• Procedures for Assessment of Dyslexia

    The Deer Park Independent School District follows the policies and procedures outlined in the Texas Education Code §38.003.  The decision process established by the district for identification, intervention, and placement concerning dyslexia is in accordance with federal and state guidelines.  Students enrolling in Deer Park ISD shall be assessed for dyslexia and related disorders at appropriate times (TEC §38.003 (a)).  The appropriate time depends upon multiple factors including the student’s reading performance, reading difficulties, poor response to supplemental, scientifically based reading instruction, teachers’ input, and parents’ or guardians’ input.  Additionally, the appropriate time for assessing is early in a student’s career (19TAC §74.28), the earlier the better.  While earlier is better, students will be recommended for assessment for dyslexia even if the reading difficulties appear later in a student’s school career.

    The procedures followed for assessment include:

    • Notify parents or guardians of proposal to assess student for dyslexia (§504)
    • Inform parents or guardians of their rights under §504
    • Obtain parent or guardian permission to assess the student for dyslexia
    • Assess student, being sure that individuals/professionals who administer assessments have training in the evaluation of students for dyslexia and related disorders (19 TAC §74.28)

    Domains to Assess

    Deer Park ISD administers measures that are related to the student’s educational needs.  Depending upon the student’s age and stage or reading development, the following are the areas related to reading that should be assessed.

    Academic Skills

    • Letter knowledge (name and associated sound)
    • Reading real and nonsense words in isolation (decoding)
    • Reading fluency (both rate and accuracy should be measured)
    • Reading comprehension
    • Written spelling

    Cognitive processes that underlie the reading difficulties

    • Phonological/phonemic awareness (Difficulties in phonological and phonemic awareness are typically seen in students with dyslexia and impact a student’s ability to learn letters and the sounds associated with letters and letter combinations, learn the alphabetic principle, use the sounds of the letters and letter combinations to decode words and  to accurately spell.)
    • Rapid Naming (difficulties in rapid naming may or may not be weak, but if deficient, will impact a student’s ability to automatically name letters and read words and to read connected text at an appropriate rate.)

    Based on the student’s academic difficulties and characteristics, additional areas that may be assessed include the following:

    • Vocabulary
    • Listening comprehension
    • Oral expression
    • Written expression
    • Handwriting
    • Orthographic processing
    • Mathematical reasoning
    • Intelligence

    The §504 committee determines the identification of dyslexia after reviewing all accumulated data including the following areas:

    • The observations of the teacher, district or charter school staff, and/or parent/guardian
    • Data gathered from the classroom (including student work and the results of classroom measures) and information found in the student’s cumulative folder (including the developmental and academic history of the student)
    • Data-based documentation of student progress during instruction/intervention
    • The results of administered assessments
    • Language Assessment Proficiency Committee (LPAC) documentation, when applicableAll other accumulated data regarding the development of the student’s learning and his/her educational needs

    §504 Committee Decision Points for Dyslexia Identification:

    A. The pattern of weaknesses in a student with dyslexia will reflect one or more difficulties with low performance for the student’s age and educational level in the following academic skills:

    • Reading real words in isolation
    • Decoding nonsense words
    • Reading fluency (both rate and accuracy)
    • Written spelling (an isolated difficulty in spelling would not be sufficient to identify dyslexia)

    B.   If the committee determines the student exhibits weaknesses in reading and written spelling that are the result of a deficit in phonological/phonemic awareness, the committee will then examine the student’s data to determine whether these difficulties are unexpected for the student in relation to the student’s other cognitive abilities (the ability to learn in the absence of print) and unexpected in relation to the provision of effective classroom instruction.

    • The student has an unexpected lack of appropriate academic progress (in the areas of reading and spelling)
    • The student has adequate intelligence (an average ability to learn in the absence of print or in other academic areas)
    • The student exhibits characteristics associated with dyslexia
    • The student’s lack of progress is not due to socio-cultural factors such as language differences, irregular attendance, or lack of experiential background

    Based on the above information and guidelines, the §504 committee first determines whether the student has dyslexia. If the student has dyslexia, the committee also determines whether the student has a disability under §504. Whether a student is eligible for §504 accommodations is a separate determination from the determination that the student has dyslexia. A student is considered to have a disability under §504 if the condition substantially limits the student’s learning, including the specific activity of reading.  If the committee does not identify dyslexia, but the student has another condition or disability that substantially limits the student’s learning, eligibility for §504 services related to the student’s other condition or disability should be considered.

    Students with additional factors that complicate their dyslexia may require additional support or referral to special education. If a student is already qualified as a student with a disability under special education, the Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee should determine the least restrictive environment for delivering the student’s dyslexia intervention.