20th Annual CESD Texas Dyslexia Conference (Hybrid Style)

October 25-26, 2021
October 25-26, 2021
November 1-23, 2021
November 1-23, 2021

For Fall 2021, we've prepared an in-person option at our new Conference Home if you are ready to mask up and travel...

Having outgrown our old home, we've moved to the Kalahari Resorts in Round Rock (just north of Austin). Attendees will enjoy significantly more elbow room, a variety of choices for in-hotel dining, more guest rooms available at the Conference Rate... and admission to the largest indoor waterpark in the United States for registered hotel guests.  We'll be practicing safe conferencing with masks required of all attendees.

Kalahari Safety

....And an option if you don't want to travel or don't feel safe doing so.

A week after the in-person conference, we'll begin the virtual conference. Registrants will be able to see all of the sessions via pre-recorded video except the two Q&A's with Dave and Jose. Two Q&A's will be scheduled during the conference window dedicated to live questions from virtual conference attendees.


Among the benefits of a virtual conference is the ability for an attendee to see every session and do so at a convenient time during our conference window. Beginning on November 1, 2021, registered attendees will be able to stream sessions in any order they wish, as many times as they wish, during the following three weeks until the virtual conference concludes on November 23, 2021.

Will I have to lug around that heavy conference notebook? Do Virtual Attendees get access to materials?

The bulky notebooks are gone. Attendees at both the in-person Conference and Virtual Conference will get all that conference content you love (PowerPoint slides, links, and other resources) with a single PDF that you can download and follow during the conference on your electronic device. If you'd rather have it on paper, you can print any or all of the materials, make your notes on them, and still have a PDF to print a clean copy if you'd like. The notebook will be available for registered attendees to download from Dropbox or Google Drive during the week preceding the in-person conference.

The Conference + A Free Post-Conference Update

When the dust settles from the revisions to the Orange Book, join Jose Martin & Dave Richards for a live online follow-up session to discuss what we've learned. All registered attendees at the 20th Annual Dyslexia Conference (in-person and virtual) will have access to the live session with live Q&A opportunities.  Keep an eye on your email for more information.

Dyslexia Orange Book Update? We've got you covered

In a "To the Administrator Addressed Letter" dated September 23, 2021 TEA confirmed that revisions to the Dyslexia Handbook are imminent. The changes have been approved by the State Board of Education and are to be published in the Texas Register. Twenty days after being published, the rule changes go into effect.

We've already made changes to the agenda to make room for the new revisions including a general session by school attorney Dave Richards. Dave will provide an introduction to the revisions.  and answer some of those questions that begin "How does this affect....   Later on the first day of the conference, school attorney Jose Martin provides a breakout session focusing on Dyslexia and Special Ed under the new one pathway approach.  See below for the new session descriptions

What happened to the Pre-Conference for folks new to Section 504?

CESD's Section 504 Pre-Conference was a very well-attended add-on for folks new to Section 504 and those who wanted to brush up on the basics. After looking at the complexity of the topics we typically cover at the conference, we decided a couple of Pre-Conference sessions were insufficient to provide the foundation necessary to fully enjoy the Fall Conference.  We've replaced that optional half day with the Section 504 Foundation Series, a six video collection with Dave and Jose covering the 504 basics. The following videos are included:

  1. The Role of the Section 504 Coordinator: Developing and Implementing Compliance-Oriented Section 504 Programs
  2. Comparison & Contrast: Section 504/ADA vs. IDEA
  3. An Overview of the Section 504 Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) Process
  4. Section 504 Nondiscrimination in Extracurricular & NonAcademic Activities
  5. Does the 504 Plan Have to Include THAT? Using Data to Create the Plan
  6. Section 504 Behavior Management & Discipline 

Purchase of the Foundation Series allows the individual registered to access each of the videos as often as she'd like, as many times as she'd like, for three weeks beginning with the first use of the email-provided login.

Section 504 Foundation Right

Foundation Series at a Special Conference Price

The Foundation Series price of $300 is reduced to $180 during our Texas Dyslexia Conference and Fall Section 504 Conference when purchased together with a conference registration for either event. The discount is added in your Conference Registration Cart.


Get the Series for every member of your team!  Any Dyslexia or Section 504 registration will allow the purchase of the Foundation Series for as many of your colleagues as you'd like at the special rate. Just make sure you have their email addresses and cell phone numbers to complete the registration process.

20th Annual CESD Texas Dyslexia Conference Agenda

In-Person: October 25-26, 2021 -- Virtual: November 1-23, 2021.

  • General Sessions (75 minutes each)

    Topics and Speakers subject to change. Check back for updates.

  • Dave Richards' Photo

    One Pathway: The 2021 Revisions to the Texas Dyslexia Handbook—David Richards, Attorney at Law, Richards Lindsay & Martín, L.L.P.

    In addition to their rights under Texas law, qualifying students with dyslexia may also have rights under federal disabilities laws (IDEA & Section 504). That dual state-federal law eligibility has always created interesting complications. In a matter of weeks, the interplay will become even more interesting as the state moves from a two-pathway approach to an approach that always begins with the offer of a special education FIIE. In this fast-moving session, we’ll look at the changes and the dynamics that flow from the new approach.  For example, what happens when the federal law’s child-find filter is removed and students are referred to special education due to suspicion of dyslexia without the federally-required suspicion of need for specially designed instruction?  If Standard Protocol Dyslexia Instruction (SPDI) and accommodations are all that a particular student requires, doesn’t that mean that the time and expense of an SLD evaluation was unnecessary? Does the one-pathway approach mean that SPDI is now “specially designed instruction”?

    How will parents respond to the offer of an FIIE if they want a dyslexia evaluation but are offended that it comes from special education? Don’t some parents of students with dyslexia view their students as dyslexic and not as disabled? Do parents have to reject an FIIE if they want to exercise their right to a 504 evaluation instead? What happens to the students already identified as dyslexic who are served under Section 504? Does the new approach require them to be re-evaluated for SLD under IDEA? The Revised Orange Book has far fewer references to Section 504 than before, and no reference is made to the Parents’ right to request a Section 504 evaluation at any time. Will districts be confused as to their 504 duties if they only look to the Revised Orange Book for guidance? Will the state’s desire to answer OSEP’s concerns about under-identification in special education result in future trouble with OCR? Dave will look at these and other related questions as he guides you through the revisions.

  • Nancy Headshot

    What Can I Do to Create a Dyslexia-Friendly Classroom?— Nancy Disterlic, Dyslexia Consultant, ESC X.

    The science of reading continues to advance, giving us new information and perspective to help our students. Are we using this information to look critically at how we serve our students with dyslexia? This session will examine what happens when the student with dyslexia receives the same instruction as other students and focus on how we can do better. Whether you are a classroom teacher, reading teacher or any other professional educator who serves students, there are things you can do to improve the classroom learning experience for students with dyslexia.

    In this lively session, Nancy will examine the traditional classroom, look at the roles and responsibilities of educators developing and implementing accommodations, and provide her perspective on how we can create a more inclusive classroom environment for students with dyslexia.  We can all do something to make a difference.

  • Dyslexia Live Q&A (Two sessions, 60 minutes each)


    In-Person: Live Q&A with conference faculty on October 25 and 26, 2021.

    Virtual Conference: Two live-streamed Q&A events will be announced during the virtual conference window. 

  • Breakout Sessions (60 minutes each)

    Breakout Sessions on Tuesday morning are 75 minutes each. Topics and Speakers subject to change. Check back for updates.

  • Jose Martin's photo

    Dyslexia and Special Education: Current Legal and Practical Issues in Moving to One Child-Find Pathway—Jose Martin, Attorney at Law, Richards Lindsay & Martín, L.L.P.

    From the OSEP investigation to the TEA response to remaining differences with OSEP to the Legislature to the State Board of Education (SBOE) to a soon-to-come revised Dyslexia Handbook, the Texas Dyslexia Program is set to move to a single pathway for identifying students with dyslexia. Moving dyslexia child-find to special education will create a number of interesting and challenging implications for Texas public schools. This session will address the new outlines of the intersection between dyslexia and special ed in Texas, starting with a brief history that leads to the proposed Handbook revisions issued in September 2021. From there, we will address the issues of dyslexia under the IDEA, the new implications of campus team decisions examining screening and reading instrument data, complying with SLD criteria in the new dyslexia FIEs, coordinating assessments between dyslexia and special education staff, the revised Texas SLD model in the Commissioner’s Rules, choices for districts on evaluation coordination, dyslexia staff’s participation in initial ARDC meetings, the determination of need for special education, assisting special education with IEP goals and progress monitoring, and the overall implications of moving dyslexia child-find wholesale to sped.

  • JanCook

    The Power of Morphology Instruction—Jan Cook, Dyslexia Specialist, ESC IV.

    The study of morphology is a critical aspect of literacy. As students progress through levels of decoding and encoding, morphology becomes increasingly more essential. Through morphology study, teachers are able to incorporate vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension alongside reading and spelling instruction. In this session, we will explore how morphology impacts literacy development, as well as gain some ideas for application of morphology practice in the classroom.

  • JVorderkunz profile pic

    Identifying Dysgraphia: A Reflection on Determinant Factors—Janeia Vorderkunz, Education Specialist, ESC XII.

    As part of a dysgraphia evaluation, the evaluation team must ensure a student’s underachievement is not due to lack of appropriate instruction in handwriting, spelling, or written expression.  To rule out lack of appropriate instruction, the team must consider if the student received appropriate instruction by qualified personnel and if progress was repeatedly evaluated and shared with parents at reasonable intervals. This session will review and define the determinant factors, propose instructional considerations in each area, and prompt a reflection of current campus/district practices that will not only inform dysgraphia identification, but potentially improve writing instruction for all students.  

  • Pat Sekel

    Simplifying the Simple View of Writing: What Educators Can Do to Support Developing Writers— Pat Sekel, C-SLDS, CALT-QI.

    Written language inclusive of composition is the pinnacle of language. From handwriting to motivation and everything in between, what are the smaller but necessary components that educators can support to create more capable writers? Writing is difficult to learn and equally difficult to teach for many reasons. Models of competent writing ignore the automatic lower-level skills required to access higher level cognitive functioning that comes more easily to the typical learner. This presentation covers the underpinnings of composition instruction– the nuts and bolts of writing with accompanying activities and suggested materials– that will result in more capable writers.

  • Paula Tilker

    Spelling: Are We Doing Enough?— Paula Tilker, Retired Dyslexia Consultant and lifelong fan of the written word.

    The spelling of English words can seem arbitrary, but there is a logic to the system. Are dyslexia programs and teachers doing enough to help students understand how linguistic and historical factors have shaped the spelling of words? This session will consider what may be missing when phonology and morphology are not enough to promote robust spelling.

  • DanielTerrazas

    Dyslexia Assessment Through a Full and Individual Evaluation (FIE): What Does the Data Tell Us?— Daniel Terrazas, Director of Special Programs, Marion ISD.

    This presentation will dive into what information is in a Full and Individual Evaluation (FIE).  We will explore the different cognitive processing areas, what they measure, and how they impact academics.  This information will assist you in reviewing the FIE when a student is found not to be eligible for specialized instruction through Special Education, but is placed in 504 with Dyslexia.

  • Gabriela Gardner & McKaela McCusker

    Motivating Your Reluctant Writers: A Hands-On Approach— Mikaela McCusker, Dyslexia Itinerant, Alief ISD & Gabriela Gardner, Interventionist, Alief ISD.

    Whatever grade or subject you teach, you may encounter resistance or reluctance when asking students to write.  This is especially true with students identified with dyslexia.  In this session, teachers in grades K-5 will learn hands-on strategies/approaches and technology tools to help develop spelling skills and written expression to ignite the passion of the written word. There is an author inside everyone!  Let's break down barriers in spelling to help students discover their voices as writers. 

  • IMG_8800

    What a 13-Year-Old Student with Dyslexia (and Her Parents) Would Like you to Know—Eli & Nicole Erickson + Hayley

    Last year you heard Hayley’s parents discuss their adventure navigating through school services to get the help Hayley needed to address her dyslexia. By popular demand, the parents are back and Hayley joins them with her own perspective she’d like to share. This lively session features two persistent parents and one awesome young student sharing the good, the bad, the confusing, and the amusing aspects of their continuing journey to get dyslexia services and supports for Hayley. They provide a balanced look at the process from the parent and student perspective, and important points and tips that can improve the ability of public educators work to work in tandem with parents to find and serve students with dyslexia.

  • Marcy Eisinger

    Dyslexia and Dysgraphia Services: The who, what, where, when and how to implement quality services in school districts—Marcy Eisinger, Assistant Director, Dyslexia, Garland ISD.

    There are many questions and obstacles to overcome when providing services to students with dyslexia and dysgraphia in school districts. This session will support dyslexia personnel in providing quality dyslexia and dysgraphia services that align with the Texas Dyslexia Handbook.  With practical solutions that answer the questions of who, what, where when, and why, attendees will be able to walk away with a deeper understanding of how to implement services within their own district.

  • Mary Yarus

    Implementing Dyslexia Intervention in Secondary School Classrooms— Mary Yarus, Dyslexia Specialist, ESC IV

    Struggling readers exist at all ages and grade levels.  This session will discuss effective implementation of your intervention program in the secondary classroom setting.  We will explore making adjustments to the program based upon the age and interest levels of the secondary student.

  • tnewman@esc12.net

    Dysgraphia has been Identified: Now What?— Traci Newman, Education Specialist, ESC XII

    Once a student is identified with dysgraphia, handwriting support may not be enough. Join us in this session to discuss what options and processes are available to ensure the student has an equal opportunity to participate and benefit from instruction.

  • Fostering Independence in Secondary and Post-Secondary Education for Students with Dyslexia— Dena Crook, Senior Lecturer, Texas State University and Krystie Griffin, Intervention Coordinator, Lake Travis ISD

    As students with dyslexia transition from high school to post-secondary institutions, how can “we” set these students up for success? Topics to be discussed include exiting special education into 504 or not, accommodations in high school versus accommodations in post-secondary, accommodations for the SAT and ACT, how to set up accommodations in post-secondary institutions, and practical advice from post-secondary students with dyslexia on how to navigate the system.