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August 20, 2018, Letter

California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
August 20, 2018

Dear Special Education Local Plan Area Directors and Special Education Administrators of County Offices of Education:

Anniversary of the California Dyslexia Guidelines Publication

In August of 2017, the California Department of Education (CDE) posted new California Dyslexia Guidelines on the CDE website. The guidelines were a result of the passage of Assembly Bill 1369, which required the CDE to develop program guidelines for dyslexia to be used to assist teachers and parents in identifying and assessing students with dyslexia, and to plan, provide, evaluate, and improve educational services to students with dyslexia.

Since the publication of the guidelines, many local educational agencies (LEAs) around the state have responded by evaluating and improving support for students with dyslexia and other struggling readers. Their efforts have included developing or revising comprehensive literacy plans, providing professional development on reading instruction and intervention, and implementing evidence-based programs and practices.

AB 1369 also directed the addition of “phonological processing” to Section 3030 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations as one of the basic psychological processes that may be evaluated to determine if a student has a specific learning disability. The revised language is cited below:

Specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may have manifested itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The basic psychological processes include attention, visual processing, auditory processing, phonological processing, sensory-motor skills, cognitive abilities including association, conceptualization and expression.

The CDE recommends that LEAs review guidance documents and forms (in particular forms used for the identification of students with specific learning disabilities) to ensure items are updated to reflect this revised language.

For any questions, or to see examples of updated LEA forms, please contact Richard Gifford, Education Programs Consultant, Special Education Division, by phone at 916-323-9782 or by email at or Theresa Costa Johansen, Education Administrator, Special Education Division, by phone at 916-445-4891 or by email at

To view and download the California Dyslexia Guidelines, visit the CDE Dyslexia Guidelines Work Group web page at


Original signed by Kristin Wright. Hard copy of the signed document is available by contacting the Special Education Division's Director's Office at 916-445-4602.

Kristin Wright, Division Director
Special Education


Last Reviewed: Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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