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A3606 Professional Development Law

A3608 Definition of Dyslexia Law

A3605/S2442 Dyslexia Screening Law

Definition of Dyslexia Law:

While the inclusion of the definition of dyslexia in the state code is comprehensive, it will not change your child’s special education classification (usually “Specific Learning Disability”). This is because special education classifications come from the federal law, IDEA. NJ receives funding from the IDEA law when they use those classifications, so if NJ creates its own dyslexia initiative classification, then NJ will have to fund that through NJ’s own state funds.

  1. Specific Learning Disability

…means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; of intellectual disability; of emotional disturbance; or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

Dyslexia Screening Law: 

This law has the ability to stop the continuation of ignoring warning signs of learning disabilities in young children. Ignoring the signs allows children to wait too long to be screened and to fail before intervention can happen.

Parents Should Know:

  • If the screening indicated the child may have dyslexia (or another reading disability) then he/she will receive a comprehensive assessment of the learning disorder
  • If the assessment confirms a diagnosis of dyslexia or another reading disability, then the child will receive appropriate evidence-based intervention strategies
  • The law does not state what will be done with children older than 2nd grade that show they may have a reading disability

Federal Dyslexia Guidance – US Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education Guidance pertaining to the DOJ publication provides clarification regarding the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in IDEA evaluation, eligibility determinations, or IEP documents. Information related to Response to Intervention (RTI), Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is provided with guidance pertaining to the determination of a disability under IDEA.

Further, the letter indicates that the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) received communications from stakeholders, including parents, advocacy groups, and national disability organizations, who believe that State and local educational agencies (SEAs and LEAs) are reluctant to reference or use dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in evaluations, eligibility determinations, or in developing the individualized education program (IEP) under the IDEA. The purpose of the letter is to clarify that there is nothing in the IDEA that would prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in IDEA evaluation, eligibility determinations , or IEP documents.

The letter also includes:

  • A reference to the definition of SLD
  • A reference to MTSS, RTI and PBIS options
  • Information regarding SLD evaluations