According to the 2018 Texas Dyslexia Handbook,
schools must offer two types of dyslexia instruction (p 22):
Standard Protocol Dyslexia Instruction
This must be available to all students in a district who are identified as dyslexic, regardless of grade. In HPISD, the program is Take Flight, and it is the only dyslexia intervention available to students served on a 504 plan.
Specially Designed Instruction
This is only available for students served on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). In HPISD, this could be Take Flight implemented with adaptations to meet the unique needs of the child (Ex. one-on-one instruction instead of small group, slower pace, etc) to ensure the student is meeting progress goals. Or, the district could use other evidence-based dyslexia interventions to provide a more individualized program (see below).
When can students begin intervention?
Once students are evaluated and identified, students must be provided dyslexia intervention without a lengthy delay. The 2018 Texas Dyslexia Handbook indicates, “In Texas, evaluation for dyslexia is conducted from kindergarten through grade 12.” (p x) The handbook elaborates further on p 78:
"Yes. The identification of dyslexia in young students in kindergarten and first grade will often occur through the observation of parents/guardians and educators that, despite active participation in comprehensive reading instruction, a child with sound reasoning and/or language ability shows limited reading progress."
It is a misnomer that students must wait until any particular grade for an evaluation or to begin intervention.
Intervention Implemented As Designed (With Fidelity)
Even with strong evidence-based interventions, it is imperative that interventions are used as they are designed (with fidelity) so that the aspects that make the intervention effective (as proven by evidence) are not lost due to modifications or deviations. The 2018 Texas Dyslexia Handbook emphasizes this on p 42:
“In addition, because effective intervention requires highly structured and systematic delivery, it is critical that those who provide intervention for students with dyslexia be trained in the program used and that the program is implemented with fidelity.”
What does fidelity look like for Take Flight?
Scottish Rite for Children, the publisher of Take Flight, provides these descriptors:
Audience: Students with dyslexia who are ages 7 and older
Entry point: All student should start Take Flight on Lesson 1 / Day 1 (vs. joining a group that has already completed part of the program)
Group size: Recommended group size of 6 students or less; can also be taught one-on-one
Time: 4 days per week for 60 min per day or 5 days per week for 45 min per day
Instructor qualifications: Bachelor's degree in education or a related field and in the process or have completed a two-year therapist training program (ie. Certified Academic Language Therapist or CALT)
Pre-Flight, also published by Scottish Rite for Children, is a more introductory program.
Audience: Students who are dyslexic or at-risk for dyslexia.*
Instructor: Same qualifications as required for Take Flight
Evaluation: Students in Pre-Flight should be evaluated for dyslexia as soon as possible. The 2018 Texas Dyslexia Handbook indicates, “In Texas, evaluation for dyslexia is conducted from kindergarten through grade 12.” (p x)
* Texas public schools require any student identified as dyslexic to receive a program that meets the requirements of Standard Protocol Dyslexia Instruction. Pre-Flight does not meet these requirements, as it is a limited, introductory program.
List of Evidence-based Dyslexia Interventions
Below are just a few of many evidence-based dyslexia interventions:
*Pre-Flight is a precursor to Take Flight, but it does not meet the criteria as a complete Standard Protocol Dyslexia Instruction.
Criteria for Dyslexia Interventions
All dyslexia interventions should meet the criteria in the 2018 Texas Dyslexia Handbook (p 40-42):
Use of Computer Programs
The 2018 Texas Dyslexia Handbook states that a computer program should not be used for primary dyslexia intervention because using computer instruction to teach reading is not supported by scientifically-based reading research. Common computer programs used for dyslexia intervention include Read Naturally, Lexia, and Nessy. These programs can be a helpful supplement when implemented and overseen by a trained teacher who monitors progress, but not as the only intervention offered.
From page 91 of the handbook:
May a computer program be used as the primary method of delivery for a dyslexia instructional program?
No. Computer instruction to teach reading is not supported by scientifically-based reading research. The National Reading Panel (2000), in its review of the research related to computer technology and reading instruction, indicated that it is extremely difficult to make specific instructional conclusions based on the small sample of research available and that there are many questions about computerized reading instruction that still need to be addressed. Additionally, in a position statement released in 2009, the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) stated, “Technology-based instruction should not be used as a substitute for a relationship with a knowledgeable, trained teacher or educational therapist. Technological innovations, however, may be extremely helpful in providing practice and reinforcement, access to information, and alternative routes of communication.”