DYSLEXIA AND RELATED DISORDERS

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

   

As part of the education reform legislation, a law regarding dyslexia and related disorders was passed during 1985. The law was felt to be necessary out of consideration for children who experience considerable difficulty in learning to read. As a follow up to this legislation (T.E.C. 21.924), the state Board of Education adopted specific Procedures Concerning Dyslexia in March 1990.

DEFINITION OF DYSLEXIA AND RELATED DISORDERS

As defined in T.E.C. 21.924 & Senate Bill1, Sec. 38.003 (d) (l), dyslexia means a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, socio-cultural and educational opportunity.

Related disorders include disorders similar to or related to dyslexia such as developmental auditory imperceptions, dysphasia, specific developmental dyslexia, developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability. (See Glossary)

Many of these characteristics are found in young children with other specific learning disabilities or with speech and spoken language disorders. These characteristics may also be present in many young children during the course of their normal development.

The International Dyslexia Association's definition of dyslexia is as follows:

 "Dyslexia is one of several distinct learning disabilities. It is a specific language-based disorder of constitutional origin characterized by difficulties in single-word decoding, usually reflecting insufficient phonological processing.  These difficulties in single-word decoding are often unexpected in relation to age and other cognitive and academic abilities; they are not the result of generalized developmental disability or sensory impairment.  Dyslexia is manifested by variable difficulty with different forms of language, often including, in addition to problems with reading, a conspicuous problem with acquiring proficiency in writing and spelling."  (Working definition of dyslexia approved by the International Dyslexia Association Research Committee, April, 1994, in collaboration with individuals from the National Center for Learning Disabilities and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.)

CHARACTERISTICS

Many of the characteristics associated with dyslexia also are found in children with other specific learning disabilities or with speech/spoken language disorders.  Some of the characteristics also may be present in some young children in the course of normal development.  However, when these characteristics are not age-appropriate and interfere with learning, they may be symptoms of a language or learning disorder, including dyslexia, and the child may need special assistance in academic or related areas.

Characteristics include, but are not limited to the following:

difficulty with the development of phonological awareness and phonological processing skills (processing the sounds of speech), including segmenting or breaking spoken words into individual sounds;
difficulty accurately decoding nonsense or unfamiliar words
difficulty reading single words in isolation
inaccurate and labored oral reading;
lack of reading fluency;
variable degrees of difficulty with reading comprehension;
variable degrees of difficulty learning the names of letters and their associated sound;
difficulty learning to spell;
difficulty in word finding and rapid naming;
variable difficulty with aspect of written composition;
difficulty with learning and reproducing the alphabet in correct sequence (in either oral or written form0:
family history or similar problems.

The difficulty of the child identified as having dyslexia is in reading, single-word decoding, reading fluency, reading comprehension, written composition, and spelling.  The problems of the child with a learning disorder may include these difficulties that do not necessarily pertain to reading exclusively.

IDENTIFICATION

In keeping with the legal requirements, the district uses the following identification criteria as required by the state. This document describes the procedural requirements of the state in the left column. The right column describes district procedures.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW:

PHASE I Identification State

PHASE II Remediation Stage: Minor problems which may become severe if not addressed (about one semester below grade-level)

PHASE II Placement in an instructional program for dyslexic students who are not special education students

PHASE IV Placement in a special education program for dyslexic students

 

GLOSSARY

 

DEVELOPMENT AUDITORY IMPERCEPTIONS: difficulties in using what is heard. The student might have difficulty with auditory processing, auditory discrimination, and/or learning sound-symbol association.

DYSPHASIA: severe difficulty with expressive and receptive oral language

DEVELOPMENTAL DYSGRAPHIA: difficulty with ability to learn spelling. Not a valid diagnosis until the student has had instruction of the appropriate level. Not the same as invented spelling which is a step in learning to write and spell.

SPECIFIC DEVELOPMENTAL DYSLEXIA: difficulties with all areas of language use.

ASSESSMENT AND TREATMENT

As stated in the Texas Education Code 38.003 (a) and (b)

(a) Students enrolling in public schools in this state shall be tested for dyslexia and related disorders at appropriate times in accordance with a program approved by the State Board of Education.
(b) 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.

TEACHER TRAINING

Designated personnel from each campus who are responsible for working with the dyslexia program receive training in instructional strategies which utilize individualized, intensive, multisenory methods; contain writing and spelling components; and include the following descriptors:

Graphophonemic knowledge
Individualized
Linguistic
Meaning based
Process oriented
Language structure
Explicit direct instruction: instruction which is systematic (structured), sequential, and cumulative, and is organized and presented in a way that follows a logical sequential plan and fits the nature of language (alphabetic principle), with no assumption of prior skills or language knowledge.

Reading teachers and campus administrators in the district receive staff development in recognizing problems that readers experience, with a focus on dyslexia.  The training, which offers teachers various accommodation strategies to facilitate instruction of those children exhibiting characteristics or traits of dyslexia, is provided by the district dyslexia disignee.  In addition, each campus dyslexia designee shares materials received at workshops or seminars to make certain all teachers are aware of leading current practices.

TEA Requirements -- Data Gathering

PHASE I

Data available during PHASE I of the screening and treatment program for dyslexic students include the results of the following that are gathered as appropriate:

Vision screening
Hearing screening
Speech and language screening through a referral process
Academic progress reports
Teacher reports of aptitude, behavior, and problems
Parent conferences
TAAS scores
Results of basal reading series assessment
Mental Maturity testing

Arp ISD provides opportunities for early screening of students in grades K-1.  These include review of the results of campus administered assessments such a as the ABC Inventory, Literacy Awareness, and Texas Primary Reading Inventory Revised.  These assessment are administered on a regularly scheduled basis by the campus.

If problems in academic achievement have been noted through academic progress reports, parent conferences, or inadequate performance on assessments instruments, the teacher should further consider students in the light of the characteristics of dyslexia and complete a Dyslexia Checklist (Page 1 & Page 2).  Parents should complete a Parent Interview Form to provide additional information about the child.  These students should be referred to the campus dyslexia designee (Referral Form) for consideration and, the district will evaluate the student's academic progress to determine the actions needed to ensure improved academic performance.

Referral for testing through special education may be appropriate at this time. However, needed support actions may also include, but not be limited to, obtaining vision or hearing correction, rearrangement of class assignments, supportive counseling, tutoring, speech therapy, or other appropriate program modifications. At any time that a student does not make expected progress, actions in PHASE II should be instituted.

 

ARP ISD Procedures -- Data Gathering

PHASE I

Data listed in PHASE I are collected beginning the first two weeks of each new school year for all students.

State test scores and achievement test scores are analyzed for all students as available. In addition, continuous screening for students 2-12 will take place as students may exhibit difficulty in reading or related disorders at any time during their academic careers.

The Diagnostic instruments include:

(a) basal reader placement tests

(b) diagnostic tests from the adopted speller

(c) holistic writing samples

(d) district criterion referenced tests

(e) classroom performance

CONTINUOUS SCREENING

Under the leadership of the trained teachers, data are collected and used for diagnostic programs. Data will be updated at the end of each six weeks grading period as well as at the end of the year. Remedial plans will be developed for students who are not making expected progress. Expected progress means the progress the teacher would expect based on her observation of the student and consideration of all available testing data.

Services provided may include one or more of the programs strategies listed in PHASE II.

Specific ARP ISD procedures for PHASE I would include:

Classroom teacher & parent gather information
Parent provides any available information from outside agencies
Teacher completes the checklist(s) for Dyslexia/Other Related Disorders
Teacher requests a review by the STAR Committee.

When a student is initially identified as having characteristics associated with dyslexia, the student should be referred for consideration by the campus referral team (STAR Committee).  Parents, teachers or administrators may refer students for dyslexia screening.  A Parent Permission Form must be completed at the time of referral.  Students transferring from other school districts, who have a history of service from a dyslexia program will be served by the AISD dyslexia program on a probationary basis pending review of the records.

TEA Requirements -- Remedial Programs

PHASE II

From the information obtained in PHASE I, it may be determined that specific remedial program is needed. Assessment procedures prior to the development of appropriate remedial instruction may include:

tests to determine basic reading, reading comprehension, writing, and spelling competency, and specific related problems
an informal reading inventory to identify specific problems related to reading.

The student will be placed in an appropriate remedial or compensatory program. If a student does not make appropriate progress in PHASE II, referral may be made for services in PHASE III remedial program. Some students have such obvious needs that immediate movement to PHASE III or PHASE IV may be called for.

All remedial and compensatory teachers should have instruction in strategies which may be used with students who demonstrate some characteristics of dyslexia.

 

ARP ISD Procedures - Classroom Modification/Remedial Programs

PHASE II

PHASE II is aimed at students having minor problems or involvement which may become severe if not addressed.

The option of classroom modifications should be the first consideration. Modifications are listed in the as an addendum to this program description.

Documentation should be presented to the STAR Committee ensuring that sufficient classroom modifications have been tried before pursuing any other services. Even when other options are considered, classroom modifications should be addressed by the committee.

Additional assessment may be administered to determine the need for special programs.  Notice of proposal to identify the child must be issued in accordance with federal regulations.  Written consent by the parent/guardian must be obtained prior to evaluation.  The determination entails are review of all accumulated data and will be determined by:

the student's exhibiting characteristics associated with dyslexia
the student's unexpected lack of appropriate academic progress
the student's having adequate intelligence (95+), the ability to learn
the student's receiving conventional regular and remedial instruction
the student's lack of progress not being due to sociocultural factors such as language differences, inconsistent attendance, and lack of experiential background.

The campus dyslexia designee will assure that the Characteristics of Dyslexia Form  is completed and that screening addresses the following areas:

Phonological Awareness
Word Analysis
Word Recognition
Oral Reading
Reading Comprehension
Spelling
Intelligence

After reviewing all screening data the campus dyslexia team shall determine eligibility and placement.  The designee will notify parent/guardian of placement decision. 

Based on procedures outlined, the trained teacher refers these students in one or more of the following instructional settings based upon need and campus availability.

Basic Classes (Secondary)

ESL Program

Title I Reading

Counseling Program

Instructional Modifications

Local/State Adopted Phonics Program (grades 1,2,3)

Multi-Sensory Approach to Language Arts

Tutoring

Reading Clinic

All of the programs above stress muti-sensory techniques which benefit all students with remedial needs.

Some students have needs which will require immediate movement to PHASE III or PHASE IV. The following determinations are required prior to PHASE III or PHASE IV actions:

  1. Sufficient documentation has been presented indicating that classroom modifications have been implemented
  2. A reasonable period of time has been allowed for classroom modifications to address the problem.

3. The student is average or above in ability. This determination should be based on evidence from one of the following measures: a. DCAT or similar group ability test score in the 50th percentile or above b. Group I.Q. score of 90 or above c. Any other test data available that would indicate average ability.

4. Seven out of eleven characteristics checked on the Dyslexia checklist.

In determining the need for PHASE III or PHASE IV actions the committee will consider the results of prior committee recommendations and outside medical evaluations that support a diagnosis of dyslexia will be considered. In these instances, a second meeting of the committee will be held to review the results of prior committee recommendations.

All available services should be considered before a referral to Special Education is made. However, students with severe deficiencies that extend beyond the reading, language arts areas may be referred directly to Special Education when deemed appropriate by the committee. As in all referrals to Special Ed., the committee must determine that all appropriate remediations in a less restrictive environment have been implemented to address the student's needs.

Students receiving classroom modifications who are not demonstrating acceptable academic progress and who have met all required determinations outlined in PHASE II may be referred to Special Ed. for comprehensive evaluation.

TEA Requirement -- Identification of an Instructional Program for Dyslexic Students

PHASE III

When it has been determined that a student who has been identified as having primary difficulties in reading, writing, spelling, and/or math is not progressing academically in the remedial programs of the school district and all other causes have been eliminated, continued evaluation must consider the student's identification as being dyslexic or having a related disorder. Notice of the proposal to identify the child must be issued in accordance with federal regulations. In accordance with federal regulations, all accumulated data will be reviewed and there will be consideration of the possible constitutional origin of the problem/problems.

Students identified as dyslexic will meet all of the following criteria:

  1. The student exhibits characteristics associated with dyslexia.
  2. The student has not made appropriate academic progress.
  3. The student has adequate intelligence.
  4. The student has received conventional regular and remedial instruction.
  5. The student's lack of progress is not due to socio-cultural factors such as language differences, inconsistent attendance, and lack of experiential background; and
  6. The student's lack of progress has a constitutional origin, in other words, has an inborn developmental basis.

Instructional strategies for PHASE III students should utilize methods which are individualized, multisensory, intensive phonetic, synthetic phonetic, linguistic, meaning based, systematic, process-oriented, sequential, and cumulative.

Once the identification of dyslexia or a related disorder has been made, the school district shall provide for the treatment of a student so identified. This treatment should be individualized.

 

ARP ISD--Identification of an Instructional Program for Dyslexic Students

PHASE III

If after regular district remediation, a student continues to perform below capabilities, a mild learning disorder, not severe enough to indicate PHASE IV placement, may be suspected.

The campus level STAR Committee will take the following steps for the identification of students for placement in an instructional program for dyslexic students:

  1. Review formal and informal testing and observations from teachers to determine the presence of characteristics associated with dyslexia or dyslexia related disorders. These disorders include developmental auditory imperceptions, dysphasia, developmental dysgraphic, developmental spelling disability, and specific developmental dyslexia;
  2. Continue the review to determine that the student is not making appropriate progress after regular and remedial instruction;
  3. Consider and eliminate, as consistent with the facts, all socio-cultural factors such as language difference, inconsistent attendance, and lack of experiential background.
  4. At this point the committee will conclude that the student's lack of progress has a constitutional origin qualifying the student for PHASE III placement in an instructional setting for dyslexic students. The student is placed in an instructional arrangement with a teacher trained in a multisensory approach to learning.

5. Students who receive a diagnosis of "dyslexia" from an outside agency or professional will be referred immediately to the campus STAR Committee. This committee will apply the state/district criteria to the report and determine eligibility.

ARP ISD--Identification of an Instructional Program for Dyslexic Students

PHASE III

1. following:

a. Limited English Proficiency

b. Excessive absenteeism (as defined by state law)

c. Limiting health factors, such as vision, hearing, neurological, or other health problems.

d. Lack of experiential background

e. Lack of opportunity to learn in the regular school setting

f. Emotional problems which interfere with learning.

2. Students deemed ineligible for Special Education services or who have been determined by the STAR Committee as exhibiting characteristics of dyslexia, and who meet all requirements outlined in Phase II, may be recommended to receive Phase III services through the Reading Clinic. Students in this program will receive instruction for approximately 45 minutes each day from a teacher trained in the Herman method remediating students exhibiting characteristics of dyslexia.

 

TEA Requirements

Phase IV

Referral to Special Education

There will be some students with severe dyslexia or related disorders who will be unable to make adequate academic progress with any of the programs. In such cases referral to Special Education for a comprehensive assessment and possible identification as handicapped should be made as needed.

ARP ISD Procedures

Phase IV

Referral to Special Education

All remediations should be explored before a referral to Special Education is made. However, students with severe deficiencies that extend beyond the reading, language arts areas may be referred directly to Special Education when deemed appropriate by the committee. As in all referrals to Special Education, the committee must determine that all remediations in a less restrictive environment have been implemented to address the student's needs.

Students receiving classroom modifications who are not demonstrating acceptable academic progress and who have met all considerations outlined in Phase II may be referred to Special Education for comprehensive evaluation.

Students may be identified as learning disabled if their dyslexia is so severe that they meet the eligibility criteria established in State Board of Education Rules. Students identified as "educationally handicapped" will receive an appropriate program of instruction as determined by an Admission, Review and Dismissal Committee (ARD). Programming will be set forth in an Individual Education Plan (IEP).

Learning disabled students supported by special education may require remedial and/or compensatory skill development in the areas of reading, writing or mathematics. A wide range of instruction programs or methodologies may be employed by special education professionals. These may include the use of specialized basal reading programs, multisensory materials and strategies, cueing systems, computer supported instructional approaches, or other programs or materials which may facilitate learning. At the direction of the ARD, modifications and accommodations may be made within the regular classroom. These may include a change in the content of the course and/or a change in the level of mastery which is required for success.

This process will be consistent with federal and state mandates governing the of a "free appropriate education for handicapped student."

EXIT FROM DYSLEXIA PROGRAM

When a student in the dyslexia program has made expected academic progress, the dyslexia teacher may recommend that the child exit the program.  The teacher takes this recommendation to the campus referral committee (STAR Committee).  If the committee concurs with the decision to exit, the parent must be informed in writing (Parent Exit Letter)  School personnel will continue to monitor the child's progress and provide assistance, as necessary, to ensure academic success.

DISTRICT AND CAMPUS DESIGNEES

District-Level & Elementary Campus Designee:  Cindy Rivers

Junior High Campus Designee:  Karen Kizer

High School Campus Designee: 

PARENTAL SUPPORT

Arp Independent School District strives to maintain open communication with parents.  Through campus newsletters, brochures, Website and student handbooks, the staff introduces parents to dyslexia and the instructional programs available.  To assist parents in better understanding the characteristics associated with dyslexia, the district presents a parent education program annually.

RESOURCES

http://www.dyslexia.com/library/classroom.htm

FORM INDEX

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