission, review and dismissal (ARD) committee.

Can I bring an assessment from a private evaluator or source?
Yes, a parent or guardian may choose to have his/her child assessed by a private evaluator. In order for the assessment to be valid, the assessment must comply with the requirements set forth in §504 and the guidelines outlined in The Dyslexia Handbook: Procedures Concerning Dyslexia and Related Disorders (Texas Education Agency, Revised 2014). The §504 committee will consider the information provided by the parent or guardian when interpreting evaluation data and making placement decisions. However, the §504 committee will determine whether the student is eligible for services for dyslexia and/or related disorders. While an outside evaluation may be brought to the §504 committee and must be reviewed, it is part of the evaluation data but does not, independently create eligibility. Instead, the §504 committee determines eligibility based on a review "of data from a variety of sources" (34 C.F.R. §104.35(c)(1).

What happens after my child is assessed?
You will be invited to a §504 meeting. At this §504 meeting, the committee will review all educational data including the standardized testing results from the formal dyslexia evaluation. Based on the data, the §504 committee must determine if your child is dyslexic based on district and state guidelines. If the student has dyslexia, the committee also determines whether the student has a disability under §504.