Dyslexia Therapy Proposed Rules

Chapter 120. Dyslexia Therapy

Proposal Filed: November 20, 2020 – Published in the Texas Register: December 4, 2020

Deadline for Public Comment: January 4, 2021

Underlined text is new language.

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The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Department) proposes amendments to existing rules at 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 120, §§ 120.21, 120.22, 120.23, 120.25, and 120.90, regarding the Dyslexia Therapy Program. These proposed changes are referred to as “proposed rules.”

EXPLANATION OF AND JUSTIFICATION FOR THE RULES

The rules under 16 TAC Chapter 120 implement Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 403, Licensed Dyslexia Practitioners and Licensed Dyslexia Therapists.

The proposed rules make changes recommended by Department staff to allow individuals certified by the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA) to apply for a license without providing documentation of their education; to clarify courses that qualify for continuing education credit; to allow telehealth services without an initial in-person meeting; and to correct cross-references. The proposed rules also make changes recommended by the Education and Examination Workgroup of the Dyslexia Therapy Advisory Committee to update the names of the examinations approved by the Department and to allow continuing education credit for the human trafficking prevention training course required for license renewal. The proposed rules are necessary to remove unnecessary burdens in obtaining and renewing a license; to designate the appropriate examinations required for licensure; to increase the availability of telehealth services; and to provide clarity.

The proposed rules were presented to and discussed by the Dyslexia Therapy Advisory Committee at its meeting on October 27, 2020. The Advisory Committee did not recommend any changes to the proposed rules. The Advisory Committee voted and recommended that the proposed rules be published in the Texas Register for public comment.

SECTION-BY-SECTION SUMMARY

The proposed rules amend §120.21, Dyslexia Therapist Licensing Requirements, by allowing a person who holds current certification as an academic language therapist issued by ALTA to apply for a dyslexia therapist license without being required to provide documentation that the person has earned a master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education.

The proposed rules amend §120.22, Dyslexia Practitioner Licensing Requirements, by allowing a person who holds current certification as an academic language practitioner issued by ALTA to apply for a dyslexia practitioner license without being required to provide documentation that the person has earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education.

The proposed rules amend §120.23(a) by updating the name of the ALTA examination required for licensure as a dyslexia therapist.

The proposed rules amend §120.23(b) by updating the name of the ALTA examination required for licensure as a dyslexia practitioner.

The proposed rules amend §120.25, Continuing Education, by clarifying that courses and programs provided by education service centers are included in the acceptable categories for continuing education credit; correcting erroneous cross-references; and allowing the human trafficking prevention training course required for license renewal to be accepted for up to one hour of continuing education credit.

The proposed rules amend §120.90, Professional Standards and Basis for Disciplinary Action, by removing the prohibition against providing services solely by written, telephone, or electronic/video correspondence or communication; and renumbering the remaining provisions accordingly. This change will allow a license holder to provide telehealth services without the requirement for an initial in-person meeting with a client.

FISCAL IMPACT ON STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Tony Couvillon, Policy Research and Budget Analyst, has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed rules are in effect, enforcing or administering the proposed rules does not have foreseeable implications relating to costs or revenues of state or local governments.

LOCAL EMPLOYMENT IMPACT STATEMENT

Mr. Couvillon has determined that the proposed rules will not affect the local economy, so the agency is not required to prepare a local employment impact statement under Government Code §2001.022.

PUBLIC BENEFITS

Mr. Couvillon has determined that for each year of the first five-year period the proposed rules are in effect, the public benefit will be more effective and efficient regulation of the Dyslexia Therapy Program and expansion of the availability of telehealth services.

Mr. Couvillon has determined that for each year of the first five-year period the proposed rules are in effect, there will be a reduction in costs to some persons who are required to comply with the proposed rules. Licensees who take a free human trafficking prevention training course and submit the course for continuing education credit will see a minimal cost savings of an undeterminable amount in obtaining the required continuing education hours for license renewal.

PROBABLE ECONOMIC COSTS TO PERSONS REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH PROPOSAL

Mr. Couvillon has determined that for each year of the first five-year period the proposed rules are in effect, there are no anticipated economic costs to persons who are required to comply with the proposed rules.

FISCAL IMPACT ON SMALL BUSINESSES, MICRO-BUSINESSES, AND RURAL COMMUNITIES

There will be no adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities as a result of the proposed rules. Since the agency has determined that the proposed rule will have no adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities, preparation of an Economic Impact Statement and a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, as detailed under Texas Government Code §2006.002, are not required.

ONE-FOR-ONE REQUIREMENT FOR RULES WITH A FISCAL IMPACT

The proposed rules do not have a fiscal note that imposes a cost on regulated persons, including another state agency, a special district, or a local government. Therefore, the agency is not required to take any further action under Government Code §2001.0045.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT STATEMENT

Pursuant to Government Code §2001.0221, the agency provides the following Government Growth Impact Statement for the proposed rules. For each year of the first five years the proposed rules will be in effect, the agency has determined the following:

  1. The proposed rules do not create or eliminate a government program.
  1. Implementation of the proposed rules does not require the creation of new employee positions or the elimination of existing employee positions.
  1. Implementation of the proposed rules does not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency.
  1. The proposed rules do not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency.
  1. The proposed rules do not create a new regulation.
  1. The proposed rules do expand, limit, or repeal an existing regulation. The proposed rules repeal the prohibition against providing dyslexia therapy services solely through telehealth services.
  1. The proposed rules do not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to the rules’ applicability.
  1. The proposed rules do not positively or adversely affect this state's economy.

TAKINGS IMPACT ASSESSMENT

The Department has determined that no private real property interests are affected by the proposed rules and the proposed rules do not restrict, limit, or impose a burden on an owner’s rights to his or her private real property that would otherwise exist in the absence of government action. As a result, the proposed rules do not constitute a taking or require a takings impact assessment under Government Code §2007.043.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted electronically on the Department’s website at https://ga.tdlr.texas.gov:1443/form/gcerules; by facsimile to (512) 475-3032; or by mail to Monica Nuñez, Legal Assistant, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, P.O. Box 12157, Austin, Texas 78711. The deadline for comments is 30 days after publication in the Texas Register.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The proposed rules are proposed under Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 403, which authorize the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation, the Department’s governing body, to adopt rules as necessary to implement these chapters and any other law establishing a program regulated by the Department.

The statutory provisions affected by the proposed rules are those set forth in Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 403. No other statutes, articles, or codes are affected by the proposed rules.

  • 120.21. Dyslexia Therapist Licensing Requirements.

(a) A person who holds current certification as an academic language therapist issued by the Academic Language Therapy Association or its equivalent as approved by the department, may be licensed as a dyslexia therapist if the person has earned at least a master's degree from an accredited public or private institution of higher education.

(b) A person who qualifies for licensure under subsection (a) is not required to provide documentation to the department that the person meets the requirements of Occupations Code §403.105[(a)(2) - (5)], Eligibility for Licensed Dyslexia Therapist License.

(c) A licensed dyslexia therapist may practice in a school, learning center, clinic, or private practice setting.

  • 120.22. Dyslexia Practitioner Licensing Requirements.

(a) A person who holds current certification as an academic language practitioner issued by the Academic Language Therapy Association or its equivalent, as approved by the department, may be licensed as a dyslexia practitioner if the person has earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited public or private institution of higher education.

(b) A person who qualifies for licensure under subsection (a) is not required to provide documentation to the department that the person meets the requirements of Occupations Code §403.104[(a)(2) - (5)], Eligibility for Licensed Dyslexia Practitioner License.

(c) A licensed dyslexia practitioner may practice only in an educational setting, including a school, learning center, or clinic.

  • 120.23. Examination.

(a) The examination designated and approved by the department for licensure as a dyslexia therapist is the Academic Language Therapy Association Competency Examination for Multisensory Structured Language Education, Therapist Level. [Alliance National Registration Examination, Therapist Level, administered by the Academic Language Therapy Association.]

(b) The examination designated and approved by the department for licensure as a dyslexia practitioner is the Academic Language Therapy Association Competency Examination for Multisensory Structured Language Education, Practitioner Level. [Alliance National Registration Examination, Practitioner Level, administered by the Academic Language Therapy Association.]

(c) The applicable licensure examination requirement is waived for a person who holds current certification as an academic language therapist or academic language practitioner issued by the Academic Language Therapy Association, or its equivalent, as approved by the department.

  • 120.25. Continuing Education.

(a) A license holder must complete 20 clock-hours of continuing education during each two-year licensure period.

(b) Continuing education credit taken by a license holder for renewal shall be acceptable if the experience falls in one or more of the following categories and meets the requirements of subsection (c):

(1) academic courses at a regionally accredited college or university;

(2) in-service educational programs, training programs, institutes, seminars, workshops and conferences, including courses and programs provided by education service centers;

(3) instructing or presenting education programs or activities at an academic course, in-service educational programs, training programs, institutes, seminars, workshops and conferences not to exceed five clock-hours each continuing education period;

(4) publishing a book or an article in a peer review journal not to exceed five clock-hours each continuing education period; or

(5) successful completion of a self-study program, not to exceed ten clock-hours each continuing education period.

(c) Continuing education credit taken by a license holder, shall be in one or more of the following content areas:

(1) basic language and/or learning disorders;

(2) applied multisensory practice and methodology;

(3) curricula in academic language therapy;

(4) related research in medicine, psychology, education, or linguistics; or

(5) professional practice, including relevant laws, rules, and ethics of practice.

(d) Continuing education experience shall be credited as follows:

(1) Completion of course work at or through an accredited college or university, shall be credited for each semester hour on the basis of ten clock-hours of credit for each semester hour successfully completed for credit or audit as evidenced by a certificate of successful completion or official transcript.

(2) Parts of programs that meet the criteria of subsection (b)(2)[(c)(2)] or (3)[,] shall be credited on a one-for-one basis with one clock-hour of credit for each clock-hour spent in the continuing education experience.

(3) A clock-hour shall be 50 minutes of attendance and participation in an acceptable continuing education experience.

(4) Continuing education programs, as described in subsection (b)(2)[(c)(2)] and (3), must be offered or approved by the Academic Language Therapy Association or its equivalent, as approved by the department.

(5) Successful completion of continuing education experience, as described in subsection (b)(2)[(c)(2)] and (3), is evidenced by a certificate of completion or attendance issued by the approved sponsoring organization of the course.

(6) Successful completion of continuing education experience, as described in subsection (b)(4), is evidenced by submission of a copy of the publication.

(7) Successful completion of continuing education experience, described in subsection (b)(5), is evidenced by a certificate of completion presented by the sponsoring organization of the self-study program.

(e) The department shall employ an audit system for continuing education reporting. The license holder shall be responsible for maintaining a record of his or her continuing education experiences. The certificates, diplomas, or other documentation verifying earning of continuing education hours, are not to be forwarded to the department at the time of renewal unless the license holder has been selected for audit.

(f) The audit process shall be as follows.

(1) The department shall select for audit, a random sample of license holders for each renewal month. License holders will be notified of the continuing education audit when they receive their renewal documentation.

(2) All license holders selected for audit shall submit copies of certificates, transcripts or other documentation satisfactory to the department, verifying the license holder's attendance, participation and completion of the continuing education. All documentation must be provided at the time of renewal.

(3) Failure to timely furnish this information or providing false information during the audit process or the renewal process are grounds for disciplinary action against the license holder.

(4) A license holder who is selected for continuing education audit may renew through the online renewal process. However, the license will not be considered renewed until the required continuing education documents are received, accepted and approved by the department.

(g) Licenses will not be renewed until continuing education requirements have been met.

(h) A person who fails to complete continuing education requirements for renewal may not renew the license. The person may obtain a new license by complying with the current requirements and procedures for obtaining a license.

(i) The department may not grant continuing education credit to any license holder for:

(1) education incidental to the regular professional activities of a license holder, such as learning occurring from experience or research;

(2) professional organization activity, such as serving on committees or councils or as an officer;

(3) any continuing education activity completed before or after the period of time described in subsection (a); or

(4) performance of duties that are routine job duties or requirements.

(j) The human trafficking prevention training course required for license renewal under §120.26(b) may be accepted for up to one hour of continuing education credit.

  • 120.90. Professional Standards and Basis for Disciplinary Action.

(a) This section is authorized under Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 403.

(1) If a person violates any provision of Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51, 403, or any other applicable provision, this chapter, or a rule or order of the executive director or commission, proceedings may be instituted to impose administrative penalties, administrative sanctions, or both in accordance with the provisions of the Texas Occupations Code and the associated rules.

(2) The enforcement authority granted under Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 403, and any associated rules may be used to enforce the Texas Occupations Code and this chapter.

(b) A license holder shall comply with the following requirements in the provision of professional services. All license holders shall:

(1) only provide professional services that are within the scope of the license holder's competence, considering level of education, training, and experience.

(2) ensure a safe therapy or teaching environment for clients.

(3) not jeopardize a client's safety or well-being by abusive or inattentive behavior.

(4) maintain objectivity in all matters concerning the welfare of the client.

(5) terminate a professional relationship when it is reasonably clear that the client is not benefitting from the services being provided or when it is reasonably clear that the client no longer needs the services.

(6) seek to identify competent, dependable referral sources for clients and shall refer when requested or appropriate.

(7) provide accurate information to clients and the public about the nature and management of dyslexia and about the services rendered.

(8) be knowledgeable of all available diagnostic data and other relevant information regarding each client.

(9) not guarantee, directly or by implication, the results of any therapeutic or teaching services, except that a reasonable statement of prognosis may be made. A license holder shall not mislead clients to expect results that cannot be predicted from reliable evidence.

(10) accurately represent and describe any product created or recommended by the license holder.

(11) not require the exclusive use or purchase by a client of any product created or produced by the license holder.

(12) not use his or her professional relationship with a client to promote any product for personal gain or profit, unless the license holder has disclosed to the client the nature of the license holder's personal gain or profit.

(13) not misrepresent his or her education, training, credentials, or competence.

(14) fully inform clients of the nature and possible outcomes of services rendered.

(15) obtain written consent from a client or a minor client's parent or legal guardian in order to use the client's data or information for research or teaching activities.

(16) not falsify records.

(17) bill a client or third party only for the services actually rendered in the manner agreed to by the license holder and the client or the minor client's parent or legal guardian.

[(18) not provide professional services solely by written, telephone, or electronic/video correspondence or communication.]

(18)[(19)] not provide professional services to a client who is receiving dyslexia services from another license holder, except with the prior knowledge and consent of the other license holder.

(19)[(20)] not reveal, without authorization, any professional or personal information about a client unless required by law or compelled by a court to do so, or unless doing so is necessary to protect the welfare of the client or of the community. If a license holder reveals professional or personal information about a client without authorization, the information disclosed, the person or entity to whom it was disclosed, and the justification for disclosure shall be documented by the license holder in the client's record.

(20)[(21)] provide, in plain language, a written explanation of the charges for professional services previously made on a bill or statement, upon the written request of a client or the minor client's parent or legal guardian.

(21)[(22)] not engage in the medical diagnosis or treatment of clients.

(22)[(23)] not engage in sexual contact, including intercourse or kissing, sexual exploitation, or therapeutic deception, with a client. Sexual contact and sexual intercourse mean the activities and behaviors described in Penal Code, §21.01. Sexual exploitation means a pattern, practice, or scheme of conduct, which may include sexual contact, that can reasonably be construed as being for the purposes of sexual arousal or gratification or sexual abuse of any person. Therapeutic deception means a representation by a license holder that sexual contact with, or sexual exploitation by, the license holder is consistent with, or part of, the professional services being provided to the client.

(23)[(24)] not use alcohol or drugs, not legally prescribed for the license holder, when the use adversely affects or could adversely affect the provision of professional services.

(24)[(25)] not offer to pay or agree to accept any remuneration directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to or from any person, firm, association of persons, partnership, or corporation for securing or soliciting clients or patronage.

(25)[(26)] comply with all provisions of the Act and this chapter, as well as any other state or federal law or rule that relates to the provision of professional services by, or the regulation of the license holder.

(26)[(27)] not obtain a license by means of fraud, misrepresentation, or concealment of a material fact.

(27)[(28)] not sell, barter, or offer to sell or barter a license.

(28)[(29)] inform the department of any violations of this chapter or the Act.

(29)[(30)] comply with any order issued by the department that relates to the license holder.

(30)[(31)] not interfere with a department investigation or disciplinary proceeding by misrepresentation or omission of facts to the department or by the use of threats or harassment against any person.

(31)[(32)] cooperate with the department by promptly furnishing required documents and by promptly responding to a request for information from the department.

(32)[(33)] provide professional services without discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, or disability.

(c) A license holder in private practice shall:

(1) provide a client or a minor client's parent or legal guardian with a written agreement for services prior to the commencement of professional services.

(A) The agreement shall contain, at a minimum, a description of the services to be provided, goals, techniques, materials, the cost for services, payment arrangements and policies, hours, cancellation and refund policies, contact information for both parties, and the dated signatures of both parties.

(B) Any subsequent modifications to the agreement shall be signed and dated by both parties.

(2) maintain legible and accurate records of professional services rendered. A license holder practicing in an educational setting, including a school, learning center, or clinic, shall comply with the recordkeeping requirements of the educational setting.

(3) maintain records for a minimum of five years following the termination of services. A license holder practicing in an educational setting, including a school, learning center, or clinic, shall comply with the records retention requirements of the educational setting.

(4) not delegate any service requiring professional competence to a person not competent to provide the service. A license holder in private practice is responsible for the services provided by unlicensed persons employed or contracted by the license holder.

(5) notify each client or the minor client's parent or legal guardian of the department's name, website, email address, mailing address, and telephone number for the purpose of directing complaints to the department by providing notification on a sign prominently placed in the primary place of business or on a written document, such as an agreement or contract for services or an informational brochure provided by a license holder to a client or the minor client's parent or legal guardian.

(6) display the license in the primary location of practice, but shall not display a license that has been photographically or otherwise reproduced.

(d) Information used by a license holder in any advertisement or announcement shall not contain information that is false, inaccurate, misleading, incomplete, out of context, deceptive or not readily verifiable. Advertising includes, but is not limited to, any announcement of services, letterhead, business cards, commercial products, and billing statements. False, misleading, or deceptive advertising or advertising not readily subject to verification includes advertising that:

(1) makes a material misrepresentation of fact or omits a fact necessary to make the statement as a whole not materially misleading;

(2) makes a representation likely to create an unjustified expectation about the results of a professional service;

(3) compares a professional's services with another professional's services unless the comparison can be factually substantiated

(4) causes confusion or misunderstanding as to the credentials, education, or licensing of a professional;

(5) makes a representation that is designed to take advantage of the fears or emotions of a particularly susceptible type of client; or

(6) represents in the use of a professional name, a title or professional identification that is expressly or commonly reserved to or used by another profession or professional, unless the license holder is licensed or otherwise authorized to use the title or professional identification.

(e) Records are the responsibility and property of the entity or individual who owns the practice or the practice setting.

REVIEW BY AGENCY COUNSEL

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency’s legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State, on November 20, 2020.

Brad Bowman
General Counsel
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation