Special Programs Office


Click to email us!

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 (Adopted by the International Dyslexia Association Board of Directors, November 12, 2002).


According to the Neuhaus Education Center (2016), An individual with dyslexia usually has several, not just one or two, of the characteristics listed below.  These characteristics usually persist over time and interfere with his or her learning. If your child is having difficulties learning to read and you have noted several of these characteristics in your child, he or she may need to be evaluated for dyslexia and/or a related disorder.


fill out form
If your child exhibits several of these characteristics, please complete THIS FORM.

Interesting Facts about Dyslexia

  • More than 25 million Americans struggle with dyslexia
  • One in twenty children have a severe case of dyslexia
  • One in five has a milder case of dyslexia
  • It is estimated that 80% of those with dyslexia have a co-existing attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD)

Severe Dyslexia

  • Permanent type of dyslexia that improves little with age
  • Found in 3-5% of the population
  • Family History
  • Intensive early training can raise most to a reading level between 4th and 6th
  • Spelling skills rarely rise over 4th grade

Mild to Moderate Dyslexia

  • With proper intervention can seem to diminish as a person matures
  • 12-14% of school population
  • Equal ratio- boys to girls
    • More identification in boys (4:1)
  • Family History

Types of Dyslexia

  • Surface dyslexia- visual interpretation of printed symbols
    • Most easily diagnosed
    • Has nothing to do with visual acuity
    • Information is “scrambled in the language portion of the left side of the brain
    • Reversals, transpositions, inversions, mirror images, and scrambled sequences
  • Dysphonetic dyslexia- inablitlity to hear separate sounds within spoken language
    • Cortex does not process speech sounds accurately
    • Sounds do not register
    • Use of similar sounding words
    • Chunks of message are left out
    • Blocks development of spelling
    • “Tone deafness
  • Dysgraphia- poor graphmotor or writing ability
    • Awkward control of the pencil
    • Cramped or illegible handwriting
    • Many suffer from hand cramps
    • Handwriting gets more illegible the longer they write
    • Appears to draw the letters
  • Mixed

Good books for more information

Reading David: A Mother and Son’s Journey Through the Labyrinth of Dyslexia by Lissa Weinstein, PhD.

Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level by Sally Shaywits, M.D.

The Many Faces of Dyslexia by Margaret Byrd Rawson


Different Is Not Bad. Different Is the World by Sally L. Smith

The Worst Speller in Junior High by Caroline Janover

Josh: A Boy with Dyslexia by Caroline Janover

How Dyslexic Benny Became a Star: A story of Hope for Dyslexic Children and Their Parents by Joe Griffith

My Name is Brain/Brian by Jeanne Betancourt

Difficulty with oral language

  •  Late in learning to talk
  •  Difficulty in pronouncing words
  •  Difficulty acquiring vocabulary or using age-appropriate grammar
  •  Difficulty following directions
  •  Confusion with before/after, right/left, etc.
  •  Difficulty learning the alphabet, nursery rhymes, or songs
  •  Difficulty understanding concepts and relationships
  •  Difficulty with word retrieval or naming problems Difficulty with reading
  •  Difficulty learning to read
  •  Difficulty with hearing and manipulating words or counting syllables in words (phonological Awareness)
  •  Difficulty distinguishing different sounds in words (Auditory Discrimination)
  •  Difficulty in learning the sounds of letters
  •  Difficulty remembering names and/or the order of letters when reading
  •  "Stumbling" through or guessing at longer words
  •  Poor reading comprehension during oral or silent reading
  •  Slow, laborious oral reading

Difficulty with written language

  • Trouble putting ideas on paper
  • Many spelling mistakes
  • Doing well on weekly spelling tests, but continuing to have many spelling mistakes in daily work
  • Difficulty in proofreading
  • Many spelling mistakes
  • Doing well on weekly spelling tests, but continuing to have many spelling mistakes in daily work
  • Difficulty in proofreading
The Dyslexia team provides dyslexia therapy in accordance to The Dyslexia Handbook 2018 Update: Procedures Concerning Dyslexia and Related Disorders, Texas Education Agency, Austin Texas, November 2018. All children deserve the opportunity to read and write with success. Our mission is to uncover and illuminate the strengths of students with dyslexia.

Team Leader Profile

Maricela Guerrero joined Dickinson ISD in 2002 as a bilingual teacher. She became an Academic Coach in 2006 and began working with dyslexic students in 2007. She then became the district dyslexia specialist and team leader in 2019.

Maricela graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Her background includes working in the career development department and legal department at Enron as a coordinator and paralegal prior to becoming a teacher.

Her goal for her team is to provide multi-sensory instruction, intervention, support, and student advocacy thereby providing the keys to unlock the potential of every student.

Dyslexia Staff


Chad Anderson



Artheuia Bluitt



Lisa Brown



Christina Burkhardt



Nancy Campbell



Denise Daniel



Zammirra Elizondo



Rebecca Gibb



Chevelle Gillespie



Sandra Gomez



Maricela Guerrero



Lisa Gustke



Dyslexia Staff


Jennifer Harmon



Fran Heilker



Angie Higgins



Jennifer Hong



Carolina Housh



Amy Laghbaum



Misty Magliolo



Diane Nix



Wendy Pineda



Kristle Steele



Gina Surovik




Dyslexia Staff Photo Collage

Dyslexia Characteristics:

  • Difficulty with oral language
  • Difficulty with written language

(please refer to list under the Dyslexia Defined tab)

If your child is exhibiting characteristics, then please click here to complete this form:   Parent Dyslexia Referral Form

Dickinson ISD has invested significant resources of time, energy and money into bringing the best training to our Dyslexia Interventionists.  We advocate following the Texas Dyslexia Handbook by providing the 8 critical evidence-based components and 6 methods of delivery of instruction (aka 8 X 6).


We advocate the use of the following methodologies:

Neuhaus Education Center

Reading by Design (ESC Region 4)


AKA 8x6

8 Critical, Evidence-Based Components


6 Methods of Delivery of Instruction

1. Phonological Awareness

(internal sound structure of words)

1. Simultaneous, Multisensory

(uses all pathways to the brain VAKT)

2. Sound-symbol Association

(alphabetic principle)

2. Systematic and Cumulative

(material follows the order of language)

3. Syllabication

(6 syllable types)

3. Explicit Instruction

(involves direct instruction that explicitly teaches each concept and leaves nothing to discovery)

4. Orthography

(written spelling patterns and rules)

4. Diagnostic Teaching to Automaticity

(Using continual assessment to teach to mastery and automaticity)

5. Morphology

(study of how morphemes are combined to form words

5. Synthetic Instruction

(how parts work to form whole)

6. Syntax

(grammar, sentence variation, mechanics of language)

6. Analytic Instruction

(breaks whole into parts)

Animoto video

7. Reading Comprehension

(extracting and constructing meaning from text)

8. Reading Fluency

(ability to read with sufficient speed and accuracy to comprehend)

For students identified with dyslexia, sometimes it is helpful knowing there are many successful people with dyslexia.


Trouble Areas:

  • Seeing how numbers fit together
  • Counting Calculating
  • Recalling math facts, like 2 + 4 = 6
  • Using concepts like “less than”
  • Using symbols like + and –
  • Telling left from right Reading a clock
  • Working with dollars and coins

Ways to Help:

  • Blocks, number lines, and other tools to visualize how to solve math problems
  • Extra time for tests and other tasks that involve math
  • Technology like calculators and math apps to help make math easier to navigate

Helpful website:


Trouble Areas:

  • Inaccurate grammar and punctuation 
  • Ideas are disorganized Ideas lack clarity
  • Mix of upper and lower case letters in one word
  • Unfinished words
  • Omission of letters and words

Ways to Help:

  • Initially, children with impaired handwriting benefit from activities that support learning to form letters: (playing with clay to strengthen hand muscles; keeping lines within mazes to develop motor control; connecting dots or dashes to create complete letter forms; tracing letters with index finger or eraser end of a pencil; imitating the teacher modeling sequential strokes in letter formation; and copying letters from models.
  • Subsequently, they benefit from instruction that helps them develop automatic letter writing, using the following steps to practice each of the 26 letters of the alphabet in a different order daily: (studying numbered arrow cues that provide a consistent plan for letter formation; covering the letter with a 3 x 5 card and imaging the letter in the mind’s eye; writing the letter from memory after interval that increases in duration over the handwriting lesson; writing letters from dictation (spoken name to letter form).
  • In addition to developing handwriting speed, they benefit from writing letters during composing daily for 5 to 10 minutes on a teacher-provided topic. Students benefit from explicit instruction in spelling throughout K-12


Helpful websites:


DISD Dyslexia Department 

Adopted 2019


All children deserve the opportunity to read and write with success.


Our mission is to uncover and illuminate the strengths of students with dyslexia.  Dyslexia Specialists will provide an Orton-Gillingham research-based approach to support academic growth in literacy.

Our Beliefs about:

Students... We believe that through the use of Orton Gillingham instruction, we provide multi-sensory instruction, intervention, support, and advocate on students’ behalf; therefore, providing the keys to unlock the potential of every student.

Parents...We believe in a support system for parents by providing quality training on characteristics of dyslexia, identification, effective teaching strategies, II qualifications, information on accommodations and modifications, and resources to facilitate their child’s academic growth.

Staff...We believe in educating teachers by disseminating information and offering practical advice on the characteristics of dyslexic students, identification of dyslexic students, effective, multisensory strategies for teaching students with dyslexia, and the accommodations needed for success in the classroom.

Dyslexia Specialists...We believe in fostering a sense of community among the department through ongoing communication and professional development.

Community...We believe that educating the citizens of Dickinson about dyslexia will promote an informed and supportive community.

The mission of the Dickinson Independent School District is to ensure that all students have safe and successful learning opportunities that help them reach their full potential and add quality throughout their lives. 

Copyright © 2016 - Dickinson Independent School District

powered by ezTaskTitanium TM