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Dyslexia Guide

Information on Dyslexia and Related Conditions

Per Act 86, the Department of Public Instruction created Wisconsin's Informational Guidebook on Dyslexia and Related Conditions.  This guidebook, linked here for your review, discusses screening, instruction and intervention, and resources that can support improved learning for school-aged individuals with characteristics of dyslexia and related conditions. The audience for this information includes parents and families, educators, interventionists or reading teachers, and educational leaders. The purpose of this guidebook is to:

  • Help learners, families, and educators understand the characteristics of dyslexia and related conditions and how they can be identified
  • Share characteristics of instruction that can effectively serve students with dyslexia and related conditions so that all Wisconsin students get the instruction/interventions they need when they need it
  • Help families understand what information to request and questions to ask to better understand their child’s strengths and needs as a learner
  • Help families understand how their child’s needs as a reader are, or can be, addressed
  • Help families understand educational language related to reading, including common terms related to assessment, instruction, and intervention
  • Help families understand the universal instruction and/or interventions educators and educational systems use and how to effectively meet the needs of readers with dyslexia or related conditions
  • Support educational systems in considering how their system addresses assessment, screening, instruction, and intervention for all readers, including those with dyslexia and related conditions and those who struggle for other reasons.

USDD’s Equitable Multi-Level System of Supports

As noted in the guidebook, identification of struggling readers early on is necessary so that appropriate, evidenced-based instructional practices can be implemented to support students. A diagnosis of dyslexia does not automatically qualify a student for district interventions. Students are identified for intervention services by following the process described below.

  • Universal screening processes take place three times per school year in fall, winter, and spring. This screening helps to identify students who are in need of additional time and support in reading and mathematics.
  • Classroom teachers use frequent formative assessments aligned with grade level standards and learning targets to identify students for additional support (Tier 2) and to make decisions that will benefit whole-group, core instruction (Tier 1).
  • Literacy coaches, interventionists, and teachers at all levels of our school system interventionists/learning support teachers at the elementary and intermediate/middle levels and the literacy coach and reading teacher at the high school level use universal screening data and classroom assessment data/input from grade level teachers to identify students in need of support above and beyond the universal classroom instruction (Tier 1) & classroom teacher intervention (Tier 2). Tier 3 interventions are based on identified foundational skill deficits and needs, as well as strengths. The goal of Tier 3 interventions is for students to demonstrate sufficient growth so their needs can be met at the Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels of intervention.
  • If a student demonstrates insufficient progress in the intensive intervention (Tier 3), the student will receive an intervention of even higher intensity, during which interventionists and literacy specialists will collaborate to assess student progress and possible next steps. 
  • At this point in the MLSS process, a student may meet Wisconsin’s special education eligibility criteria used to identify a Specific Learning Disability. Under state and federal law, special education eligibility is determined through an evaluation process. The student must meet eligibility criteria, and the team must determine whether a need for special education services exists. A diagnosis of dyslexia is made as part of an outside evaluation by a non-public school professional. 

A diagnosis of dyslexia is not a determination of special education eligibility nor does it guarantee access to  interventions. For further clarification on the relationship between Specific Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia, refer to Dyslexia and Specific Learning Disabilities from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.