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Dyslexia Defined

Dyslexia is defined in Ark. Code Ann. § 6-41-602 as a learning disability that is neurological in origin, characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition, poor spelling and decoding abilities that typically result from the phonological component of language. These characteristics are often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities.

Common Misconceptions

Dyslexia refers to a learning disability that affects reading and writing. What dyslexia is, what causes it, and what can be done about it are commonly misunderstood topics. For example, a commonly held belief is that dyslexia results from seeing things reversed. When in fact, dyslexia is not due to a problem with vision, but rather a problem within language.

It is important to acknowledge that students may struggle in learning to read for many reasons, including lack of motivation and interest, weak preparation from the pre-school home environment, weak English language skills, or low general intellectual ability.

Early Indicators

  • Difficulty in learning the names and sounds of letters
  • Problems in reading words
  • Accuracy and efficiency at decoding non-words and sight words resulting in slow and error-prone oral reading fluency
  • Spelling and writing problems are common

Early identification

Initial screening measures consist of short, informal probe(s) given to all RSD students in Kindergarten through grade two as well as students in grade three or higher experiencing difficulty as noted by a classroom teacher.

Once it is determined that the initial screener indicates a student is at-risk or at some risk for reading failure and a student does not adequately respond to research-based intervention, additional information is gathered.

The Level II Dyslexia Screening is a more detailed process for identifying a pattern of strengths and weaknesses documenting the characteristics of dyslexia. If the Level II Dyslexia Screening conducted by the school psychology specialist indicates a student exhibits characteristics of dyslexia, the student may be provided intervention services using a dyslexia program.

If it is determined that the student has functional difficulties in the academic environment due to characteristics of dyslexia, the necessary accommodations or equipment for the student shall be provided under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Ark. Code Ann. § 6-41-603) as they existed on February 1, 2013, if qualified under the applicable federal law. In other words, having a learning problem does not automatically qualify a student for accommodations/equipment under Section 504. The impairment must substantially limit one or more major life activities in order to be considered a disability under Section 504. The determination of substantial limitation must be made on a case-by-case basis with respect to each individual student.

If you as a parent have concerns about your child’s reading ability, please contact your child’s teacher.

For additional information:
Dyslexia Resource Guide