TEA Dyslexia Handbook Updates
On September 23, 2021, the Texas Education Agency released Updates to Dyslexia Handbook: Procedures Concerning Dyslexia and Related Disorders (Dyslexia Handbook). This correspondence offers a high-level overview of important updates regarding recent revisions to the Dyslexia Handbook. Particularly, Local Education Agencies must be aware of the following changes:
- Evaluations: LEAs must now seek parental consent for a Full Individual Initial Evaluation (FIIE) under the IDEA any time the LEA suspects that a student has dyslexia or a related disorder and may need dyslexia intervention services. This will require LEAs to provide proper prior written notice and notice of procedural safeguards when seeking informed parental consent to evaluate a student for dyslexia. This may also require evaluation staff members to develop a plan for the increase in IDEA evaluations, provide training on identification of dyslexia and dysgraphia within an FIIE, and communicate with experts in the areas of dyslexia and related disorders.
- Dyslexia Screening: The updated Dyslexia Handbook includes a reduction in the number of skills that must be included on the universal dyslexia screening instrument used by LEAs to screen for dyslexia. This will likely require LEAs to revise current dyslexia screening instruments.
- Providers of Instruction: The updated Dyslexia Handbook adds the following language to the requirements for educators tasked with delivering dyslexia instruction: “A provider of dyslexia instruction does not have to be certified as a special educator when serving a student who also receives special education and related services if that provider is the most appropriate person to offer dyslexia instruction.” LEAs will need to update their operating procedures to include the updated language and ensure that this change is communicated to staff.
The updated Dyslexia Handbook will go into effect 20 days after filing as adopted with the Texas Register, and the TEA will provide additional guidance and information as that date approaches. Until the updated Dyslexia Handbook is adopted with the Texas Register, the proposed amendments will be available on the Proposed State Board of Education Rules webpage.
Local education agencies will be required to make changes to their policies, procedures, and practices in the coming weeks. Thompson & Horton LLP encourages special education administrators to share these updates with staff and begin the process of revising policies, procedures, and practices as soon as possible to ensure compliance with the updated Dyslexia Handbook. For more information on this correspondence or assistance with revising your policies, procedures, or practices to reflect these updates, contact: Dianna D. Bowen, Rebecca S. Bailey, and Andrew Tatgenhorst.