The U.S.Department of Education has issued a new “Dear Colleague” letter clarifying the responsibilities of educators in providing services to children with dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This official communication was issued on October 23, 2015, in response to complaints that State and local educational agencies are are reluctant to use these specific terms in the context of developing an IEP.
The purpose of the letter is to clarify that “there is nothing in the IDEA that would prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in the IDEA evaluation, eligibility determinations, or IEP documents.”
While these letters do not have the force of law, they should provide support to parents who complain that their schools are unwilling to test for dyslexia or to include provisions targeted toward dyslexia in their child’s IEP. This letter contains citations to appropriate provisions of law and regulations, and concludes:
In implementing the IDEA requirements discussed above, OSERS encourages SEAs and LEAs to consider situations where it would be appropriate to use the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia to describe and address the child’s unique, identified needs through evaluation, eligibility, and IEP documents. OSERS further encourages States to review their policies, procedures, and practices to ensure that they do not prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in evaluations, eligibility, and IEP documents. Finally, in ensuring the provision of free appropriate public education, OSERS encourages SEAs to remind their LEAs of the importance of addressing the unique educational needs of children with specific learning disabilities resulting from dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia during IEP Team meetings and other meetings with parents under IDEA.