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Special Education

Specific Learning Disability: Dyslexia


The International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia in their comprehensive "IDA Dyslexia Handbook: What Every Family Should Know" as:

"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."

Special Education Definitions
Specific Learning Disability:



In September 2016, the United States Senate passed the Senate Resolution 576 which "designates October 2016 as National Dyslexia Awareness Month, and calls on Congress, schools, and educational agencies to recognize that dyslexia has significant educational implications that must be addressed."


The Legislature approved Chapter 272 of the Acts of 2018 on October 19, 2018. The new law requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), in consultation with the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) to "issue guidelines to assist districts in developing screening procedures or protocols for students that demonstrate one or more potential indicators of a neurological learning disability, including, but not limited to, dyslexia."

Dyslexia-Related Resources:

Please note that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education does not endorse the use of any product. The resources below are not intended to be comprehensive but rather serve as suggestions of tools that professionals may wish to consider using when working with students with dyslexia.

General Resources



IEP Related

Accommodations & Assistive Technology:

Specially Designed Instruction

Social Emotional Needs

State Dyslexia Guidelines

DESE Professional Development Opportunities:

Last Updated: May 4, 2021

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