TEA Provides Clarification on the Implementation of HB 3928
As you gear up for the beginning of the school year, your special education teams are likely discussing the new dyslexia bill, HB 3928, and how these recent legislative changes will impact your operations. In case you missed it, we provided an overview of the bill’s new requirements on our blog back in June, which you can find here.
On August 3, 2023, TEA released an FAQ guidance document in an effort to assist local education agencies in the implementation of HB 3928 while the State Board of Education works to update the Dyslexia Handbook. While we highly recommend a thorough review of the entire FAQ document, below is a summary of TEA’s current guidance on some of the more common questions we have been receiving.
Type of Specific Learning Disability
- The condition of dyslexia, if identified, must be documented and used in a student’s evaluation and any resulting IEP. However, for purposes of the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS), 34 C.F.R. §300.311 requires specific documentation of a child’s eligibility determination as a child with an SLD. As a result of the bill, TEA anticipates that each LEA will add dyslexia to its list of SLD areas. In other words, dyslexia would be added to the existing list of SLD areas (e.g., basic reading skill, math calculations, reading fluency, written expression) so that ARD committees can simply select “dyslexia” to indicate the type of SLD identified.
Required Member of Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team and ARD Committee
- When dyslexia is suspected, a person with specific knowledge in the reading process, dyslexia and related disorders, and dyslexia instruction must serve on the LEA’s multidisciplinary evaluation team and any ARD committee that is convened to determine eligibility for special education and related services. There are 3 ways an individual can meet the required qualifications: (1) be a licensed dyslexia therapist; (2) hold the most advanced dyslexia-related certification from an organization recognized by TEA; or (3) if neither is available, meeting training requirements to be determined by the SBOE.
- This individual is not required to attend every ARD meeting. Attendance is only required at any ARD meeting convened for the purpose of determining eligibility for special education and related services. This means that the member must be a part of an ARD committee meeting that determines initial eligibility and any meeting at which a change in and/or continued eligibility is discussed, as in a re-evaluation.
- This individual will document participation in the process by signing the evaluation report and the IEP signature page.
- An evidence-based dyslexia program (formerly referred to as standard protocol dyslexia instruction) is considered specially designed instruction and is a special education service.
- If a student is identified as SLD for dyslexia and the student needs an evidence-based dyslexia program, both prongs of IDEA eligibility have been met and the student must be found eligible for special education services.
- Districts are required to begin the process of transitioning students currently using an evidence-based dyslexia program under Section 504 to special education. To do so, Section 504 committees must begin the process of discussing a student’s continued need for an evidence-based dyslexia program and submitting referrals for FIEs (or REEDs for students who may have already received an FIE under the IDEA).
- TEA anticipates that LEAs will hold a Section 504 meeting as soon as possible but no later than by the end of the 2024-2025 school year. Students may continue receiving evidence-based dyslexia instruction under a Section 504 plan until the student is found eligible for an IEP.
- Beginning this school year, if a parent refuses consent for an FIE or refuses to consent to special education and related services, a student is not entitled to receive an evidence-based dyslexia program. A parent’s refusal to consent to an FIE does not prohibit the student from receiving other support services from which they may benefit and that are available to all students. A student with a Section 504 accommodation plan would also be entitled to those supports but is not entitled to an evidence-based dyslexia program because it is specially designed instruction.
- When an ARD committee determines a student with dyslexia no longer requires an evidence-based dyslexia program, it might determine that the student still would benefit from regular education aids and services (e.g., instructional accommodations) and may exit the student from special education and transition the student to Section 504.
- The evidence-based dyslexia program will be documented as a special education service that is received in a special education location. Frequency and duration of services should be documented.
- Progress reporting is required for students with an IEP; however, during the anticipated timeframe at which students transition to receiving dyslexia instruction only under and IEP, any student that is provided an evidence-based reading program under a Section 504 accommodation plan must have a progress report prepared and communicated to a parent specifically on the student’s progress as a result of that program at least once per grading period.
Providers of Dyslexia Instruction (PDI)
- Every PDI must be trained in the LEA’s adopted materials for students with dyslexia.
- A PDI does not have to be a certified special education teacher unless the individual is employed in a special education position that requires that certification. LEAs will determine whether the position requires the certification.
- If the PDI is not a special education teacher, a certified special education teacher is required to be involved in the implementation of the student’s IEP through the provision of direct, indirect and/or support services to the student in the general education classroom and/or in collaboration with the student’s general education classroom teacher and the PDI.
- While a PDI will play a critical role in the development of a student’s IEP, if the PDI is not a certified special education teacher, the PDI cannot fulfill the role of a special education teacher as a required ARD committee member, so both will likely be a part of the ARD committee.
- Because PDIs will be providing instruction through the evidence-based dyslexia program that is considered special education, the PDI can be paid through federal or state special education funds.
According to TEA, its questions and answers are subject to modification and revision as the field, TEA, and parents/guardians learn more about the bill’s impacts and the upcoming decisions of the SBOE. Pending the update to the Dyslexia Handbook, in the event of a conflict between this FAQ and the current Dyslexia Handbook, practitioners should follow the FAQ.
If you have questions about these new requirements or other special education issues, please contact the authors of this article or any member of our Special Education Team.