Dyslexia & 504

Section 504

WHAT IS section 504?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was designed to eliminate discrimination against any student with a disability in any program offered by the school district. Section 504 states that:

No otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any other program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

WHAT IS the definition of a disabled student under section 504?

A disabled student is one who:

  • Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including learning;
  • Has a record of such impairment; or
  • Is regarded as having such impairment

    WHAT IS a "major life activity"?

    Major life activities are:

    Caring for oneself, doing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, breathing, standing, lifting, bending, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working, or the operation of a major bodily function. An impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities in order to be considered a disability.

    how does section 504 eligibility work?

    Section 504 is intended to "level the playing field" usually by eliminating barriers.

    The following questions should be addressed when considering eligibility for Section 504 accommodations:

  • Is the student's condition physical or mental?
  • Does the condition impair a major life activity?
  • Is the degree of this impairment substantially limiting as compared to the general population?
  • Does the student's condition require any accommodations in order for the student to access an educational activity?
  • Would the impairment substantially limit a student in a major life activity if they were not getting a mitigating measure?


    WHAT rights do students and families have under section 504?

    The parent/s or guardian of students being considered for Section 504 eligibility shall be given the "Notice of Parent and Student Rights" under Section 504.

  • The parent/s or guardian must be notified in writing of all District decisions concerning the identification, evaluation, or placement of their student in Section 504.
  • The parent/s or guardian has the right to review student records as per Board Policy.
  • The parent/s or guardian has the right to appeal the decisions of the Campus 504 Committee and to question the implementations of individual accommodations to the District 504 Director.
  • The parent/s or guardian has the right to file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights in Dallas, Texas. For more information about Section 504 law, visit the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights web site.

    Who should be contacted about a student qualifying for services under section 504?

    Every campus has a designated Campus 504 Coordinator. Contact your home campus if you have questions or contact the District 504 Specialist. You can find their name and email under the "Contact Us" section.



    what is dyslexia?

    Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological 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.

    Texas Education Code (TEC) §38.003 defines dyslexia in the following way:

    “Dyslexia” means a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity.

    primary characteristics: 

    • Difficulty decoding words
    • Difficulty reading words in isolation
    • Poor reading fluency (rate and/or accuracy)
    • Poor spelling
    The above weaknesses are unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and effective classroom instruction.

    Underlying Cause:

    • Difficulties with phonological processing
    • Phonemic awareness
    • Rapid Naming
    • Phonological Memory

    Possible secondary outcomes:

    • Weaker reading comprehension
    • Weaker reading vocabulary & background knowledge
    • Weaker written expression



    • Developmental Auditory Imperceptions
    • Dysphasia
    • Specific Developmental Dyslexia
    • Developmental Dysgraphia
    • Developmental spelling disability



    Dyslexia Instructional Components

    School districts may purchase a reading program or develop their own reading program for students with dyslexia and related disorders as long as the program is characterized by the descriptors found in The Dyslexia Handbook [19 TAC §74.28(c)].


    • Phonological awareness – Phonological awareness is the understanding of the internal sound structure of words. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a given language that can be recognized as being distinct from other sounds. An important aspect of phonological awareness is the ability to segment spoken words into their component phonemes.
    • Sound-symbol association – Sound-symbol association is the knowledge of the varies speech sounds in any language to the corresponding letter or letter combinations that represent those speech sounds. The mastery of sound/symbol association (alphabetic principle) is the foundation for the ability to read (decode) and spell (encode). Explicit phonics refers to an organized program in which these sound symbol correspondences are taught systematically.
    • Syllabication – A syllable is a unit of oral or written language with one vowel sound. The six basic types of syllables in the English language include the following; closed, open, vowel-e consonant-e, r-controlled, vowel pair (or vowel team), and consonant-le (or final stable syllable). Rules for dividing syllables must be directly taught in relation to the word structure.
    • Orthography – Orthography is the written spelling patterns and rules in a given language. Students must be taught the regularity and irregularity of the orthographic patterns of a language in an explicit and systematic manner. The instruction should be integrated with phonology and sound-symbol knowledge.
    • Morphology – Morphology is the study of how a base word, prefix, root, suffix (morphemes) combine to form words. A morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning in a given Language.
    • Syntax – Syntax is the sequence and function of words in a sentence in order to convey meaning. This includes grammar and sentence variation and affects choices regarding mechanics of a given language.
    • Reading comprehension – Reading comprehension is the process of extracting and constructing meaning through the interaction of the reader with the text to be comprehended and the specific purpose for reading. The reader's skill in reading comprehension depends upon the development of accurate and fluent word recognition, oral language development (especially vocabulary and listening comprehension), background knowledge, use of appropriate strategies to enhance comprehension and repair it if it breaks down, and the reader's interest in what he or she is reading and motivation to comprehend its meaning.
    • Reading fluency – Reading fluency is the ability to read text with sufficient speed and accuracy to support comprehension. Teachers can help promote fluency with several interventions that have proven successful in helping students with fluency (e.g., repeated readings, word lists, and choral reading of passages).

    While it is necessary that students are provided intervention in the above content, it is also critical that the way in which the content is delivered be consistent with research0based practices. Principles of effective intervention for students with dyslexia include all of the following:


    • Simultaneous, multisensory (VAKT) – Multisensory instruction utilizes all learning pathways in the brain (visual, auditory, kinesthetic-tactile) simultaneously in order to enhance memory and learning" (Birsh, 2011, p. 19). "Children are actively engaged in learning language concepts and other information, often by using their hands, arms, mouths, eyes, and whole bodies while learning.
    • Systematic and cumulative – Systematic and cumulative instruction requires the organization of material follow order of the language. The sequence must begin with the easiest concepts and progress methodically to more difficult concepts. Each step must also be based on elements previously learned. Concepts taught must be systematically reviewed to strengthen memory.
    • Explicit instruction – Explicit instruction is explained and demonstrated by the teacher one language and print concept at a time, rather than left to discovery through incidental encounters with information. Poor readers do not learn that print represents speech simply from exposure to books or print. Explicit instruction is an approach that involves direct instruction: The teacher demonstrates the task and provides guided practice with immediate corrective feedback before the student attempts the task independently.
    • Diagnostic teaching to automaticity – Diagnostic teaching is knowledge of prescriptive instruction that will meet individual student needs of language and print concepts. The teaching plan is based on continual assessment of the student's retention and application of skills. This teacher knowledge is essential for guiding the content and emphasis of instruction for the individual student. When a reading skill becomes automatic (direct access without conscious awareness), it is performed quickly in an efficient manner.
    • Synthetic instruction – Synthetic instruction presents the parts of any alphabetic language (morphemes) to teach how the word parts work together to form a whole (e.g., base word, derivative).
    • Analytic instruction – Analytic instruction presents the whole (e.g., base word, derivative) and teaches how the whole word can be broken into its component parts (e.g., base word, prefix, root, and suffix).

    *All information is cited from Dyslexia Handbook.


    Dyslexia Accommodations

    Listed below are possible accommodations for the §504, or Admission, Review, Dismissal (ARD) Committee of Knowledgeable Persons to consider for a student with dyslexia. This is not an exclusive list.


    • Provide audiotapes/CDs of textbooks and have student follow the text while listening
    • Provide summaries of chapters
    • Use marker or highlighting tape to highlight important textbook sections
    • Assign peer reading buddies
    • Use colored transparency or overlay
    • Review vocabulary prior to reading
    • Provide preview questions
    • Use videos/filmstrips related to the readings
    • Provide a one-page summary and/or a review of important facts
    • Do not require student to read aloud
    • Talk through the material one-to-one after reading assignments
    • Shorten assignments to focus on mastery of key concepts
    • Shorten spelling tests to focus on mastering the most functional words
    • Substitute alternatives for written assignments (posters, oral/taped or video presentations, projects, collages, etc.)
    Classroom Environment
    • Provide a computer for written work
    • Seat student close to teacher in order to monitor understanding
    • Provide quiet during intense learning times


    • Give directions in small steps and with as few words as possible
    • Break complex direction into small steps—arrange in a vertical list format
    • Read written directions to student, then model/demonstrate
    • Accompany oral directions with visual clues
    • Use both oral and written directions
    • Ask student to repeat; check for understanding
    • Use worksheets that require minimal writing
    • Provide a “designated note taker;” photocopy another student’s or teacher’s notes
    • Provide a print outline with videotapes and filmstrips
    • Allow student to use a keyboard when appropriate
    • Allow student to respond orally
    • Grade only for content not spelling or handwriting
    • Have student focus on a single aspect of a writing assignment (elaboration, voice, etc.)
    • Allow student to dictate answer to essay questions
    • Reduce copying tasks
    • Reduce written work
    • Allow student to use a calculator without penalty
    • Use visuals and concrete examples
    • Use grid paper to help correctly line up math problems
    • Present information in small increments and at a slower pace
    • Take time to reteach if student is struggling to understand
    • Read story problems aloud
    • Break problems into smaller steps
    • Provide opportunity to test orally
    • Allow student to type responses
    • Read test to student
    • Evaluate oral performances more than written
    • Avoid penalizing for spelling errors, reversals, etc.
    • Go over directions orally
    • Permit as much time as needed to complete tests; avoid timed testing
    • Read test materials and allow oral responses
    • Separate content from mechanics/conventions grade
    • Provide typed test materials, not tests written in cursive
    • Allow student to respond on tape, with a typewriter, or by dictating answers to a tutor for assessment
    • Allow tests to be taken in a room with few distractions
    • Reduce reading assignments; keeping concepts that have been taught
    • Accept work dictated by student to a parent/tutor
    • Limit amount of time to spend on homework; have parents verify time spent on assignments


    Parent Resources

    International Dyslexia Association

    The most comprehensive Dyslexia website in the world

    About Dyslexia and Reading Problems

    Information regarding reading difficulties and Dyslexia

    Dyslexia and the Brain: What Does Current Research Tell Us?

    Informative article from LD Online.Org

    Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts

    A premier website for reading interventions and strategies from the University of Texas at Austin

    Florida Center for Reading Research

    Another outstanding reading website from the Florida Center for Reading Research

    Southwest Educational Development Laboratory

    A cognitive framework of reading

    Adolescent Literacy

    Information on adolescent literacy--check the links on the left column for more information on essential components, instructional strategies and instructional leadership

    Dysgraphia--Strategies for Dealing with Dysgraphia (Writing Difficulties)

    Dealing with handwriting difficulties
    Contact Us

    Rolando Espericueta
    504/MTSS/Dyslexia Coordinator

    210-898-2543  x2535 | Email

    Stafford ECC
    611 SW 36th St.
    San Antonio, TX 78237

    Genevieve Guerra
    Dyslexia/504 Specialist

    210-898-2043 x2529 | Email

    Dyslexia Teacher/Evaluator By Campus


    Viviana Farias

    [email protected] | 210-898-4190

    Henry B. Gonzalez

    Clarissa Gallardo

    [email protected] | 210-898-4230

    Las Palmas

    Mario Ortiz

    [email protected] | 210-898-4210

    Loma Park

    Arminda Escobedo

    [email protected] | 210-898-4220

    Lyndon B. Johnson

    Velma Bendele

    [email protected] | 210-898-4240

    Clarissa Gallardo

    [email protected] | 210-898-4240


    Velma Bendele

    [email protected] | 210-898-4260


    Tanya Matos

    [email protected] | 210-898-4180

    Roy Cisneros

    Mario Ortiz

    [email protected] | 210-898-4170


    Marisela Diaz

    [email protected] | 210-898-4250


    Patricia Rodriguez

    [email protected] | 210-898-4130

    Brentwood STEAM 

    Norma Borrego

    [email protected] | 210-898-4120

    Gus Garcia

    Isabel Vasquez

    [email protected] | 210-898-4160

    Wrenn MS

    Christina Martinez

    [email protected] | 210-898-4140

    Kennedy HS

    Norma Borrego

    [email protected] | 210-898-4100

    Memorial HS

    Isabel Vasquez

    [email protected] | 210-898-4110

    Please visit the Edgewood ISD Special Education Department page for related information.