Northwest Independent School District supports the educational concept that reading, writing, and spelling skills provide the foundation for overall academic success. Opportunities are provided for students who are experiencing difficulty in acquiring basic language arts skills. This service is provided by a campus based teacher trained in dyslexia.  The dyslexia trained teacher uses intensive small group and individual activities to provide services for struggling readers including students with dyslexia. Interventions incorporate the components of a dyslexia program outlined in the Dyslexia Handbook published by theTexas Education Agency. The dyslexia program also utilizes strategies appropriate for struggling readers as well as students identified with dyslexia. Using this method of learning, students are able to grasp skills at a much faster rate and are ready to move into higher levels of application.

Structured intervention is designed for a period of time appropriate for each individual student in kindergarten through grade twelve. Beginning at sixth grade, reading instruction is offered as an elective to those students determined by the Committee of Knowledgable Persons may benefit from a multisensory and phonetically based approach to reading, writing, and spelling. Many connections are made to support classroom instruction in the core classes.

When a Campus Referral Committee meets on the campus and suspects that a particular child is displaying characteristics of dyslexia, a 504 referral process is started. The evaluation for dyslexia will  assess the child's ability and achievement using a battery of tests. According to the Texas Education Agency guidelines, the battery of tests includes, but is not limited to: a measure of intelligence, achievement testing, and phonological awareness testing. Upon the completion of testing by the evaluator of dyslexia, a campus forms a committee of knowledgeable persons which is at least but not limited to persons knowledgeable about the reading process, dyslexia and dyslexia instruction, the assessments used, and the meaning of the collected data.  The committee of knowledgeable persons  will meet  to review the assessment results of the child. Based on the evaluation data, the committee will determine if the child's assessments shows characteristics of dyslexia. If such characteristics are noted in the testing, the child may qualify for Northwests dyslexia program.
*Students with other factors that complicate their dyslexia may require additional support or referral to Section 504 or special education.  Not all student with dyslexia are eligible for Section 504 or special education.
Tiered Interventions
The tiered options are based on the amount of intervention needed for the child to be successful in the regular classroom. The placement options become progressively more intensive at each tier. The tier options are:
  • Tier I:  Core Classroom Reading Instruction
    Tier I should involve the use of a scientifically based core instructional program for all students; a universal screening in essential academic areas to identify each student's level of proficiency (three times per year); and teachers' use of flexible grouping to target specific skills and differentiate instruction for at-risk students.  Ongoing assessment of progress and monitoring of reading achievement gains are required for students identified as at risk, based on the univeral screening.
  • Tier 2 Intervention
    Tier II is designed to meet the needs of students who do not respond to the scientifically based core reading instruction provided in the regular classroom setting.  These students should be provided intensive small group reading instruction.  The reading intervention should be scientifically based, emphasizing the five essential components of early literacy (i.e., phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension .  Progress monitoring at least twice a month on targeted skills should occur to ensure adequate progress and learning.   goals for student should be established.  Progress monitoring data should be documented.  Students who meet set criteria on targeted skills as a result of Tier II intereventions are reintegrated into the traditional instructional program or regular classroom setting (Tier I).  If at any time during the student's  progess in the essential components of reading warrants continued intervention AND the student demonstrates characteristics associated with dyslexia, the student should be recommended for a formal assessment of dyslexia.
 Tier III:  Intensive Instruction
 Note: prior to Tier III instruction, students who exhibit the characteristics of dyslexia should be formally assessed.

A small percentage of student who have received Tier II supplemental instruction    continue to show marked difficulty in acquiring necessary reading skillls.  These students require instruction that is more explicit, more intensive, and specifically designed to meet their individual needs.  Some of these students may be students with dyslexia.  Students who meet identification through formal assessment as a student with dylseixa whould receive small group dyslexia instruction using a program characterized by the descriptors found in the Texas Dyslexia Handbook.  Progress monitoring at least twice a month on targeted skills should occur to ensure adequate progress and learning

Discontinuation from Direct Services
No one factor is sufficient to warrant exiting a student from direct dyslexia services after intervention. Discontinuation from direct services is determined by Campus 504 Committee or a Committee of Knowledgable Persons. The Committee considers the following factors when recommending exiting or a reduction of dyslexia services.
  • Completing the scope and sequence reading programs used in the dyslexia program;
  • The student passed the reading portion of the TAKS;
  • The reevaluation and/or post-testing of students shows growth to be closer to age/grade level proficiency standards;
If the student has made ONLY limited academic progress while being directly served, a referral to special education may be appropriate.

FAQ about Dyslexia
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological 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. Dyslexia is a disorder that makes it difficult for individuals of average or above average intelligence to read, write, and spell and sometimes to compute, organize, and comprehend material in their native language. It often runs in families. Many individuals learn to compensate for or practically overcome their weaknesses through proper teaching methods and practice.
How would I know if my child has dyslexia?
The characteristics of dyslexia vary from person-to-person. Some children experience problems in many areas while some may have a difficulty in only one area. Many children exhibit one or more of the following characteristics; however, persistent occurrences should alert teachers and parents to the possibility of dyslexia:
Delays in learning in spoken language.
Problems in learning the names of the letters of the alphabet.
Difficulty in learning to read.
Difficulty in finding that "right" word when speaking.
Late in establishing preferred hand for writing.
Late in learning right and left and other directionality components such as up-down, front-behind, east-west, and others.
Problems in learning the concept of time and temporal sequencing, i.e., yesterday-tomorrow, days of the week, and months of the year.
Difficulty in learning to write the alphabet correctly in sequence.
Reversal of letters or sequences of letters/numbers after age 8-9.
Repeated erratic spelling errors.
Ability to learn to spell a "list" of words sufficiently to "pass" a weekly test, but may be unable to spell any of the words the next week.
Strong listening comprehension skills.
Ability to express self orally but unable to write what s/he has said.
Inability to rhyme or "play with sounds" in words.
Family history of similar problems.
What do I do if I think my child has dyslexia?
Discuss your concerns with your child's teacher. You have a right to ask for your child to be assessed for dyslexia by your child's school.
Your child will be given a series of assessments, which will enable a campus committee and you to determine the most appropriate instructional program for your child. The assessment instruments are designed to determine how well your child can decode words, understand what s/he reads, understand what s/he hears, and how well s/he communicates thoughts in writing. The assessment is conducted at the child's campus.
What happens after my child is assessed?
You will be invited to a Section 504 Evaluation Meeting at your child's school. During that meeting, you will be given the following information:
Parents' Rights and Responsibilities under Section 504.
Results of your child's screening.
Other data which may have been collected concerning your child which is necessary for the committee's decision of services.
Decision of the Committee of Knowledable Persons
Accommodations (if applicable).
What is the relationship between dyslexia and special education?
Dyslexia is a form of a learning disability in reading. If the dyslexia is very severe and the student is not progressing academically, more intensive specialized instruction may be required than that provided in the general education classroom. To qualify for special education services, a student must be assessed and meet federal and state criteria. The counselor at your school will work with you when considering a referral for special education assessment.
What program is available for my child?
The Northwest Independent School District's Dyslexia Program includes a variety of instructional techniques. Under a state law passed in 1986, each campus is to have a program for students identified as having characteristics of dyslexia and/or related disorders.

Programs for students with dyslexia must be:

individualized to meet the unique learning needs of the student;
multi-sensory, using visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic techniques;
phonologically based;
meaning based;
systematic, sequential, and cumulative;
process oriented.


 Dyslexia Handbook published by the Texas Education Agency, Department of Curriculum and Professional Development. Also included is information on the Student Success Initiative. These documents are available in both Spanish and English.

International Dyslexia Association
The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) (formerly The Orton Dyslexia Society) is an international, 501(c)(3) non-profit, scientific and educational organization dedicated to the study and treatment of dyslexia.

Dallas Area Branch of International Dyslexia Association
This scientific and educational organization is dedicated to the study and treatment of the learning disability, dyslexia. This Branch was formed to increase public awareness of dyslexia, and through our Seminars, Conferences, and Workshops, have been serving individuals with dyslexia, their families, and professionals in the North Texas area.

A not-for-profit organization that provides a proven, multisensory approach to teaching the basic language skills of reading, writing and spelling to all students, including students with learning differences, especially dyslexia.
A service of The Learning Project at WETA, Washington, D.C., in association with The Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities. LD OnLine is made possible in part by generous support from The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, NEC Foundation of America and Long Aldridge & Norman.
If you have any questions regarding the NISD Dyslexia Program, please contact
Suzie McNeese, Director of Student Services, at 817-215-0982.