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The purpose of this information area is to answer frequently asked questions concerning how students who may exhibit characteristics of dyslexia are served within the FISD. The guidelines and procedures adopted have been designed to correlate to the identification and instruction of students with dyslexia and related disorders adopted by the State Board of Education in 1992, mandated by the state of Texas, and presented in The Dyslexia Handbook: Procedures Concerning Dyslexia and Related Disorders. Commonly referred to as The Burgundy Book, this document is intended to provide districts with guidelines for developing written procedures and has been a consistent resource in the development of the FISD’s dyslexia intervention.

The Burgundy Book was developed to satisfy two statutes and one rule addressing dyslexia and related disorders. Texas Education Code (TEC) §38.003 defines dyslexia and related disorders, mandates testing students for dyslexia, and providing instruction for students with dyslexia. It gives the State Board of Education authority to adopt rules and standards to administer testing and instruction. Furthermore, Chapter 19 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) § 74.28 outlines the responsibilities of districts as to delivery of services to students with dyslexia. § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 establishes assessment and evaluation standards and procedures for students. If a student’s dyslexia is determined to ‘substantially limit’ learning, then Section 504 procedures are put into place.

FISD is committed to supporting all students to ensure educational success. Dyslexia support services are provided on all district campuses K-12.

The following difficulties may be associated with dyslexia if they are unexpected for the individual’s age, educational level, or cognitive abilities:

  • 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 sounds;

  • difficulty learning to spell;

  • difficulty in word finding and rapid naming;

  • variable difficulty with aspects of written composition;

  • difficulty with learning and reproducing the alphabet in correct sequence (in either oral or written form); and

  • family history of 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 and other difficulties that do not necessarily pertain to reading exclusively.

The campus student support team determines whether there is an educational need for dyslexia assessment. Recommendation for dyslexia assessment should be based on the educational need of the student as outlined in The Dyslexia Handbook published by the Texas Education Agency.

Students will be assessed after the campus student support team determines there is an educational need, tiered interventions have been implemented, and students’ responses documented. Any student who may move into the district after the school year has started and has participated in or been previously assessed for dyslexia may require additional assessment upon entry to school.

Both informal and formal assessments are evaluated in the decision-making process. A parent interview, classroom teacher checklist, samples of classroom work, and informal assessments conducted by the campus dyslexia teachers are all examples of informal pieces of information that are collected. Formal assessments conducted by the campus dyslexia teachers include the areas of phonemic awareness, letter ID, rapid naming of words, decoding words both real and nonsense, reading comprehension, and fluency/rate of reading.

Members of the district’s dyslexia team comprised of the campus dyslexia teachers and the dyslexia coordinator review all collected data to determine if the student is exhibiting the characteristics of dyslexia. Program placement is determined by either the 504 or ARD committee.

The dyslexia curriculum is written for a two-year time frame. Each student’s program is delivered through daily, small group instruction. Student progress is monitored by the dyslexia teacher. Possible length of time in the program may fluctuate from child to child depending on individual factors such as extended illness, excessive absences, and progress made within the curriculum.

The following factors may be used to determine when a child exits from dyslexia intervention: (1) completion of curriculum; (2) student demonstrating success in grade level material: (3) passing STAAR; (4) recommendation by the dyslexia teacher; (5) parent request; (6) moved from FISD; and (7) lack of appropriate progress within the dyslexia curriculum.

Campus dyslexia teachers track students who have exited the dyslexia program for a period of time. Tracking is a way to support teachers and students within the classroom setting. This tracking can look different for each student depending on the student’s needs. Tracking can take the form of checking the student’s grades each six/nine weeks, talking to classroom teacher(s) and/or meeting with the individual student informally, etc.

A dyslexia teacher is available to support students on middle school and high school campuses. Students are enrolled in a dyslexia class that is scheduled within the regular school day and is different from the regular reading/language arts curriculum. Dyslexia teachers are encouraged to use their expertise to deliver instruction designed to help students transition their learned skills into regular education classes. Therefore, dyslexia instruction may look different from that which is provided at the elementary campuses. For example, distance learning is the service model used at applicable middle schools for students in year two and mid-year two of the dyslexia program. Distance learning utilizes technology to deliver instruction to students on multiple campuses by a trained dyslexia teacher. A primary goal of dyslexia intervention is to promote independent problem solving behavior. Reinforcement of such behavior during daily dyslexia classes helps the student transition this into his/her other regular education curriculum.

For students in grades K-5th who struggle with reading and writing, there are interventions that might be available outside of the classroom environment. For example, students may receive additional help through prescriptive tutoring or Leveled Literacy Instruction. Accelerated reading instruction and tutoring are possibilities for students who are experiencing difficulty within the general classroom setting. Decisions to participate in these interventions are made when students demonstrate an educational need.

A teacher who has received extensive training in an alphabetic multi-sensory program will provide the curriculum for students.

Contact the campus dyslexia teacher before/after school or during his/her conference period. Call the campus office to find out when the teacher is available within the school day for questions concerning the dyslexia program.

All prior educational history including any previous interventions, assessment results, and past grade level performance information are collected upon a student’s enrollment in FISD. That information is reviewed to evaluate what, if any, additional information might be needed in order to make an appropriate decision concerning student placement. The student’s educational need will determine any program intervention.

FISD offers several interventions to support student success. Whenever children are placed into these interventions, it is done so with multiple considerations in mind: (1) what will benefit the child, and (2) what intervention is offered that will be delivered in the least restrictive environment.

Your child’s dyslexia teacher will arrange for parent conferences as necessary to discuss your child’s progress within the dyslexia curriculum. Parents can request a conference as well. Conferences will usually be scheduled before/after the school day or during the teacher’s daily planning period. In addition to conferences, a district-wide parent meeting is held during the year. This meeting will focus on various topics surrounding dyslexia that can help parents learn more about their child’s learning disability and how to help support their child both at school and in the home environment. Letters, flyers posted on campuses, and the FISD website are avenues through which upcoming district/campus meetings are distributed.

Upon entry into the dyslexia program, parents will receive a Dyslexia Parent Handbook from the child’s dyslexia teacher. This handbook is designed to offer parents information about dyslexia as well as tips and suggestions for creating a positive home reading environment. In addition, a selected reading list for parents and children as well as a list of web resources is included. There are numerous ways parents may participate in daily support of their child’s dyslexia program. Providing a safe, risk-free environment at home can eliminate anxiety that a child might experience when homework is being completed. Consistency in completion of daily homework, building your child’s self-esteem by supporting daily learning, and helping to establish an independent attitude will benefit your child not only during dyslexia intervention but also throughout his/her life as he/she learns how to be a successful learner.

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