Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a brain-based learning disability that makes learning to read, write, and/or spell difficult despite adequate instruction and intelligence. Students with dysgraphia, a related learning disorder, demonstrate academic challenges in handwriting, spelling, and written expression. For more information review: 

Risk factors and signs of dyslexia:

  • Family history of dyslexia or reading difficulty
  • Early language difficulties such as delayed speech or trouble pronouncing words
  • Difficulty identifying and manipulating individual sounds within words
  • Challenges learning letter names
  • Difficulty recalling the names of letters, numbers, and familiar objects
  • Avoidance of reading and writing tasks
  • Inaccurate or slow reading
  • Difficulty with note taking and producing written work
  • Over use of pictures to guess at words

Primary characteristics include difficulties:

  • Learning the sounds letters make
  • Reading words in isolation or reading unknown words
  • Reading smoothly with enough speed and accuracy to comprehend
  • Spelling

Secondary characteristics may include difficulty:

  • Expressing ideas or concepts in writing
  • Understanding what is read

Students with dyslexia may also present with additional difficulties and/ or disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), speech and language disorders, and/or other academic needs.

If you suspect your child has dyslexia, contact your campus principal to request a meeting to review your child’s literacy progress. You may also request a special education evaluation. If your child is already receiving special education services, contact your child’s case manager or principal to request evaluation for dyslexia. Also review new guidance for families from the Texas Education Agency (TEA):

Per Texas Education Code (TEC), §38.003, all kindergarten and first-grade students in AISD are screened for dyslexia and related disorders. Kindergarten students are screened at the end of the school year and first-grade students are screened before January 31st. AISD uses NWEA MAP Map Fluency to meet the requirements of (TEC), §38.003, K/1 Dyslexia Screening. Screening results are shared with families. At this time, there is not an instrument available for the purposes of screening for dysgraphia, nor is formal screening required.

To meet federal and state requirements, AISD provides timely evaluation and identification of students with dyslexia. Professionals conducting assessment (e.g school psychologists or educational diagnosticians) for the identification of dyslexia look beyond scores on standardized assessments alone and examine the student’s classroom reading performance, educational history, and early language experiences as part of a comprehensive evaluation.

Anytime your child’s school suspects a student has dyslexia or dysgraphia and needs services, the school must ask for parent consent to conduct a Full Individual Initial Evaluation (FIIE) through special education. Evaluations through the special education process makes sure that students who are eligible for special education services are identified and provided the support they need.  Students are not evaluated without parent consent.

In accordance with 19 TAC §74.28(c), Austin ISD has purchased and implements evidence-based intervention programs for students with dyslexia and related disorders to be implemented by a trained teacher in dyslexia. Special education teachers, dyslexia interventionists, and classroom teachers may provide dyslexia intervention. Students with dyslexia may benefit from accommodations, assistive and instructional technology, and services as documented through a child’s special education or Section 504 plan.

TEA provides guidance to families and schools around dyslexia. The updated Texas Dyslexia Handbook, linked below, is in effect as of February 10th, 2022. 

Yale University’s Center for Dyslexia and Creativity seeks to illuminate the strengths of those with dyslexia, disseminate information, practical advice, and the latest innovations from scientific research, and transform the lives of children and adults with dyslexia. Visit their site to learn more about their cutting edge research and get concrete tips for parents, educators, and individuals with dyslexia.

Senate Bill 2075 was passed by the 86th Legislature requiring school districts to notify the parents or guardians of students who have or are at risk to have dyslexia or other reading difficulties of the Talking Book Program (TBP) maintained by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The TBP offers audio books at no-cost. For more information, contact the TBP at 1-800-252-9605 or 512-463-5458 or visit their website.

Learning Ally offers more than 75,000 digitally recorded audiobooks (including both textbooks and literary titles) in English and Spanish and is available to eligible students. Contact your child’s campus principal or Necol.Roager@austinisd.org to learn more.

Austin ISD is proud to host the Central Texas Dyslexia Conference, a free learning opportunity for families, community members, and educators. To learn more about the conference visit, https://www.austinisd.org/dyslexiaconference2021