Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Dyslexia: State Legislation and New Federal Resources

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Dyslexia: State Legislation and New Federal Resources

Article excerpt

In recent years, there has been an increasing number of state bills passed to help identify and provide early intervention for students with reading disabilities, with a particular focus on dyslexia identification. According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, more than 26 states passed dyslexia laws as of the end of 2016. Furthermore, a scan of state bills introduced in 2017 indicated that there are more than 40 dyslexia bills pending. The content of the legislation varies from state to state, but generally includes funding for interventions and services for students who are struggling with reading, along with professional development for teachers. Key components of the dyslexia legislation include: a specific definition of dyslexia within the state's education code, universal screening of all students in certain grades to identify students struggling with literacy skills, providing evidence-based interventions to students with dyslexia, and professional development. In terms of professional development, states have opted for developing resources and training to help teachers identify and address dyslexia, establishing dyslexia specialists and coaches, making changes to teacher preparation programs to include coursework, or establishing licensure requirements relating to literacy and dyslexia. For example, in Texas, where dyslexia services are offered through general education programs and accommodations are delivered through Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, there are two bills that have been introduced this year. Texas House Bill 868 would entitle districts to an extra annual funding allotment for use with students who have been identified as having dyslexia or a related disorder. A licensing bill, Texas House Bill 1131, relates to the requirement that a person obtain a dyslexia therapist license in order to use the title in the state. In South Carolina, House Bill 3414, which was introduced in January of 2017, would require the state department of education to provide a universal dyslexia screening tool that local school districts could use to screen students in grades K through 2. The South Carolina bill also requires dyslexiaspecific interventions, along with related professional development for teachers. New York introduced two bills (AB 1480 and SB 2767) in 2017 that address requirements for the certification and training of teachers, administrators, and instructors in the area of dyslexia and related disorders, and would establish a pilot program to provide early screening and intervention services for children with risk factors for dyslexia. …

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