Shannon White, Coordinator of Section 504 & Dyslexia Services Graciela Casanova, Bilingual Dyslexia Specialist Deana Smith, Dyslexia Specialist
Pflugerville Independent School District offers dyslexia services to students identified with dyslexia at each campus. The District utilizes a variety of instructional models to meet the needs of students with dyslexia, including pull-out reading instruction, reading acceleration classes, and classroom accommodations. The goal of these services is to facilitate the development of skills and compensation strategies which will enable students with dyslexia to become independent, proficient consumers of written text.
In addition to the provision of reading instruction to students with dyslexia, the District also affords educators and parents professional development opportunities in the area of Dyslexia.
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
(Adopted by the International Dyslexia Association Board of Directors, November 12, 2002)
What does neurological in origin mean?
Dyslexia results from differences in how the brain processes information. Specifically, functional brain imaging has demonstrated a failure of the left hemisphere posterior brain systems to function properly during reading.
What are difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and poor decoding and spelling abilities?
Students with dyslexia will demonstrate difficulties with correctly and quickly identifying real words (word recognition) and pronouncing nonsense words (decoding). These difficulties will affect students' abilities to read fluently. A difficulty with spelling is also a primary characteristic of dyslexia. This is in contrast to the popularly held belief that the major characteristic is the reversal of letters, words and numbers.
These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language – making the connection between oral language and the letters/sounds that represent language in written form requires an awareness that all words can be decomposed into phonologic segments (i.e., the word bat can be broken down into three phonemes or individual sounds – /b/, /a/, and /t/). Research findings have been consistent in confirming that in young school-age children as well as in adolescents, a deficit in phonological processing is the strongest and most specific finding related to dyslexia.
That is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities – unexpected in relation to the student’s: oral language skills, the ability to learn in the absence of print, intellectual functioning, or strong math skills in comparison to reading skills.
Provision of effective classroom instruction – if the child has been identified as at-risk for reading failure in kindergarten and first grade, have they been provided with effective instruction in order to develop proficient early reading skills? The lack of response to scientifically informed instruction is one factor that differentiates severe reading deficits from reading failure resulting from inadequate instruction. Early intervention is critical...students who receive appropriate instruction show changes in how their brain processes the information so that it resembles that of non disabled readers. Research has found that effective early interventions have the capability of reducing the expected incidence of reading failure from 18% of the school age population to 1 – 5%.
Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge – because students with reading difficulties typically do not read the same amount as non disabled readers, it may impact their vocabulary development as well as their exposure to information learned by reading.
[Source: A Definition of Dyslexia by G. Reid Lyon, Sally E. Shaywitz and Bennett A. Shaywitz; Annuals of Dyslexia, Volume 53, 2003]
Questions & Answers:
Who do I talk to regarding my concerns about my student possibily having dyslexia?
It is recommended that you first contact your student's teacher to discuss your concerns related to your child's progress in reading. After talking to your student's teacher, you may wish to express your concerns to your school administration.
What is the process for a dyslexia assessment?
In Texas, dyslexia assessments are conducted through the Section 504 Process. Notification of proposal to assess the student for dyslexia must be provided to parents; parents need to be informed of their rights under Section 504; and permission to assess must be obtained from the parent or guardian prior to beginning the assessment.
Who ultimately identifies the student as dyslexic and makes the placement decision?
The identification must be made by a committee of knowledgeable persons formed at the district, charter school, or campus level. In Pflugerville ISD, the team is a district level team whose membership includes the District Coordinator of Dyslexia, District Dyslexia Specialist, and campus dyslexia teachers.
This answer does not necessarily apply to students covered by IDEIA. If a student is covered by IDEIA, the placement decision would be made by the student’s admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee, which might include members of the committee of knowledgeable persons previously described for students with dyslexia.
Links to Dyslexia Related Information/Resources