Understanding Dyslexia: A Guide for Tennessee Parents and Educators
The department frequently receives questions from parents and educators regarding dyslexia and its relationship to specific learning disabilities. Additionally, several recent policy changes have precipitated a need to provide further guidance around this issue. In particular, school districts recently began implementation of the Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI²) Framework, which provides increasingly intensive, research-based interventions aligned to students’ needs. This is also the framework used to identify students with Specific Learning Disabilities according to Tennessee state law. In 2014, the legislature also passed the Dyslexia is Real Bill which requires school districts to include training on dyslexia as part of their in-service teacher training each year. More recently, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) issued a Dear Colleague letter clarifying that nothing in the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) prevents schools from referencing the term dyslexia in their evaluations or Individual Education Programs (IEPs). As a result of these significant events, a group of stakeholders was convened to develop guidance for clarifying issues related to dyslexia.

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