WHAT THE LAW SAYS ABOUT DYSLEXIA
Georgia law is silent on dyslexia, but schools must comply with federal law. According to the 2018 Georgia Senate study committee on dyslexia:
■ The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 includes dyslexia in the category of a“specific learning disability”that may entitle students to special education services.
■ However, that federal law doesn’t define dyslexia, nor does it dictate the services or accommodations to be provided to students with the condition.
The Southern Regional Education Board says federal law requires schools to identify students with disabilities, including those with dyslexia. Whether or not such students have a dyslexia diagnosis, schools must consider whether their reading disability is severe enough to warrant special services.
Though dyslexia is not mentioned in Georgia law, state school board policy notes that federal law says having dyslexia could
qualify a student as having a disability needing special education services. The Georgia Department of Education says determinations of service are based on an analysis of the student’s academic performance, along with other considerations, such as vision, hearing and cognition. If the student is behind where he or she should be based on measures of intelligence and doesn’t improve with instructional interventions, experts will determine whether special education services are merited.
Amelia, a Benteen Elementary kindergartner, sounds out a word during a phonics lesson Thursday at the Atlanta school. As students age past third grade, a teaching adage goes, they shift from learning to read to reading to learn. Any delay in acquiring the skill can doom a student’s prospects.