You Asked! Question 19

Download a PDF version of this You Asked question and answer HERE.

Q19:  I am confused by Chapter 10: Special Education and Section 504 Plans of the California Dyslexia Guidelines issued by California Department of Education (CDE) on August 14, 2017. Please provide clarification.

A:  The CDE received a number of comments from individuals and organizations, including Decoding Dyslexia CA, regarding concerns surrounding the information contained in Chapter 10 of the dyslexia guidelines.

The CDE corrected the dyslexia guidelines on September 14, 2017 to reflect statutory law as follows:

  1. In determining whether a student has a specific learning disability under California education law, there are three methods that can be used (i.e. severe discrepancy, response to intervention, or pattern of strengths and weaknesses). The revised guidelines have clarified this by adding an “or” between the 3 methods listed in bullet points 1 – 3 on pages 59 and 60.

Sidebar about the “use of severe discrepancy” in California:  The California Dyslexia Guidelines provide the following information cautioning against the use of severe discrepancy method listed above:

  • Under the law, severe discrepancy may be considered but must not be required (page 104, Appendix C: Legal Citations, United States Education Code, Title 20, Chapter 33, Section 1414(b)(6)),
  • Findings in neuroscience research support the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 criteria that identification of individuals with dyslexia does not require a discrepancy between reading and other cognitive abilities, such as IQ (Page 7, Chapter 2, The Neuroscience of Dyslexia).

2.  The previous statement that a 504 Plan “will not specify specialized instruction” (page 61) is incorrect and has been updated in the latest revision.

(Please refer to You Asked! questions 17 and 18 for further details on section 504 plans.)

  1. In addition, the Glossary section of the dyslexia guidelines on page 109 has been updated to reflect the addition of “phonological processing” in the definition of Specific Learning Disability (pursuant to CA Education Code Section 56334)

As there are outdated versions of the California Dyslexia Guidelines in circulation, please help us get the word out on these important statutory corrections by widely sharing the updated link to the guidelines and this You Asked! question.

For more YOU ASKED questions and answers click HERE

The Dynamic Duo of LAUSD!

The Dynamic Duo of LAUSD: How two educator/advocate/moms convinced the school board of the largest school district in California to address dyslexia, and what we can learn from their experience.

 By Cheri Rae

Longtime educators and Decoding Dyslexia CA (DDCA) Los Angeles Regional Leaders Sherry Rubacalva and Pam Cohen were determined to improve how Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) deals with dyslexia. Thanks to their efforts, the school board passed not just one, but two dyslexia resolutions in less than a year, offering a great example for other California districts to emulate.

Last fall, as many districts do, LAUSD school board members recognized October as Dyslexia Awareness Month with a ceremonial resolution. But they didn’t just leave it there. In the months that followed, they listened to the follow-up requests of Rubacalva and Cohen and other dyslexia advocates who joined them, and responded by drafting—and passing—a second resolution directing the superintendent to come up with a comprehensive plan to update the district’s dyslexia policies, procedures and practices, including staff development, reading instruction, assessments and, “ensure the provision of free and appropriate public education by providing an evidence-based, multisensory, direct, explicit, structured, and sequential approach to instructing students with dyslexia…,” and to report back “within 90 calendar days.”

That second resolution passed unanimously on June 20, with the news reverberating throughout the state.

As a result of the dyslexia resolution, LAUSD moved quickly into action, with the creation of the district’s Dyslexia Learning Group, comprised of educators, advocates and parents that will help the district develop policies and procedures to address dyslexia. They had their first meeting in July, just a month after the passage of the resolution.

A small number of committed advocates making big change in a short time—and getting positive results: This significant dyslexia action, by the largest school district in the state, serves as a great example for DDCA members to emulate in their own districts, and bring to the attention of their own school board members.

Click HERE for the full story from the author.