A new bill has been proposed which may drastically change how soon children with dyslexia get attention.
The law extends to include those teachers focused on special education and early childhood education to get specialized training in the disease.
“It has been an unbelievable battle for five years,” said state representative Noreen Kokoruda of Madison, who is a strong proponent for the bill. “Over the last five years we have finally gotten dyslexia and the option to choose it as a disability on the list”.
Previously, when parents of children with dyslexia went into school to set up an IEP (Individualized Education Program), the option to check off the box with dyslexia was not available.
Dyslexia is a disease that needs advanced treatment and advanced learning, and for many, the earlier that treatment, the better.
“Let us not wait until they are in 7th and 8th grade,” said Kokoruda. “How can we identify these issues early?”
Studies show the achievement gap begins when children are as young as preschool. Dr. Sally Shaywitz, the co-director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, has dedicated her career to helping children and adults with dyslexia.
“If you can get to a dyslexic reader early enough, you can not only make him or her a better reader, you can change the brain as well,” she said. Shaywitz has written over 200 scientific articles over the course of her career, many of which involve teachers who have students with the disease. “A teacher can do what a neurosurgeon cannot do, and that is change the brain”.
If the bill were to pass, beginning in July of 2018 those teachers seeking a special education endorsement or an early childhood endorsement, must complete a program of study in the diagnosis and remediation of dyslexia.
Moving forward, dyslexia now holds the same meaning found in the State Department of Education’s guidance manual for individualized education programs under special education law.