The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - FROM PAGE ONE -

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.

ALYSSA POINTER / [email protected]

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.

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