Dyslexia and Special Education

Texas is a unique state as we have a robust Dyslexia Law that provides identification of and services for dyslexia whether the student is eligible for special education (IDEA) or not. Because dyslexia varies in it's severity, some students with dyslexia may be eligible through general education or special education.

In IDEA, dyslexia is considered one of a variety of etiological foundations for specific learning disability (SLD). Section 34 C.F.R. §300.8(c)(10) states the following: ​

Specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. ​

The term SLD does not apply to children who have learning difficulties that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; of intellectual disability; of emotional disturbance; or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.​

Services for students identified with dyslexia must be determined based on individual needs. Standard Protocol Dyslexia Instruction (SPDI) may be provided via the general education dyslexia program, or for students with more severe or complicating needs, through Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) within the Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Standard Protocol Dyslexia Instruction includes the critical, evidence-based components of and delivery methods for dyslexia instruction addressed in detail in Chapter IV of the Dyslexia Handbook. Components of this instruction include, among other things, phonological awareness, sound-symbol association, syllabication, orthography, morphology, syntax, reading comprehension, and reading fluency. Principles for effective delivery of content must be consistent with research-based practices, including a multisensory, systematic, cumulative, and explicit approach. ​

Standard protocol dyslexia instruction is not specially designed instruction. Rather, it is programmatic instruction delivered to a group of students. Refer to Chapter IV for more information on standard protocol dyslexia instruction.

Specially Designed Instruction Is defined under IDEA as “adapting . . . the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction” to a child eligible under IDEA. This instruction must address the unique needs of the child that result from the child’s disability and must ensure access to the general curriculum so that the child can meet the state’s educational standards (34 C.F.R §300.39(b)(3)). ​

In some cases, the data may suggest that the unique needs of a student suspected of having dyslexia require a more individualized program than that offered through standard protocol dyslexia instruction. When this is the case, there is reason to suspect that special education services are necessary for the student.​

For more information see: Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia in the IEP
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