Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 217
Effective in 2020, SEA 217 requires that Indiana's public and charter schools identify, as early as possible, struggling readers who show risk factors of dyslexia.
Dyslexia is a term for a specific developmental disorder that adversely affects the ability to read and write. Dyslexia is a common problem that affects people of all IQ levels and all walks of life across a continuum of reading ability.
Dyslexia is currently defined by the Interventional Dyslexia Association as follows:
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”
MSD of Lawrence Township SEA 217 Compliance
All students in Kindergarten through second grade participate in a universal screener called Illuminate to check six different skill areas:
- Phonological and phonemic awareness (ability to separate and change sounds in words)
- Alphabet knowledge (identify and name letters)
- Sound symbol relationships (phonics)
- Decoding (reading words)
- Rapid naming (quickly name common objects)
- Encoding (spelling)
Students who fall below benchmark on the universal screener may be considered "at risk" or "at some risk" for the characteristics of dyslexia and need some extra help to learn these skills. The school will inform families of a student is below benchmark, share the student's performance as well as information on the characteristics of dyslexia, and next steps to acquire more information on the student's skills and where to begin intervention lessons. Intervention lessons use multiple approaches for learning the skills needed to be a successful reader. Schools may use one or all of the following interventions - Orton-Gillingham, Seeing Stars, Visualizing/Verbalizing, or Leveled Literacy Instruction. Throughout the school year, schools will inform and update parents on student progress.
Intervention does NOT mean a child is receiving Special Education services. Instead, schools will use strategic and multi-sensory approaches to build the specific skills needed to be a competent reader.
At any point during the intervention process, parents or the school may request a full special education evaluation to see if the child may qualify with a special learning disability.
During the 2021-2022 school year, the MSD of Lawrence Township identified 599 students that were at risk with their reading proficiency. Of those students, 37 were diagnosed with dyslexia.