Update: The Dyslexia Amendment has been removed from HB 2847 during the Senate Committee Hearing Process. The Senate Committee Substitute and the Conference Committee report no longer contain any provisions that would impact or change dyslexia services or licensing in Texas.
3244 2847 as currently previously written would have outlawed the provision of private services for dyslexia of any kind except by persons licensed as multisensory structured language education (MSLE) therapists. We are strongly opposed to any law that would impose unprecedented state licensing requirements on providers of services for dyslexia. Fortunately these provisions were removed from the final version of the bill.
The dyslexia provisions of this bill were originally introduced as a stand-alone bill, numbered as HB 3244. However, in the face of strong opposition, that bill was never scheduled for hearing in committee and did not progress. But on April 24, 2019, the author of HB 3244 (Miller) introduced the identical provisions as a floor amendment to HB 2847 — which had passed out of Committee as a bill related to licensing of entirely different occupations (such as laser hair removal and podiatry). Because HB 2847 was not tied to regulation of dyslexia therapy, there had been no hearings conducted on the dyslexia provisions. Rather, as a floor amendment, the matter could be introduced and voted on without significant discussion or debate.
And that is exactly what happened. The Representative who had authored the failed HB 3244 (Miller) offered the same bill as an amendment, stating, “This clarifies the licensing requirements for a Dyslexia Therapist in Chapter 403 of the occupations code. It abolishes the license practitioner license.” He did not mention that the amendments created a new definition of dyslexia therapy or that it imposed new licensing requirements on providers of private services. There was no debate or discussion. The entire process of adding and voting on the amendment took about 2 minutes to complete.
Although this amendment was passed overwhelmly, Fort Worth Rep. Strickland opposed the amendment and requested a record vote. Unfortunately his opposition was not enough to prevent the maneuvering which allowed the dyslexia licensing provisions to be passed through the Texas House without the normal process of careful consideration and public hearing when a bill is assigned to and considered by a committee.
Texas already had a limited system of voluntary licensing under a law passed in 2009 which prohibited the use of the title “licensed dyslexia therapist” by unlicensed individuals, and licensing only MSLE providers. But HB 2847 would have prohibited the private provision of all forms of dyslexia intervention and remediation except by fully licensed Dyslexia Therapists, whether or not the intervention is based on MSLE. The bill would have done that by expanding the definition of “dyslexia therapy”.
Section 2 (2-b) under the proposed “Dyslexia Therapists” section of the bill defined dyslexia therapy as “the application of nonmedical principles, methods, and procedures for identifying, mitigating, or remediating dyslexia in individuals.”
Section 5 amended Section 403.101 of the state Occupations Code to provide that subject to certain exceptions, “a person may not engage in the practice of dyslexia therapy unless the person holds a license”.
Section .009 (b) provided “A person may not practice dyslexia therapy in a private practice setting, including a learning center or clinic, unless the person is a licensed dyslexia therapist.”
The provisions of the law would not have applied to teachers employed in private or public schools, so this bill would not have impacted or changed the quality of in-school services available to dyslexic children in Texas.
The effect of this bill would have been to prevent adults and families in Texas from accessing any form of private intervention or support services for dyslexia except for the one type of tutoring. That would have included services such as the following programs currently available through dedicated learning centers established in Texas:
- Lindamood Bell Seeing Stars ®
- Lindamood Bell Visualizing and Verbalizing (V/V ® )
- Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing ® (LiPS ® )
- Brain Balance (available at Brain Balance Achievement Centers)
- LearningRx Brain Training
- Services from Dyslexia Institutes of America
The law would also have prohibited separate programs and approaches offered by qualified private individuals or at multi-service learning centers, such as the following:
- Davis ® Dyslexia Correction
- Barton Reading & Spelling System
- PACE Cognitive Training
This bill would also have strictly limited access even to the type of traditional phonics-based tutoring (Orton-Gillingham / Multisensory Language Education) that was covered by the proposed licensing standard. Practitioners who have trained through various accredited programs, such as those accredited by the International Dyslexia Association or the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators would have failed to qualify for licensing, because most of those programs do not have the 700-hour practicum requirements for “Therapist” licensing under the proposed Texas law. See Texas Dyslexia Handbook, Figure 4.1. Training Requirements for Educators Providing Dyslexia Services (at page 47).
Additionally, this law would have prohibited individual tutors from offering support to students using untitled or unbranded techniques, or based on their own experience — this would include many who are retired teachers with years of experience, even as reading specialists — but without the specific, private MSLE training that has only recently been standardized.
Groups Opposed to this Bill:
Decoding Dyslexia Texas, the leading legislative advocacy group for dyslexia, was opposed to this bill. For more information, see:
- Call to Action:
- Position Statement: