What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a disorder which makes it difficult for individuals with average or above average intelligence to read, write, and spell. Students with dyslexia may also experience difficulties in listening, computational skills, and speaking. It may run in families and results from differences in the structure and function of the brain. Although dyslexia is a life-long condition, timely and appropriate interventions can have a positive effect.
Characteristics of Dyslexia
The characteristics of dyslexia vary from person to person. Some children experience problems in many areas while others may have problems in only one area. Listed below are some of the more common characteristics of dyslexia.
- Reading Difficulties
- Learning the names and sounds of letters
- Separating words into sounds
- Slow and inaccurate reading
- Poor reading comprehension
- Oral Language Difficulties
- Delayed spoken language
- Thoughts are disorganized
- Misinterprets what is heard
- Difficulty hearing rhymes or different sounds in words
- Writing Difficulties
- Poor spelling
- Disorganized ideas
- Poor letter formation
How is Dyslexia Diagnosed?
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) requires that a committee of knowledgeable persons determine if a student has dyslexia characteristics. This determination is made through data review, which consists of looking at student performance in the class, student performance on district and state tests, results of vision and hearing tests, evidence of adequate instruction, and a review of the student's progress from other interventions.
If, upon reviewing this data, there is an indication that there is a need for individual assessment by a trained dyslexia specialist, parents will be notified and permission is required before any assessment can begin.
The individualized assessment is designed to determine how well the child can decode words, understand what he/she reads and hears, and how well the child can communicate thoughts in writing. The testing is conducted at the child's campus.
Once the testing is completed, the committee of knowledgeable persons meets, parents are notified of the assessment results, and an instructional plan is developed.
Components of Instruction
The instructional program will be multi-sensory, sequential, systematic, and cumulative. It will focus on purposeful reading, spelling, and writing. Some of the more important components of instruction will be phonemic awareness (hearing sounds), blending sounds associated with letters into words, language structure, reading fluency, word recognition, and reading comprehension.
State Assessment Testing Accommodations
A committee of knowledgeable persons will decide:
- If a student has been identified as having dyslexia and has a need for classroom accommodations;
- If a student has routinely used these accommodations in the classroom; and
- If a student will benefit from the application of the allowable testing accommodations.
Resources for Additional Information
International Dyslexia Association
International Literacy Association
Texas Education Agency
Neuhaus Education Center
Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity