California began to take positive steps toward addressing the impacts of dyslexia in our schools with the passage of Assembly Bill 1369 in 2015 law (Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley) and with the 2017 Development of the Dyslexia Guidelines, a 132-page document, which while not mandatory, is the result of years of lobbying by parents who watched their children agonize over learning to read. The guidelines provide an opportunity for proactive work to help our kids, rather than the typically reactive modes of assistance we often employ. “The devil is in the details — now we need to look at how we convert [the Guidelines] into practical and implementable practice in our public schools,” said Meyer of Decoding Dyslexia California.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person’s life. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment, and in its more severe forms, will qualify a student for special education, special accommodations, or extra support services.
What are the rights of a person with dyslexia?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) define the rights of students with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities. These individuals are legally entitled to special services to help them overcome and accommodate their learning problems. Such services include education programs designed to meet the needs of these students. The Acts also protect people with dyslexia against unfair and illegal discrimination.
This is an opportunity for all Districts to serve kids better, ideally in general education with some supports and accommodations.
Has your district taken action to implement any portion of the State's Dyslexia Guidelines?
Are kindergartners being screened?
Are new strategies to meet the needs of dyslexic kids being utilized?