Friday, April 12, 2024, the State Board of Education (SBOE) gave final approval to revisions to the Texas Dyslexia Handbook.

The SBOE’s revisions to the handbook were prompted by House Bill (HB) 3928, which made changes to law regarding dyslexia instruction and evaluation. At adoption, the SBOE made the following changes to the handbook as proposed during the public comment period that ended on April 1, 2024. The final, adopted version that reflects these changes can be found here.

  • TEA was given authority to make non-substantive, technical changes to the handbook without SBOE approval.
  • The appendix was removed from the adopted version of the handbook. This means that TEA can revise the appendix, which serves as a FAQ, without returning to the SBOE approval process.
  • TEA removed the word “trained” from “trained PDI” in relettered subsection (d) of 19 TAC 74.28.
  • TEA added that an individual who is currently working towards a Licensed Dyslexia Therapist license (LDT) or one of the “most-advanced” dyslexia-related credentials recognized by the SBOE meets the requirements under HB 3928 for the member of the multidisciplinary team (MDT)/admission, review, dismissal committee (ARD) who has specialized knowledge in dyslexia. So – if someone is enrolled in a training program that leads towards a CALT, we anticipate that this person would not need to take the Texas Dyslexia Academies (TDAs) to fulfill the HB 3928 requirement for the MDT/ARD member.
  • TEA changed the timeline for the TDAs to be completed by a member of the MDT/ARD who does not have an LDT or the “most-advanced” dyslexia-related credential. Instead of the timeline being completion by the end of the school year, the language now references a timeline of one calendar year from the date of being assigned as that particular member of the MDT/ARD.
  • TEA updated language regarding the timing of the first-grade screener. The proposed handbook stated that screening of first grade students can begin anytime in the fall as the teacher deems appropriate. The changes presented at adoption reference that the screener must occur as close to the middle of the school year as possible, concluding no later than January 31.

The handbook does not define what “available” means regarding the member of the MDT/ARD with specialized dyslexia knowledge, leaving it up to the LEA. Additionally, there is nothing prohibiting a diagnostician or school psychologist from being the person with specialized dyslexia knowledge, so long as they have one of the prescribed credentials (LDT, CALT, etc.) or have taken the TDAs within one calendar year of being designated as that particular member of the MDT/ARD.

The new handbook will go into effect 20 days after filing with the Texas Register. TEA expressed to TCASE that this will be sometime in June or July. The TDAs are expected to be available online, for free around the same time that the new rules go into effect.

Andrea Chevalier is the Director of Governmental Relations for Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education

The Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), whose hallmark is educational leaders learning with and from each other, has served Texas PK-8 school leaders since 1917. Member owned and member governed, TEPSA has more than 6000 members who direct the activities of 3 million PK-8 school children. TEPSA is an affiliate of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

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