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Indiana Department of Education - Initial Dyslexia Guidance

 

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The General Assembly passed SEA 217 which addresses “Dyslexia” and adds a number of new requirements for both the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) and schools. The State Board is charged with preparing proposed regulations for implementing this statute. When those proposed regulations are completed there will be opportunities for those in the field to offer input and comments.

In the meantime, IDOE is issuing this preliminary guidance to bring awareness of this legislation to school corporations and charter schools. Please note that the requirements of this legislation go into effect for schools with the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

Screening

  • A school corporation’s and charter school’s reading plan shall include indicators to screen for risk factors of dyslexia, using a screening tool approved by IDOE that screens for characteristics of dyslexia.
  • This mandatory universal screener approved by IDOE shall include indicators for dyslexia and must be reported in the kindergarten through grade two reading plan
  • This screening shall include, as developmentally appropriate, the following:
    • Phonological and phonemic awareness
    • Sound-symbol recognition
    • Alphabet knowledge
    • Decoding skills
    • Rapid naming skills
    • Encoding skills
  • If a student is determined to be at risk, or at some risk, for dyslexia, after a screening, the school corporation or charter school shall administer a level 1 dyslexia screening to the student. Based on the results of the level 1 screener, a school corporation or charter school may administer a level 2 screener. Both level 1 and 2 screeners must include the components listed above. These screeners must be completed consistent with the Indiana dyslexia resource guide to be released by IDOE.
  •  Students who must be screened:
    • Students in kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2
    • A kindergarten through grade 2 student who transfers to a new school; and has not previously been screened during the school year
    • A student in grade 3 or higher who has difficulty as noted by the classroom teacher in
      • Phonological and phonemic awareness;
      • Sound-symbol recognition;
      • Alphabet knowledge;
      • Decoding skills;
      • Rapid naming skills; and
      • Encoding skills
  • A student in kindergarten through grade 2 from another state who enrolls in an Indiana school for the first time unless the student has documentation that he/she has had a dyslexia or similar screen during the school year or is exempt from the screening.
  • If any of the screeners indicate that a student has the characteristics of dyslexia, the school corporation or charter school shall use the response to intervention process to address the needs of the student.
  • A school corporation or charter school is not required to administer a universal screening if the parent objects to the screening or the student is already receiving intervention services for dyslexia.
  • A parent/guardian must consent to a level 1 or 2 screening before it is administered.

Notification and Services

  • If the student’s performance on any of the screeners indicates a need for dyslexia intervention services, the school corporation or charter school shall:
    • Notify the parent/guardian of the results of the screening(s)
    • Provide the student’s parents/guardians with information and resource material that includes:
      • Characteristics of dyslexia
      • Appropriate classroom interventions and accommodations for students with dyslexia
      • A statement that the parent/guardian may elect to have an educational evaluation by the school

Instructional Approaches

  • If screeners indicate the need for intervention services, the intervention may include:
    • Explicit direct instruction that is systematic, sequential, and cumulative and follows a logical plan of presenting the alphabetic principle that targets the specific needs of the student without presuming prior skills or knowledge of the student;
    • Individualized instruction to meet the specific needs of the student in a setting that uses intensive, highly concentrated instruction methods and materials that maximize student engagement;
    • Meaning-based instruction directed at purposeful reading and writing with an emphasis on comprehension and composition;
    • Instruction that incorporates the simultaneous use of two or more sensory pathways during teacher presentations and student practice; and
    • Other instructional approaches as determined appropriate by the school corporation or charter school.

Reporting

  • In accordance with the reading plan, a school must report the number of students who were:
    • Administered the universal screener
    • Determined to be at risk for dyslexia
  • Before July 15th of each school year, each school shall report on their website the following information:
    • The dyslexia interventions that were used during the previous year
    • The number of students who received dyslexia interventions
    • The total number of students identified as being at risk for dyslexia during the previous school year
    • This information shall not be provided if fewer than 10 students are identified

Reading Specialist Trained in Dyslexia

  • Not later than the 2019-2020 school year, each school corporation and charter school shall employ at least one (1) individual to serve as an authorized reading specialist trained in dyslexia for the school corporation or charter school.
    • “Authorized reading specialist trained in dyslexia” is defined as an employee of a school corporation or public school, including a charter school, who has successfully completed training in a dyslexia program approved by IDOE.
  •  A school corporation or a charter school may enter into an agreement with a service provider or another school corporation or charter school to obtain or share services provided by an authorized reading specialist trained in dyslexia.
  • A school corporation or charter school may submit a written petition for a waiver needed to hire an individual that does not meet the training requirements. The waiver shall be granted if an individual is unable to complete the training in the required time period or an authorized reading specialist leaves the position and the school is not able to employ a new authorized specialist in a timely manner.
    • Waivers will not exceed the period of one year.

Schools are urged to also be mindful of the requirements of IDEA and Article 7, which have not been altered by this new legislation.