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Dyslexia Programs in Texas

Instructor: Jessica Keys
Texas students and educators can access a range of services for dyslexia. Some of these services are provided by Texas public schools, while others are run by nonprofit organizations and private institutions. Check out this article to find out more.

Dyslexia Programs in Texas Public Schools

In compliance with Texas law, all dyslexic students must be provided with access to a program of instruction that meets state requirements as well as a teacher who has received the appropriate training. Each district may develop its own program, but it must feature the following instructional components:

  • Phonological Awareness: The structure of words, with regards to individual sounds (phonemes)
  • Sound-symbol Association: The ability to match letters and letter combinations to spoken sounds
  • Syllabication: The formation and understanding of different types of syllables
  • Orthography: The rules of spelling
  • Morphology: Methods for forming complex words by combining base words with prefixes, suffixes and other morphemes
  • Syntax: The specific meaning conveyed through the order of words in a sentence
  • Reading Comprehension: The construction and comprehension of meaning from a written body of text
  • Reading Fluency: The ability to parse text with speed and accuracy while maintaining comprehension

What is Dyslexia? Everyone can check out this easy-to-follow lesson from Study.com to learn more.

Dyslexia Identification

All students attending a Texas public school are monitored for signs of dyslexia and, if deemed necessary, tested. Likewise, all candidates participating in a Texas educator preparation program (EPP) learn how to identify dyslexia in their students as well as how to offer appropriate assessment and instruction.

Students are given basic reading tests in the early grades (K-2) that measure reading development and comprehension. Such tests also provide a means of early intervention; when a teacher or administrator identifies potential signs of dyslexia in a student, his/her parents (or guardians) will be notified and, if permission is given, the student will be given further assessment by professionals who have received specialized training in dyslexia and similar learning differences.

In Texas, parents/guardians can request dyslexia testing for their child at any time. If a student is also an English language learner, any assessments should be administered in his/her native language.

Accommodation Types

These assessments may test a range of academic areas and skills, such as math and writing, and are used to help a committee determine if a student has dyslexia, as well as whether or not a student has a disability (meaning the dyslexia severely limits the student in his/her daily life). Assessments are also used to determine whether or not that student is eligible for certain accommodations. For example:

  • An audiobook version of the textbook, so a student may hear the text while they follow along
  • Use of a computer, instead of pencil and paper
  • Extra vocabulary review, a given chapter summary or a designated study buddy
  • Shorter assignments or spelling tests
  • Modified assignment directions or oral directions
  • A quiet space or separate room for the student to work on assignments or take tests
  • Waiving grading on handwriting and spelling or removing grade penalties for such errors

Public School Alternatives

Texas also hosts many private and nonprofit schools that offer specialized environments and instruction for students with dyslexia, as well as screening, family programs and year-round education. Here are a few examples of other schools and programs available across the state:

Dallas Academy (Dallas, TX): Grades 1 to 12

The Dallas Academy was founded as an alternative for students with learning differences, including dyslexia. It aims to give students the same experiences found in more conventional schools (with many extracurricular activities and a college preparatory program) in a structured environment tailored to each student's special needs.

Newfound Academy (Carrollton, TX): Grades 3 to 12

Newfound Academy serves special needs students with dyslexia, autism and attention deficit disorder, as well as any other student who may benefit from the specialized instruction offered by the school. It features very small class sizes and an emphasis on education and social skills development.

Parish School (Houston, TX): Ages 2 to 12

The Parish School welcomes young children with communication delays and other learning differences. Here, classes are small and rich in audio/visual materials. They also allow students to work with peers of different ages. Outdoor experiences are integrated into the curriculum as well.

Rawson Saunders School (Austin, TX): Grades 1 to 8

Designed specifically to meet the needs of students with dyslexia, Rawson Saunders integrates an individually tailored Academic Language Therapy (ALT) approach into its core curriculum, which is based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills program and includes instruction in areas ranging from athletics to the arts. Rawson Saunders also offers a summer term designed to keep second through eighth graders learning.

Dyslexia Organizations and Professional Development

Region 10 Education Service Center provides workshops, compliance training and continuing education programs for all Texas educators (not just those located in Region 10) related to dyslexia identification and education. Other accredited programs and resources for educators may be found at:

  • The James Phillips Williams Learning Center (San Angelo, TX)
  • Midwestern State University (Wichita Falls, TX)
  • Rawson Saunders Institute (Austin, TX)
  • The Texas Center for Learning Disabilities (Austin, TX )
  • The Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (Dallas, TX )

For Further Study

For more information on dyslexia, check out Study.com's informative, online resources on a range of related issues. Learn about everything from classroom games and reading activities to signs of dyslexia in adults and children in these lessons on Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia Teacher Resources. You can also find lessons on:

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