Definition of Dyslexia from the International Dyslexia Association:
“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological 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 IDA Board of Directors, Nov., 2002
FSSD Dyslexia Guidance Team Members:
• Janetta Davenport, Ed.D., Assistant Principal
• Sarah Goode, Reading Interventionist
• Gina Looney, Ed.D., District Reading and RTI Coordinator
• Jennifer Marotta, Reading Coach
• Cheryl Robey, Ed.D., Supervisor of Special Populations
• Shauna Sheehan, School Psychologist
• Chris Treadway, Ed.D., Principal
How Does FSSD Address Tennessee’s Dyslexia Law?
Tennessee Public Chapter 1058 from 2016, the “Say Dyslexia” Bill, requires screening of dyslexia in order to provide appropriate interventions; however, it does not refer to the identification or diagnosis of dyslexia. Screening for characteristics of dyslexia is a proactive way to address skill deficits through appropriate interventions. Screening results that reflect characteristics of dyslexia do not necessarily mean that a student has dyslexia nor can dyslexia be diagnosed through a screening alone.
These survey-level or diagnostic assessments must explicitly measure characteristics of dyslexia, including phonological awareness, sound-symbol recognition, alphabet knowledge, decoding skills, rapid naming, and encoding skills.
If it is determined that the student requires a dyslexia-specific intervention, the law requires schools to communicate information about the student’s performance and the need for intervention to parents. This correspondence should include specific areas of deficits associated with the characteristics of dyslexia. In addition, the law requires school personnel to identify in our Skyward program any students that are receiving dyslexia-specific interventions.
Supporting Students with Characteristics of Dyslexia?
The purpose of our screeners is not to label students as having dyslexia, but rather to determine the most appropriate reading interventions for students. Many students may display characteristics of dyslexia and require dyslexia-specific interventions, which are successful in addressing these deficit areas for students. Some students may display characteristics of dyslexia but require intensive dyslexia-specific interventions for many years. For the most struggling students, school teams will want to address this concern in ABST meetings. Some of the students who receive intense interventions and fail to respond appropriately may qualify for an IEP (SLD) or a 504 plan.
The Academic and Behavior Support Teams (ABST) at each school are committed to identifying and addressing the needs of all students. All students are given reading, math, writing, and behavior screenings throughout the school year. These screenings are part of the Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtI2), which is a tiered instruction program used for all students. This multi-tiered approach allows us to efficiently address the academic and behavioral needs of students who may require additional support and/or other types of instruction or intervention.
Sometimes difficulties in reading can be attributed to characteristics that are associated with dyslexia. When students struggle with foundational reading, dyslexia-specific interventions may be effective to address the skill deficit. Students requiring interventions in these areas do not necessarily have dyslexia but could benefit from this type of instructional support. Recommendations for accommodations, interventions, and specific programs will be developed, monitored, and communicated with you through ABST. Parents receive regular reports of their student's progress.