Dyslexia Services

Overview

The Leander ISD dyslexia program is designed to provide a short-term, intensive reading intervention for children who qualify for services, based upon district and state qualification criteria. Services are offered to qualifying students in grades K-12. Students are instructed using systematic, sequential, multi-sensory instruction in a small group setting. The goal of these services is to provide students with the tools needed to access the general education curriculum.

Assessment

When a student exhibits poor reading performance or does not respond to scientifically based reading instruction, the student should receive accelerated, intensive instruction.If the student does not make adequate reading progress and exhibits characteristics of dyslexia after being provided with intensive interventions, the campus Response to Intervention (RtI) team can make a recommendation for a formal dyslexia assessment.The recommendation should be based on procedures as outlined inThe Dyslexia Handbook  Revised 2014, published by the Texas Education Agency.

  • The general education dyslexia program provides intensive intervention to students who exhibit characteristics of dyslexia, based upon district and state qualification criteria.
  • In Leander ISD’s Response to Intervention (RtI) model, dyslexia is considered a “Tier 4” intervention.
  • Dyslexia services are provided at the elementary and secondary levels. Typically, elementary students receive services four days per week, for approximately 45 minutes per day, and secondary students receive services two days per week, for approximately 45 minutes per day.
  • The district dyslexia curriculum is standardized to ensure fidelity across campuses. Elementary campuses useBasic Language Skills, withEsperanzaused for our bilingual students. Secondary campuses useMultisensory Reading and Spelling, or in some instances,Basic Language Skills.Based on student’s needs, our dyslexia teachers might supplement instruction with components from other research-based programs.
  • Ongoing progress monitoring is administered to ensure the program is successfully addressing each student’s individual challenges.

Evaluation Process

The campus RtI committee shall recommend that a student be assessed for dyslexia at appropriate times (TEC §38.003(a)). The appropriate time depends upon multiple factors including the student’s reading performance, reading difficulties, poor response to supplemental, scientifically based reading instruction, teacher input, and input from the parents/guardians.

  • The campus RtI committee shall recommend an assessment for dyslexia if the student demonstrates the following (see The Dyslexia Handbook, Revised 2014, page 16):
  1. Poor performance in one or more areas of reading and/or related area of spelling that is unexpected for the student’s age/grade;
  2. Characteristics and risk factors of dyslexia (see The Dyslexia Handbook, Revised 2014, pages 8-9).
  • Once all cumulative data regarding the student’s academic history is gathered and reviewed, a formal assessment for dyslexia might be recommended. A formal assessment for dyslexia includes both formal and informal data. All data will be used by the §504 committee to determine whether the student demonstrates a pattern of evidence of dyslexia. The evaluation process as outlined in §504 will be followed (see The Dyslexia Handbook Revised 2014, page 18):
  1. Notify parents or guardians of proposal to assess student for dyslexia (§504);
  2. Inform parents or guardians of their rights under §504;
  3. Obtain permission from the parent or guardian to assess the student for dyslexia;
  4. Assess student, being sure that the individuals/professionals who administer assessments have training in the evaluation of students for dyslexia and related disorders (19 TAC §74.28).
  • When the permission paperwork is returned by the parent or guardian, the dyslexia specialist will begin the testing process as soon as it can be scheduled. Students are typically tested in the order in which the paperwork is received. Dyslexia testing will follow the same time line as SPED, 45 school days to test and 30 calendar days to hold the parent meeting.
  • After the student’s case has been reviewed by the Dyslexia Assessment Team, the dyslexia specialist will contact the campus RtI and §504 coordinators to inform them that testing is complete. The campus §504 coordinator will schedule the §504 meeting with the student’s parents, classroom teacher(s), dyslexia specialist, and any other committee members, as necessary.
  • At the §504 meeting, all formal and informal data will be reviewed to make the determination of dyslexia. Upon completion of the §504 evaluation, the §504 committee will determine whether or not the student has dyslexia. If the student has dyslexia, then the committee determines whether or not the student has a disability under §504. If the student does not exhibit characteristics of dyslexia, the dyslexia teacher will share the formal testing data with the RtI committee for possible recommendations (see The Dyslexia Handbook Revised 2014, page 23).

*Special Education (SPED) can assess students for dyslexia. Federal IDEA 2004 regulations related to assessment (34 CFR 300.304 (c)(4)) indicate that a student should be assessed in all areas related to the suspected disability. In the case of student referred for a disability in reading, dyslexia is a related area. If a student is assessed by SPED, all SPED guidelines and procedures must be followed.

Discontinuation of Dyslexia Services

The discontinuation of direct dyslexia services is determined by the campus §504 committee.The §504 committee considers the following factors to determine when a child exits from direct, dyslexia intervention:

  • completion of dyslexia curriculum;
  • student demonstrating proficiency on grade level material;
  • meeting standard on state assessments;
  • recommendation by the dyslexia therapist; and/or
  • lack of appropriate progress within the dyslexia curriculum.

If a student is served by special education, IDEA 2004 procedures must be followed.

Summer Reading Support

As a parent, you play a critical role in your child’s education during the summer– especially if your child has dyslexia. Without your help, kids are more likely to forget what they learned last year. A recent study estimates that summer loss for all students equals about a month of academic learning. Most likely, children with learning disabilities need even more reinforcement. Help them remember what they learned in school. That way they can start next year caught up or ahead of the other students in their class. Bring out their natural love of learning. And encourage them to read for pleasure without the pressure they experience in the classroom.

Here are some summer strategies to help your child with dyslexia remember what they learned in school and see that reading can be useful and enjoyable:

* Give them material that motivates them to read, even though they might find it hard to do. Try comic books, directions for interesting projects, and mystery stories. Have them read information on possible activities as you plan your summer vacation. Let them decide what they want to read.

* Support them as they read. Read their book aloud to them, help them decode, and make it easy for them to get the meaning. Even if a question is asked again and again or if you feel irritated, act happy that they asked. Show them that reading is a way to find out what they need to know, or even to entertain themselves.

* Give them easy reading. Summer is supposed to be relaxed. Let them succeed and get absorbed in the book.

* When you read with them, make it your goal to enjoy the book together. You don’t have to make them read perfectly! Avoid too much correction. In school next year, the teacher will help them improve their skills.

* Let younger children “pretend” to read. Read the story aloud together. Let them follow your voice. Have them look at the words as you point to them, even if they aren’t actually reading. When they say the wrong word, say the word correctly and cheerfully while pointing to the word.

* Read aloud to them as you do daily chores, sightsee, or sit on the beach. Read an instruction manual with them as you try to fix something. While visiting a museum, read the interpretive materials. If you see the slightest sign they want to read aloud to you, let them!

* Model and teach persistence. When you are working on something that is hard, model the discipline and patience that you want them to show while learning to read. Teach them explicitly the value of working hard to do something challenging. Tell them inspirational stories about famous people — or members of your own family — who have overcome obstacles.

* Accommodate their dyslexia. For example, if they have to read aloud in public, have them memorize their passage ahead of time. Ask the teacher or camp counselor to request volunteers to read rather than pass the book from one person to another. If you give them a recipe for cooking (or any project involving written directions), be sure that it is at their reading level and that the print is large enough for them.

* Use technology. If you have a computer, equip it with software that reads aloud. See Reading Software; Finding the Right Program. Let them load books into their electronic devices and listen to them at the same time as they read the printed book in their hands. Take a look at On the Go: What Consumer Devices Can do For You.

* Use audio books.

* Be a model of reading. Bring books to the beach and read them. If you are traveling, find a book for the whole family to read and discuss. If you are dyslexic, “read” your taped books on vacation, letting your child see you or give them their own tapes. Show and tell them how you overcome your own difficulties.

* Have reading matter conveniently available. You might carry small children’s books and magazines with you and have them ready when you must wait in line for those crowded amusement park rides and popular sightseeing destinations.

The summer months are important to your child’s academic development in two ways. First, they need to be reminded of what they learned during the school year so that they remember it when they return in the fall. Second, and perhaps more important, children with dyslexia can discover the joys of reading and other academic skills in the relaxed summer season. If nobody tells them they have to read to get good grades, they might just pick up a book and enjoy it.

–These tips were written exclusively for LD OnLine by Dale S. Brown, Senior Manager, LD OnLine. She is a nationally recognized expert on learning disabilities who has written four books on the subject. She received the Ten Outstanding Young Americans Award for her work as an advocate.

Dyslexia FAQ

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.

Pre-school 

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)
Acquisition 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.

Updated on October 8, 2018

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