What is Dyslexia?
The Texas Education Code defines dyslexia as: a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and socio-cultural opportunity.
The International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as: 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.
The Assessment Process
The assessment process for dyslexia and related disorders in the Schertz Cibolo Universal City Independent School District is based on the domains established in The Texas Dyslexia Handbook. Low performance in these areas in relation to the student’s age indicates reading difficulties consistent with the characteristics of dyslexia. These areas are:
Reading single words in isolation
Word decoding (real and non-real words)
Letter knowledge (names and sounds)
Fluency/rate and accuracy
Once a student has been identified as having dyslexia or a related disorder, the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District shall provide for the treatment of the disorder. The program provided must be in accordance with The Dyslexia Handbook. These are the characteristics:
Explicit, direct, systematic, sequential, and cumulative instruction
The primary program used to provide supplemental instruction in Schertz-Cibolo-UC ISD is Reading by Design. It is a systematic, sequential phonics program which addresses both encoding and decoding. It also addresses fluency and comprehension. This program is offered on both elementary and secondary level. Lessons can take place in a one-on-one setting or small group. It is a pullout program. The number of minutes per session and the number of sessions per week will vary from campus to campus, however a student identified with dyslexia will receive 180 minutes of instruction per week overall. If a student is identified with dyslexia within the last 4 weeks of school, the student will begin receiving dyslexia services the following school year.
Students with Dyslexia and the STAAR Test
The State of Texas offers many different accommodations on the STAAR test for students with Dyslexia and reading difficulites. These accommodations are allowed if the student is identified with dyslexia, a reading difficulty, or is in Supplemental Education and if the student routinely uses the accommodations with the classroom environment. There are too many accomodations to list, but examples of some of what is available are:
- The student can have the entire mathematics test read orally to them.
- The student can have questions and answer choices (not the passages) on the reading test read orally to them.
- The student can have extended time during the day to complete the test.
- The student can take the test on the computer with embedded accomodations.