Dyslexia Defined

In 2015 the Indiana General Assembly passed House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1108. This law put in place an official definition for dyslexia in Indiana. This definition is based on the International Dyslexia Association’s definition of dyslexia. When referring to dyslexia, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) uses the language from House Enrolled Act 1108, which defines dyslexia as a specific learning disability that:

  • is neurological in origin and characterized by: difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities
  • typically results 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;
  • may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge; and
  • may require the provision of special education services after an eligibility determination is made in accordance with Article 7.

Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 217

With the passage of IC20-35.5, et seq., as created by Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 217 in April 2018, Indiana school corporations and charter schools’ reading plans must include screening for dyslexia risk factors and indicators in grades K-2. These areas include:

  • phonological and phonemic awareness (ability to separate and change sounds in words),
  • alphabet knowledge (identify and name letters),
  • sound symbol relationship (phonics),
  • decoding (reading words),
  • rapid naming (quickly name common objects), and
  • encoding (spelling)

If a student is determined to be at-risk for dyslexia, the school will administer an additional dyslexia screener (with parent permission), which will identify whether or not the student needs to be referred for further testing. It also requires schools to use specific response to intervention processes if screeners indicate certain characteristics of dyslexia are present.

SEA 217 Dyslexia Screening

  • Students who must be screened:
  • Students in kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2
  • A kindergarten through grade 2 student who transfers to a new school; and has not previously been screened during the school year
  • A student in grade 3 or higher who has difficulty as noted by the classroom teacher in the areas noted above
  • A student in kindergarten through grade 2 from another state who enrolls in an Indiana school for the first time unless the student has documentation that he/she has had a dyslexia or similar screen during the school year or is exempt from the screening.
  • If any of the screeners indicate that a student has the characteristics of dyslexia, the school corporation or charter school shall use the response to intervention process to address the needs of the student.
  • A school corporation or charter school is not required to administer a universal screening if the parent objects to the screening or the student is already receiving intervention services for dyslexia.
  • A parent/guardian must consent to a level 1 or 2 screening before it is administered.

SEA 217 Dyslexia Report

In accordance with the reading plan, a school must report the number of students who were:

  • Administered the universal screener
  • Determined to be at risk for dyslexia

Before July 15th of each school year, each school shall report on their website the following information:

  • The dyslexia interventions that were used during the previous year
  • The number of students during the previous school year who received dyslexia
  • The total number of students identified as being at risk for dyslexia during the previous school year
  • This information shall not be provided if fewer than 10 students are identified

2020-2021 MSD Washington Township

  • Total Number of Students Who Were Administered the Universal Screener: 2,230
  • Total Number of Students Identified as Exhibiting At-risk Characteristics of Dyslexia: 139
  • Dyslexia Reading Program/Intervention:
  • Number of Students Who Received Dyslexia Intervention:
  • The total number of students identified as being at risk for dyslexia during the previous school year: NA (Covid)

NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2019-20 school year, we had no students who received dyslexia intervention and no students were identified with dyslexia. We also did not have any intervention programs in place.

Additional Information

For more information about the new requirements under the law and the tools used, please visit https://www.doe.in.gov/literacy/dyslexia


For more information regarding characteristics of Dyslexia and intervention programming, please contact Natalie Faudree