Dyslexia Bills and Resources

  1. What is Dyslexia?
  2. Dyslexia Bills – 2020 Proposals
  3. Dyslexia Legislation – Yes, You Can Say Dyslexia!
  4. Dyslexia Resources
  5. Dyslexia Awareness Day Videos

What is Dyslexia?

  • What is Dyslexia? Dyslexia is not seeing things backwards or upside down. It is not a visual problem, but a brain-based learning disability characterized by difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition, so students decode words incorrectly or very slowly and with great effort. People with dyslexia have difficulty with phonological processing – connecting the letters to the sounds they make and thus have difficulty recognizing words - even words they see frequently - making them slow and inaccurate readers.
  • How Common is Dyslexia? Between 15-20 percent of people are affected by dyslexia. That means in every class of 30 students, 5 or 6 of them have dyslexia, but most of them will not be identified for years, and many never are.
  • Can we Screen for Dyslexia? Yes, research has shown that early signs of dyslexia can be identified before the age of 6. Research also shows that if children are not reading on grade level by 3rd grade, they only have a 1 in 8 chance of making up for that lost time and getting back to grade level.

Dyslexia Bills - 2020 Proposals

  • Why Should I talk to My Elected Representatives About Dyslexia? Dyslexia and related learning disabilities are commonly misunderstood, and you are in a great position to educate your representatives about this issue. Tell them your personal story! Talk about who you are, how you (or your child or student, etc.) learned to read, if you struggled, and what or who helped you or inspired you. Talk about why it is important to support dyslexia legislation.
  • YOU are the expert of your own experience! Your story is the best tool to educate elected officials and their staff about dyslexia and the need to pass dyslexia bills.
  • Early Screening for Dyslexia Bill (S4341 Brooks/A5259 Simon): This bill creates a program for early screening at an age when children can make the most progress - and before they fall behind their peers. The bill creates a program that will provide early screening and intervention services for children with risk factors for dyslexia. It requires school districts to conduct mandatory early screening for dyslexia for all children starting in pre-kindergarten or kindergarten and continuing each year until students successfully complete second grade. It also requires school districts to designate an individual to provide resources to the parent and/or guardian of any child who displays indications of dyslexia.
  • Bill to Train Teachers about Dyslexia (S4342 Brooks/A6450 Simon): Too often, teachers, parents and administrators have trouble recognizing the symptoms of dyslexia. This bill requires the incorporation of the structured multisensory approach into the literacy courses that are already required for prospective teachers. This bill ensures that undergraduate and graduate students are trained in evidence-based, effective methods of teaching reading, including structured, multisensory approaches, also known as structured literacy. This approach is effective in teaching students with dyslexia and related learning disabilities. This training can include what is referred to as "Orton-Gillingham" instruction, including the use of sight, hearing, touch and movement to help students connect language with letters and words.
  • Dyslexia Screening for People Who are Incarcerated (S6787 Myrie /A7822 Simon): Research shows that, like Ameer Baraka and so many others, about one third of people who are incarcerated suffer from undiagnosed dyslexia and learning disabilities. Even so, most prisons do not provide the tools for incarcerated individuals to learn behind bars. Without those tools, it is difficult to acquire the necessary skills to succeed upon their release. This bill requires dyslexia screening for people who are incarcerated who do not have a GED or a high school diploma. It will provide them with intervention that is evidence-based, proven effective, and consistent with science-based research tailored to addressing dyslexia.

Dyslexia Legislation – Yes, You Can Say Dyslexia!

  • A.8262/S.6581: In 2017, my bill was signed into law requiring the New York State Education Department (SED) to issue a guidance memorandum for school districts clarifying that you can use the words “dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia” on IEPs and any eligibility documents. Through stakeholder meetings and the Town Hall at Dyslexia Awareness Day 2018, SED put together substantive documents that were released for the 2018-2019 school year.

Dyslexia Resources for Families

IEP Resources:

  • Understood has a Parent Toolkit for parents navigating the IEP process
  • Decoding Dyslexia has a network of parents who can help navigate the process, and helpful documents on their website
  • Advocates for Children has a tip sheet for how to prepare for an IEP meeting and what to expect

Videos: Check out Ameer Baraka’s keynote address at the 2020 Dyslexia Awareness Day, the attendee speak out, and more.