In its recent Monitoring Visit Letter, OSEP cited massive confusion and inconsistency in Texas over services to students with dyslexia. Good! We have been in a state of confusion for decades. Maybe the feds shining a spotlight on this issue will lead to more clarity.
I think the crux of the problem can be summarized with these two lines from the Texas Dyslexia Handbook:
A district will typically evaluate for dyslexia through Section 504. On the other hand, if a student is suspected of having a disability within the scope of IDEA 2004, all special education procedures must be followed.
Hmmm. Let’s think about that a bit. Dyslexia is specifically listed in IDEA 2004 as an example of a specific learning disability. So if the school is evaluating a student for dyslexia, doesn’t that automatically mean that the student “is suspected of having a disability within the scope of IDEA 2004”? And if that’s the case, “all special education procedures must be followed.” So why would we “typically” evaluate as per 504?
The OSEP letter does say that “It is certainly permissible to provide services to children with dyslexia under Section 504.” But the letter cites example after example of students who may have been eligible for IDEA services but were never evaluated for a learning disability pursuant to IDEA procedures and applying IDEA standards. These stories then add to the finding of a massive Child Find violation by the State of Texas.
If school staff and/or parents are talking about the possibility that the student may have dyslexia, it is hard to see how an IDEA evaluation is not called for.
TEA’s draft Corrective Action Plan calls for revisions to the Dyslexia Handbook. We look forward to that.
DAWG BONE: DYSLEXIA IS LISTED IN IDEA AS AN EXAMPLE OF A SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITY.
Tomorrow: from our “you can’t make this stuff up department”