Dyslexia Intervention and Support Frequently Asked Questions

Banner image: Dyslexia can hide a student’s full range of strengths and abilities.  
Ohio’s literacy resources will help students see dynamic instead of dyslexic. Group of students looking into individual had mirrors

During April 2021, a new set of laws strengthening dyslexia supports for Ohio’s children went into effect. The dyslexia support laws apply to each local, city and exempted village school district in Ohio. The new dyslexia support laws establish:

More information and updates will be posted on the Ohio dyslexia supports webpage.

General Questions

Ohio Dyslexia Committee

Professional Development for Teachers

Dyslexia Screening and Intervention


General Questions

    What is dyslexia?
    Ohio law defines dyslexia as a specific learning disorder that is neurological in origin. Dyslexia is characterized by unexpected difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities not consistent with the person's intelligence, motivation and sensory capabilities. Difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language.

    Back to Top


    What is the timeline for implementation of the provisions outlined in the law? What are the timelines for administering dyslexia screeners?

    There are many different components of the law, and timelines vary for each. Below is a list of requirements and their start dates or deadlines.

    A. Committee and Guidebook

    Appoint Committee: Ohio Department of Education to appoint individuals to the Ohio Dyslexia Committee and other appointing authorities to establish selection process for appointments.
    Deadline: May 12, 2021

    Convene Committee: Convene the first meeting of the Ohio Dyslexia Committee.
    Start Date: Within 30 days after nine members have been appointed to the committee. 

    Guidebook: Ohio Dyslexia Committee to develop a dyslexia guidebook.
    Start Date: Dec. 31, 2021


    B. Tier One Dyslexia Screening

    Kindergarten Screening: Screen all Kindergarten students.
    Start Date: Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year and each school year thereafter. Screening to take place after the first day of January of the school year in which the student is enrolled in kindergarten and prior to the first day of January of the following school year.

    Elementary Grades Screening - Startup:

    • All K-3 Students: Screen all students in grades K-3.

    • Grades 4-6 by Request: Screen students in grades 4-6 upon request of a student’s parent or guardian or request of a student’s teacher with the permission of the student’s parent or guardian.

    Start Date: Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year.


    C. Transfer Student Screening

    Kindergarten Transfers: Administer a tier one dyslexia screening measure to each kindergarten student who transfers into the district or school midyear during the school's regularly scheduled screening of the kindergarten class or within 30 days after the student's enrollment if the screening already has been completed.

    Grades 1-6 Transfers: Screen each student in grades 1-6 who transfers into the district or school midyear within 30 days after the student's enrollment.
    Start Date: Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year and each year thereafter.

    Elementary Grades - Continuing: Screen all students in kindergarten and students in grades 1-6 upon request of a student’s parent or guardian or request of a student’s teacher with the permission of the student’s parent or guardian.
    Start Date: Beginning with the 2024-2025 school year and each school year thereafter.


    D. Tier Two Dyslexia Screening

    Tier Two Dyslexia Screening:
    At-Risk Students: Screen each at-risk student who does not show significant progress toward attaining grade-level reading and writing skills by the sixth week after the student is identified as at risk.
     
    At-Risk Transfer Students: In the case of a transfer student who is identified as at risk of dyslexia, a tier two dyslexia screening must be administered “in a timely manner.”
     
    Start Date: Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year and each school year thereafter.


    E. Teacher Professional Development and Certification

    Teachers complete 18 instructional hours in approved professional development courses aligned with the dyslexia guidebook.
    Start Dates:
    • Teachers of grades K-1, including special education – by the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year.
    • Teachers of grades 2-3, including special education – by the beginning of the 2024-2025 school year.
    • Special education teachers of students in grades 4-12 – by the beginning of 2025-2026 school year.

    Districts establish a structured literacy certification process for teachers.
    Start Date: Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year.
     

    Back to Top


    Does this law replace the Third Grade Reading Guarantee requirements for screening and providing Reading Improvement and Monitoring Plans?
    No, it does not replace the Third Grade Reading Guarantee requirements. The Third Grade Reading Guarantee continues to require K-3 Reading Diagnostic Assessment and Reading Improvement and Monitoring Plans (RIMP) for students who score “not on track."

    Back to Top


    How will districts cover the various costs associated with the requirements of this legislation?
    Districts should use existing local, state and allowable federal funds to cover the costs associated with the dyslexia support laws requirements. Please reference the Federal Funding Guidance document for detailed information.

    The Ohio Department of Education was required to select up to four school districts that have implemented dyslexia screening, identification and remediation services similar to those prescribed by the dyslexia support laws and analyze the financial costs of those services. The cost study analysis that was submitted to the Ohio General Assembly by Dec. 31, 2021 can be found here.

    Back to Top


    Will districts need to report data regarding implementation of the dyslexia support laws to the Ohio Department of Education?
    Districts will be required to report their dyslexia screener results to the Department. Instructions for submitting these results are forthcoming.

    Back to Top


    What information is in Ohio's Dyslexia Guidebook?
    Ohio's Dyslexia Guidebook supports district services for children with dyslexia or children displaying dyslexic characteristics and tendencies by providing best practices and methods for universal screening, intervention and remediation. These practices and methods include explanation of structured literacy programs and how those can be used. The guidebook also provides other relevant information and guidance from the Ohio Dyslexia Committee regarding screening and intervention.

    Back to Top


    What is a structured literacy approach?
    Structured literacy is an approach to teaching decoding that is systematic and cumulative, explicit and diagnostic. This approach to decoding focuses on phonology, sound-symbol association, syllables, morphology, syntax and semantics.

    Back to Top


    How can districts learn more about structured literacy programs?
    The Department, in consultation with the Ohio Dyslexia Committee, will develop structured literacy program professional development training for teachers regarding evidence-based dyslexia screening and intervention practices. More information on structured literacy is available through the International Dyslexia Association.

    Back to Top


Ohio Dyslexia Committee

    What is the Ohio Dyslexia Committee?

    The Ohio Dyslexia Committee is the group responsible for developing many of the implementation guidelines of the Ohio dyslexia support laws. The committee’s responsibilities include developing Ohio's Dyslexia Guidebook and prescribing the number of clock hours of dyslexia-related professional development required for teachers. In addition to these duties, the Ohio Dyslexia Committee may:

    1. Recommend appropriate ratios in school buildings of students to teachers who have received certification in identifying and addressing dyslexia;
    2. Recommend which additional school personnel should receive certification in identifying and addressing dyslexia, including school psychologists or speech-language pathologists; and 
    3. Consider and make recommendations regarding whether the dyslexia law’s professional development requirements should include completion of a practicum.

    Back to Top


    Who is on the Ohio Dyslexia Committee?

    The Ohio Dyslexia Committee consists of 11 members. Members were appointed by the state superintendent of public instruction (seven members), state Speech and Language Board (one member), chancellor of higher education (one member) and Ohio Chapter of the International Dyslexia Association (two members). Visit the Ohio Dyslexia Committee page for more information.

    State Superintendent of Public Instruction

    • School district superintendent

    • Elementary school principal

    • Certified classroom teacher with two years of experience teaching in a multi-sensory structured literacy program

    • Appropriately certified educational service center employee

    • School psychologist

    • Appropriately certified reading intervention specialist

    • Ohio Department of Education employee

    International Dyslexia Association of Ohio

    • Parent of a child with dyslexia or an adult with dyslexia

    • Appropriately certified board member of the International Dyslexia Association

    Chancellor of Higher Education

    • Appropriately certified individual with experience in
      higher education and teacher preparation programs

    Ohio Speech and Hearing Professionals Board

    • Appropriately certified speech-language pathologist


     

    Back to Top


Professional Development for Teachers

    Do music, art and PE teachers who serve students in grades K-3 also need to take 18 hours of dyslexia-related professional development?
    Due to recent changes from House Bill 583, music, art and PE teachers are not required to complete dyslexa-related professional development training. However, the Department will create introductory dyslexia online training that may be helpful for these teachers.
     

    Back to Top


    For teachers of unified arts (music, art and PE) across multiple grade levels, what is the timeline for completing the 6-hour professional development requirement?
    Teachers in this scenario would have the extra year to complete the 6 hours. For instance, if a licensed physical education teacher teaches that subject to students in grades K-8, then she would have until 2024-2025 to complete the six hours of professional development.
     

    Back to Top


    Our district has selected an approved professional development course that will require more than 18 hours to complete. Do we need to finish the entire course to meet the professional development requirement?
    Under the dyslexia support laws, teachers of certain subjects in specific grade bands are required to complete a minimum of 18 hours of professional development. If districts decide to use an approved training course that takes more than 18 hours to complete, districts determine locally whether the requirement is met by the full course completion or when the initial 18 hours are done.

    Back to Top


    What type of teacher professional development is required?

    The professional development required by the dyslexia support laws includes training for identifying characteristics of dyslexia and understanding the pedagogy for instructing students with dyslexia. The Ohio Dyslexia Committee has determined that teachers will need to complete 18 clock hours of PD to meet this requirement. The list of training that fulfill this requirement can be found on the Professional Development webpage.
     
    Please note: Professional development training that was completed by a teacher prior to the law’s effective date of April 12, 2021, will count toward the required number of instructional hours in professional development training only if it appears on the list of Department-approved training.

    Back to Top


    What is “structured literacy certification?”

    A structured literacy certification process has been defined by the Ohio Dyslexia Committee. Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, districts must establish their own multi-sensory structured literacy certification process for teachers that aligns to the Ohio Dyslexia Committee’s guidebook. More information is available on the Structured Literacy Certification Process webpage.

    Back to Top


    Are required teacher professional development and structured literacy certification the same thing?

    No. The professional development training and structured literacy certification are two separate requirements under the law. The professional development requires 18 hours of approved coursework (established by the Ohio Dyslexia Committee). The structured literacy certification process for teachers will be determined by districts with guidance provided by the Ohio Dyslexia Committee. Please see the table above for specific implementation dates.

    Back to Top


Dyslexia Screening and Intervention

    Will dyslexia become one of the disability categories for special education?

    No. Dyslexia will not be added as a disability category for special education.

    Back to Top


    Will an individualized education program (IEP) need to be written if a child is identified as “at risk” by the dyslexia screener?

    No. The determination of “at risk” by a dyslexia screener is not a diagnosis. If a parent or guardian thinks his or her child may have a disability that is affecting the child’s education, a request can be made to the district to evaluate the child to determine whether he or she would be eligible for special education.

    Back to Top


    How do districts find reliable screening measures?

    In the coming months, the Ohio Dyslexia Committee will develop a list of approved dyslexia screeners. The approved list will be communicated to the public and posted on the Ohio dyslexia supports website. Currently, there are no assessments approved to fulfill the requirements of the law.

    Back to Top


    What is a tier one or tier two dyslexia screening measure? When does a district use a tier one or tier two screening measure?

    Information about what qualifies as tier one or tier two dyslexia screening measure is described in Ohio's Dyslexia Guidebook. Under Ohio law, tier one dyslexia screening measures will be used by districts to identify each student who is at risk of dyslexia. Districts also must administer a tier two dyslexia screener if no progress is observed during the progress monitoring period after the tier one dyslexia screener was administered.

    Back to Top


    What must a district do if a student is identified as at risk for dyslexia according to a tier one screening measure?

    If a student is identified as at risk for dyslexia based on the student’s tier one screening measure results, districts are required to do the following:

    • Notify the student’s parent, guardian or custodian that the student has been identified as being at-risk for dyslexia;

    • Monitor the progress of each at-risk student toward attaining grade-level reading and writing skills for up to six weeks.

      • The district or school shall check each at-risk student's progress on at least the second week, fourth week and sixth week after the student is identified as being at risk.

      • If no progress is observed during the monitoring period, the district or school shall notify the parent, guardian or custodian of the student and administer a tier two dyslexia screening measure to the student.

      • Report to the student’s parent, guardian or custodian the results of the tier two screening measure within 30 days after the screening measure’s administration.

    In addition, districts will be required to follow the guidance in the forthcoming dyslexia guidebook regarding students identified as at risk for dyslexia.

    Back to Top


    What must a district do if a student is identified as having dyslexia tendencies under a tier two screening measure?

    Districts will be required to report to a student's parent or guardian the student's results on a tier two screening measure approved by the Ohio Dyslexia Committee within 30 days after the measure's administration. If, as determined by the tier two screening measure, the student is identified as having dyslexia tendencies, the student's parent or guardian will be provided with information about reading development, the risk factors for dyslexia and descriptions for evidenced-based interventions.

    If a student demonstrates markers of dyslexia, the district must provide the student’s parent, guardian or custodian with a written explanation of the district’s structured literacy program. In addition, districts will be required to follow the guidance in the forthcoming dyslexia guidebook regarding students identified as at risk for dyslexia.

    Back to Top


Last Modified: 8/3/2022 7:03:09 AM