Dyslexia

Northside Independent School District is committed to providing students identified with dyslexia appropriate research based instruction and academic support to prepare them to be successful, lifetime readers and writers.

Northside ISD has a district-wide plan that follows guidelines and procedures in the Dyslexia Handbook- 2018 Update in the identification of, instruction for, and accommodations for students with dyslexia.

The Dyslexia Handbook

The handbook contains guidelines for school districts to follow as they identify and provide services for students with dyslexia. In addition, information regarding the state's dyslexia statutes and their relation to various federal laws is included.

What is Dyslexia

Texas Education Code (TEC) 38.003 defines dyslexia and related disorders in the following way:

“Dyslexia” means a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity.

“Related disorders” include disorders similar to or related to dyslexia, such as developmental auditory imperception, dysphasia, specific developmental dyslexia, developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability. 

TEC 38.003(d)(1)-(2) (1995)

The International Dyslexia Association defines “dyslexia” in the following way:

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin.  It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.  These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.  Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Adopted by the International Dyslexia Association Board of Directors
November 12, 2002


Characteristics of Dyslexia

Students identified as having dyslexia typically experience primary difficulties in phonological awareness, including phonemic awareness and manipulation, single-word reading, reading fluency, and spelling.  Consequences may include difficulties in reading comprehension and/or written expression.  These difficulties in phonological awareness are unexpected for the student’s age and educational level and are not primarily the result of language difference factors.  Additionally, there is often a family history of similar difficulties.

The following are the primary reading/spelling characteristics of dyslexia:

  • Difficulty reading words in isolation
  • Difficulty accurately decoding unfamiliar words
  • Difficulty with oral reading (slow, inaccurate, or labored without prosody)
  • Difficulty spelling

It is more important to note that individuals demonstrate differences in degree of impairment and may not exhibit all the characteristics listed above.

The reading/spelling characteristics are most often associated with the following:

  • Segmenting, blending, and manipulating sounds in words (phonemic awareness)
  • Learning the names of letters and their associated sounds
  • Holding information about sounds and words in memory (phonological memory)
  • Rapidly recalling the names of familiar objects, colors, or letters of the alphabet (rapid naming)

Consequences of dyslexia may include the following:

  • Variable difficulty with aspects of reading comprehension
  • Variable difficulty with aspects of written language
  • Limited vocabulary growth due to reduced reading difficulties
There is not a set list of characteristics for dyslexia - it looks different for every child!


Sources for Characteristics and Consequences of Dyslexia

Branum-Martin, L., Fletcher, J. M., & Stuebing, K. K. (2013). Classification and identification of reading and math disabilities:
The special case of comorbidity. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 12, 906–915.

Fletcher, J. M., Lyon, G. R., Fuchs, L. S., & Barnes, M. A. (2007). Learning disabilities: From identification to intervention.
New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

The International Dyslexia Association. (2018). Knowledge and practice standards for teachers of reading, (2nd ed.).

Moats, L. C., & Dakin, K. E. (2008). Basic facts about dyslexia and other reading problems. Baltimore, MD:
The International Dyslexia Association



Frequently Asked Questions

Who do I contact if I have questions about dyslexia and I want my child to be tested?

The campus’ Reading Specialist is your first point of contact. They can answer your questions about dyslexia and discuss your child’s concerns.

How will school teams know whether my child should be referred for a dyslexia evaluation?

School Teams will make data informed decisions for every student, on an individual basis by reviewing all available data.  

Examples of data to discuss that can help a team make decisions include:

  • Comparison with grade level peers and expectations
  • Universal screening and benchmarking data
  • Progress monitoring intervention data
  • Reading data in comparison with learning and achievement in other academic areas
  • Parent and teacher information and observation

What dyslexia services will my child have if they are identified with dyslexia?

That will vary based on the child. Contact your child’s school for specific programming information.

Does my child have to be in a certain grade level before a dyslexia evaluation can occur?

No, Your child does not have to be in a certain grade level before a dyslexia evaluation can occur.

What if I had my child tested by an outside source.  May I share that with the school?

Yes. The assessment does not automatically create eligibility. The school determines eligibility based on a review of a variety of sources.

Where can I find more Dyslexia Resources?

  • Bookshare Bookshare is an accessible online library which has over 500,000 titles available to individuals with print disabilities. Through an award from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Bookshare offers free memberships to U.S. schools and qualifying U.S. students. 
  • Learning Ally Learning Ally has 80,000 + human-narrated audio books available to individuals with print disabilities. The materials can be delivered through internet downloads and accessed using various mainstream and assistive technology devices. Through a contract with TEA, Learning Ally offers free memberships to Texas K-12 public and charter schools with qualifying students.
  • Talking Book Program The Talking Book Program (TBP) provides free library services to qualifying Texans with visual, physical, or reading disabilities. TBP is part of the National Library Service to the Blind and Print Disabled, a program administered by the Library of Congress. The TBP collection consists of more than 100,000 titles, including hundreds of titles in Spanish.
  • International Dyslexia Association (IDA)  Is an international non-profit education and advocacy organization devoted to issues surrounding dyslexia
  • The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity (YCDC) is the preeminent source of cutting-edge research, informed advocacy and trustworthy resources to help those with dyslexia reach their full potential. 
  • Region 10 Resources Tech resources for dyslexia support.

For general education dyslexia questions, contact Susan.Smeby@nisd.net phone: (210) 397-8810

For special education dyslexia questions, contact Nora.Sanders@nisd.net phone: (210) 397-8731