You Asked! Question 6

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Q6:  How is ADHD different from Dyslexia? I am concerned that my student has dyslexia but am being told by the school psychologist that it is just “inattention” issues that are preventing my student from being able to read at grade-level?

A:  According to the International Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition, spelling and reading decoding. People with dyslexia have problems discriminating sounds within a word or phonemes, a key factor in their reading and spelling difficulties.

Dyslexic children and children with ADHD have some similar characteristics. Dyslexic children, like children with ADHD, may have difficulty paying attention because reading is so demanding that it causes them to fatigue easily, limiting the ability to sustain concentration. People with dyslexia and those with ADHD both have difficulty with reading. The dyslexic person’s reading is typically dysfluent, with major problems with accuracy, misreading both large and small words. The person with ADHD may also be a dysfluent reader, but his or her reading is not characterized by misreading words. The ADHD reader may skip over punctuation, leave off endings, and lose his or her place. The disfluency of both the ADHD person and the dyslexic reader may negatively impact comprehension. Both may avoid reading and derive little pleasure from it. Both the person with dyslexia and the person with ADHD typically have trouble with writing. The typical dyslexic writer has significant problems with spelling, grammar, proofreading, and organization. The ADHD writer often has difficulty with organization and proofreading. Both the dyslexic writer and the ADHD writer may have handwriting difficulties.

Individuals with dyslexia and ADHD may be underachieving in school even though they are often bright and motivated. The goal for them, as it is for all children, is to meet their potential. It is critical that children with these disorders be carefully evaluated because treatment for one disorder is different from the other. Inaccurate diagnosis can lead to inappropriate intervention and a delay in timely, effective intervention (Source: The International Dyslexia Association).

To download the complete Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) and Dyslexia Fact Sheet by the International Dyslexia Association click HERE.

 

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You Asked! Question 12

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Q12:  Student exhibits signs of dyslexia, but school wants to delay assessing in order to see how student first responds to RTI (or is recommending Student Study Team (SST) meetings). Does assessing need to be delayed for special education eligibility?

A:  The school cannot delay or deny assessing your child for a suspected disability because of implementation of a Response to Intervention (RTI) strategy.  Please refer to our You Asked Q11on “Child Find” obligations. In a Dear Colleague letter, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) reminds schools that a parent may request an initial evaluation at any time to determine if a child has a disability under IDEA, and the use of Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), such as RTI, may not be used to delay or deny a full and individual evaluation of a child suspected of having a disability.  (Sources: OSEP Memorandum 11-07 dated January 21st, 2011; OSERS Dear Colleague Letter dated October 23rd, 2015)

Convening an SST meeting does not waive a school district’s obligation to refer a child for assessment if there is knowledge of and reason to suspect a disability. It is important for parents to know that they can agree to participate in an SST while special education evaluation is underway, but that unless they agree in writing to delay the evaluation, the legal timelines apply—and, in California, the school district has fifteen days to respond to a request for evaluation, and sixty days from date assessment plan is signed by parents to hold an eligibility determination meeting and create an IEP for eligible students. SST’s can provide important information and accommodations that may actually help the team determine eligibility later—but the parent is not required to participate in these processes, and they cannot delay the special education timelines.

(Source:  Student v. Berkeley Unified School District OAH Case No. 2013120159, Page 30)

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