Senate Committee Moves Dyslexia Bill Forward

Jan 24, 2018

A senate committee wrapped up a two-day discussion Wednesday, on a bill that would provide additional dyslexia screening for students and training for teachers.

Many parents who support SB 217 say dyslexia can cause students to fall years behind in reading. Patricia Truelove from Mooresville is a mom of three, and she says this type of legislation could have helped her daughter.

“I was told that dyslexia is basically not diagnosed anymore. I feel like this is a good example of where our school system needs that additional education,” Truelove says.

Schools would be required to screen students for dyslexia in kindergarten, first and second grade. Some people expressed concern about the time dyslexia screenings for every student would take, but some lawmakers pushed back on those comments. Others say the required screening could mislabel kids, but author of the bill Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) says it’s an important identification tool.

“The screening does not diagnose, it does not label. The screening determines if a child is at-risk or not at-risk.”

The bill also requires school corporations to report how many students are identified as at-risk through those screenings, and that the state Department of Education provides additional training for teachers starting in 2019. It also mandates that each school corporation hire at least one dyslexia interventionist, and the department hire a specialist for the learning disability.

The committee approved the bill. The full senate will hear the bill sometime next week.