Children learn to read, write and spell in different ways. A balanced reading program should meet the needs of most students.
The dyslexia program at Spring ISD strives to facilitate reading skills achievement at the student’s personal skill level. All dyslexia teachers are trained in the intervention of students with dyslexia. There is a systematic process for the discovery and identification of student deficits within the reading intervention programs. Teachers use a researched-based program to deliver the intervention to students. Accommodations are used to assist students in other areas of their academics to combat struggles with dyslexia.
Students are able to make progress at their own rate in the reading intervention program. Classroom teachers are provided training to work with students who have reading challenges. We use informal and formal testing to identify and design the student’s dyslexia program which has broaden the numbers of students meeting the criteria for dyslexia as compared to the number during the 1990s. Reversal of letters and numbers is not dyslexia it is so much more.
The current definition from the International Dyslexia Association states: “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 the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”
There has been increased awareness and research over the years for parents and teachers to learn and adapt training to meet the needs of students. The Texas state government has designed a handbook for schools to implement best practices for student interventions. This handbook, also known as the “blue book” guides our systems and process for identification, program implementation, and monitoring of the student’s acquisition of skills. There is a current handbook up for review on the TEA website to provide information and updates that have occurred over the last five years pertaining to dyslexia. The new handbook was ratified in July 2014.
The curriculum is focused to meet basic reading needs such as phonemic awareness, the six syllables, word recognition, reading fluency, comprehension, and spelling. Students work with teachers in pullout or classroom situations on their various skill deficits while increasing their strengths. Most groups average 3-6 students with the dyslexia teacher. They are able to use specific learning strategies, multi-sensory techniques, games, and technologies to assist students. Communication with parents throughout the school year benefits the student and the teacher as part of the monitoring system.
Students may receive protections under section 504 which is an anti-discrimination law. Some students can be identified through special services due to the severity of dyslexia or because there is a disability and dyslexia is remediated as a related service. The state even provides guidelines for dyslexia students even when they do not qualify for 504 or special education.
Again, we strive to make a difference in the life of every student who has dyslexia.