Author: Colby Mills, Attorney at Law
On August 14, 2017, the California Superintendent of Public Instruction released “The California Dyslexia Guidelines,” as required by Assembly Bill 1369 (2015) and California Education Code Sections 56334 and 56335.
The California Dyslexia Guidelines (which can be found by clicking the associated link) are intended “to assist regular education teachers, special education teachers, and parents in identifying, assessing, and supporting students with dyslexia.” The Guidelines “draw on both current research and the collective professional wisdom and experience of the members of the Dyslexia Guidelines Work Group, which met in a series of seven meetings from April 2016 through March 2017.”
The Guidelines state that dyslexia may “be understood as one type of a specific learning disability,” and is “characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.”
The Guidelines address:
- Screening and assessment for dyslexia;
- Assessment tools;
- Special Education and 504 plans;
- Current understanding of the neuroscience behind dyslexia;
- Dyslexia’s nature as a language–learning disability;
- Symptoms, strengths, weaknesses, and socio-emotional factors of dyslexia;
- Dyslexia and English-language learners;
- Preparation of and for Educators;
- Effective approaches and strategies for teaching students with dyslexia;
- Assistive technology and dyslexia; and
- Information for parents and guardians.
It is important to note that the guidelines are not binding on local educational agencies or other entities. However, the guidelines can help assist educational professionals in serving students with dyslexia.
The Dyslexia Guidelines Work Group webpage (http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/ac/dyslexia.asp) states that the “the document is exemplary, and compliance with it is not mandatory” “[e]xcept for the statutes, regulations, and court decisions” the Guidelines reference.