Registration Open for DDMO Dyslexia Conference

Join us Friday, October 20, 2017,  for a conference entitled “Establishing Resilience in Youth with Dyslexia” presented by Decoding Dyslexia Missouri in conjunction with Burrell Behavioral Health in Springfield, MO.   This daylong event of expert advice will address the identification and treatment of dyslexia where we explore not only how to strengthen early identification, treatment, and resources; but also how to focus on building strengths and resilience.

Our national experts will provide information designed to guide the assessment of dyslexia and reading disorders, explore technology supports, as well as provide expert advice on building resilience in youth struggling with dyslexia.  Parents of Dyslexic students will benefit from the information and strategies discussed, as the conference will provide an enhanced understanding of current trends and advocacy for their children.

Registration is $39 for teachers and professionals, $29 for Students or Parents of a dyslexic child.  Seating is limited, so register early here to attend.  Traveling from out of town?  We have special room rates for the conference.  Please see details on the registration page.

Featured Presentations  

Dyslexia:  An Overview, Interventions, and Building Resilience

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Kelli Sandman-Hurley, EdD

Dr. Sandman-Hurley, author of “The Dyslexia Advocate” and co-founder of The Dyslexia Training Institute,  will be providing an overview of what dyslexia is, and what it is not.   Dyslexia is not a gift.  It just isn’t.  Students with dyslexia are not going to be successful, creative geniuses because they are dyslexic.  They are going to be successful, creative geniuses because they are resilient, have support from community and family, are smart, and like the rest of us found something they love.   The books written about those who are uber successful have super-supportive families or someone in their life who took an interest.  You may be that person.   Throughout the day Dr. Sandman-Hurley will describe what dyslexia is – from symptoms to challenges, to interventions, and finally to building the characteristics that lead to resilience.  She will also provide an introduction to teaching the structure of the English language.

Technology for Students with Dyslexia

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John Effinger, MS, CCC-SLP

This session will discuss technology accommodations for students with Dyslexia in the classroom. Alternative text access for reading and writing will be discussed including alternative educational materials (AEM) for students not on an IEP.  In addition, we will discuss computers and tablets that can be used with software and apps to increase access to text and increase written production.

Self Advocacy for the Dyslexic Student

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A. Noel Leif, CALT/ICALP

This session will discuss the importance of teaching and encouraging children to have the ability to self-advocate in the classroom setting.  Children need to know how to tell their story effectively and communicate their strengths as well as their challenges and how to ask for what they need to succeed from educators.

 

 

 

Step Up For Dyslexia Awareness Walk Sept 24

Join Decoding Dyslexia-MO For A Picnic And Awareness Walk

Decoding Dyslexia Missouri is a grassroots parent-led movement with a three-pronged
mission to educate, advocate and legislate on behalf of those with
dyslexia. We are focused on linking families to resources, support, and
educational interventions for dyslexia. Our goal is to raise dyslexia awareness,
empower families to support their children and inform policy-makers on best
practices to identify, remediate and support students with dyslexia in Missouri.

With your support, this event will rally families, friends and supporters of
DDMO as we work together to achieve our mission and create change for
children and adults with dyslexia in our community. All proceeds will directly
support DDMO’s mission.

Sign Up Here (you can sign up as an individual or form a team):
https://runsignup.com/Race/MO/SaintLouis/StepUpforDyslexia

September 24th, 2017 at 12pm
Queeny Park Corporate Pavilion- Saint Louis, MO

12pm Registration and Picnic (bring a picnic lunch)
1:15pm Welcome
1:30pm Race Begins
2:30 Greet Fredbird

Sponsored by Speech Language Learning Systems

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Legislation Enacts Task Force on Dyslexia

Governor Jay Nixon signed HB 2379 in Springfield Missouri on June 22, 2016, effectively creating the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia.  The Task Force will advise and make recommendations to the Governor, Joint Committee on Education, and relevant state agencies for a statewide system for identification, intervention, and delivery of supports for students with dyslexia, as described in the act.

The Task Force will consist of twenty one members, as described in the act.  Except for four legislative members and the Commissioner of Education, the members will be appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Names were submitted from across the State from stakeholders and state agencies for review by the Missouri legislature for appointments.  The Senate released their list on August 31st and the House on September 7, which named the panel for the Task Force.  Below is a list of appointments.

task-force-list

Thanks to all of the DD-MO members that made passing HB2379 possible!  Your hard work is beginning to pay off!!

Reading Research

The American Academy of Pediatrics: Section on Ophthalmology and Council on Children with Disabilities, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and American Association of Certified Orthoptists published a Joint Policy Statement in August, 2009:

ABSTRACT

dyslexia readingLearning disabilities, including reading disabilities, are commonly diagnosed in children. Their etiologies are multifactorial, reflecting genetic influences and dysfunction of brain systems. Learning disabilities are complex problems that require complex solutions. Early recognition and referral to qualified educational professionals for evidence-based evaluations and treatments seem necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. Most experts believe that dyslexia is a language-based disorder. Vision problems can interfere with the process of learning; however, vision problems are not the cause of primary dyslexia or learning disabilities. Scientific evidence does not support the efficacy of eye exercises, behavioral vision therapy, or special tinted filters or lenses for improving the long-term educational performance in these complex pediatric neurocognitive conditions. Diagnostic and treatment approaches that lack scientific evidence of efficacy, including eye exercises, behavioral vision therapy, or special tinted filters or lenses, are not endorsed and should not be recommended.

The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) developed the Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading which outlines the requirements needed to become certified in Structured Literacy.  There are 2 paths for certification:

  1. university programs accredited by the IDA, and
  2. independent teacher training programs accredited by the IDA.
Background and History on the “Reading Wars”
 National Reading Panel
Literate Nation
 Reading Recovery
By Louisa Moats

 

Dyslexia and the New Science of Reading: this article appeared in Newsweek in November 1999 yet is still very relevant today.

Sherman on Brain Research and Reading

NCLD’s Reading Comprehension Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities

Wrightslaw The Best Kept Secret in Special Education

Wrightslaw Fifth grader is reading at 2.7 grade level. Should he be tested for Special Ed?

Lighting the Way: The Reading Panel Report Ought to Guide Teacher Preparation

Don’t “Dys” Our Kids:  Dyslexia and the Quest for Grade Level Reading

Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) and Reading Fluency: Implications for Understanding and Treatment of Reading Disabilities by Elizabeth S. Norton and Maryanne Wolf

 Effectiveness of Treatment Approaches for Children and Adolescents with Reading Disabilities: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

The Usefulness of Brief Instruction in Reading Comprehension Strategies

 

Governor Nixon Signed Dyslexia Legislation

It is official!  Governor Nixon signed House Bill 2379 and Senate Bill 638 on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 at 2pm in Springfield at the Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation (OACAC) Head Start location at 552 N Stewart Avenue, Springfield, MO.   There was a celebratory reception at 3:30pm hosted by the Springfield Center for Dyslexia and Learning located at 100 East Primrose St., Suite 530, Springfield, MO 65807.

By December 31, 2017, this act requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop guidelines for the appropriate screening of students for dyslexia and related disorders and to develop the necessary classroom support for such students.  Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, each public school including charter schools, shall conduct dyslexia screenings and provide reasonable classroom support consistent with the guidelines developed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Additionally, practicing teacher assistance programs shall include two hours of in-service training regarding dyslexia and related disorder provided by each school district for all practicing teachers.  Such training shall count as two contact hours of professional development.

This act also creates the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia.  The Task Force will advise and make recommendations to the Governor, Joint Committee on Education, and relevant state agencies.  The TAsk Force will consist of twenty members, as described in the act.  Except for four legislative members and the Commissioner of Education, the members will be appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.  The Task Force will make recommendations for a statewide system for identification, intervention, and delivery of supports for students with dyslexia, as described in the act.

This is a tremendous step forward for public school students in MO!

 

 

Dyslexia Bills Passed This Legislative Session

We can finally celebrate! HB2379, SB635, and SB638 have all passed and will head to the Governor’s desk. These bills contain dyslexia language. Thanks to Representative Swan, Representative Burlison, and Senator Sifton for your tireless work this legislative session on behalf of kids with dyslexia in MO. A special thanks also goes to Jewell Patek and David Winton for helping us in the legislature. And of course we owe a debt of gratitude to all of the legislators that voted in favor of these bills and helped move forward the dyslexia legislation.

All of the bills contain the same language (as it pertains to dyslexia) and include dyslexia screening, teacher training, and the Dyslexia Task Force. Once the Governor signs the bills, they will become laws! Yeah!!!

This is an excerpt from HB2379’s Bill Summary:

“This bill requires each public school to screen students for dyslexia and related disorders at appropriate times in accordance with rules established by the State Board of Education. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) must develop guidelines for the appropriate screening of students and the necessary classroom supports. The requirements and guidelines must be consistent with the findings and recommendations of the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia, which is also created by this bill.

The school board of each district and governing board of each charter school must provide reasonable support consistent with the guidelines developed by DESE. “Related disorders” are defined as disorders similar to or related to dyslexia, such as developmental auditory imperception, dysphasia, specific developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability.

Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, practicing teacher assistance programs will include two hours of in-service training regarding dyslexia and related disorders.

This bill establishes the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia. The task force consists of 21 specified members including two members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and two members appointed by the President Pro Tem of the Senate. The task force must meet quarterly and make recommendations to the Governor, the Joint Committee on Education, and specified state agencies. The task force will make recommendations for a statewide system for identification, intervention, and delivery of supports for students with dyslexia including the development of resource materials, professional development activities, and proposed legislation.

The task force authorized under these provisions will expire on August 31, 2018.”

Be sure to thank your legislators for voting for these bills (legislator lookup) along with the Sponsors of all of the Dyslexia Bills (Senator Sifton, Representative Swan, and Representative Burlison).  These legislators also deserve special recognition:  Speaker RichardsonRepresentative Jones, Senator Kehoe, Senator Romine, Senator Onder, Senator Brown, and Representative Lair.

Don’t forget to write Governor Nixon and ask him to sign these bills into law: https://governor.mo.gov/get-involved/contact-the-governors-office.

 

April 18 Legislative Update

Here is a quick update on all of the MO dyslexia bills as of April 18:

HB2379 – Screening bill and Legislative Task Force (House) passed the House on a vote of 142-5 and has been Reported to the Senate and First Read.
SB827 – Legislative Task Force bill (Senate) passed the Senate on a vote of 31-0 and is headed to the House.
HB1928 – Legislative Task Force bill (House) is on the calendar to be “perfected” in the House (debated and voted on). After this, the bill will be third read and voted on.
HB 2546 – Professional Development bill (House) has been voted “Do Pass” by the House Ed Committee and now will be sent back to the House floor for readings/perfection.
SB809-  Screening Bill (Senate) has been read the second time and referred to the Senate Education Committee.

It is great to have so many bills still alive! Please remember that only 10% of bills make it as stand alone legislation. The majority are attached as amendments to bills that have made it farther along in the process. There is still a lot of time to be heard on both sides, but it is good that these bills have had good support in committee. This should make them likely candidates for amendments.

You can find out how a Bill gets passed in MO here.  Updated information on the bills will always be available by clicking on the links above.

Dyslexia Bills Filed in the House and the Senate

Senator Sifton, Representative Burlison, and Representative Swan have filed Dyslexia Bills.

Senator Sifton filed three Senate Bills.  Two of the Senate bills are related: SB827 and  SB633.  SB633 is an omnibus bill that address a wide range of education issues in our State.  SB633 establishes the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia and the hiring of a Dyslexia Specialist.  The other bill, SB827,  establishes the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia as a standalone bill. A third Senate bill, SB809, requires each public school to screen students for dyslexia and related disorders. SB827 had a Hearing in the Education Committee on February 10. Thank you Senator Sifton!  You can send him a thank you here.

Represenative Burlison filed HB1928, which would establish the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia and also requires DESE to hire a Dyslexia Specialist.  HB 1928 had a Hearing in the Education Committee on February 8.  Be sure to thank Representative Burlison in an email here.

Representative Swan filed HB2379, which requires public schools to screen student for dyslexia and related disorders.  You can send her a thank you here.  HB2379 has a Hearing in the Education Committee on February 15.  We are very fortunate to have these legislators working on behalf of kids with dyslexia in  Missouri!

We encourage you to contact your own Legislators to support these important bills.  You can look up your MO Representative via your zip code here and your MO Senator here.  Or perhaps you’d like to thanks the member of the House and Senate Education Committee.  You can do so here for the Senate Education Committee or here for the House Education Committee.  By sending a letter, email or making a phone call, they will know that dyslexia legislation matters in their district.

If you have any questions related to this legislation, please feel free to reach out on our Contact Us page.  Thank you!

 

US and MO Department of Education Issue Guidance on Dyslexia

Have you had problems getting your child’s School District to use the term “dyslexia”?  You aren’t alone.  These letters may help!  Be sure to share them with your child’s teachers, administrators, and his or her IEP team.  #SAYDYSLEXIA

DDMO DESE Dyslexia IEP opinion letter

US Dept of Ed guidance-on-dyslexia-10-2015

Interview with Michel Yudin, US Dept of Education

On October 23, 2015, the US Department of Education released their letter of guidance on dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia. The following is a summary of the letter and how it may apply to Missouri families and students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).

Background: Dyslexia stakeholders, including Decoding Dyslexia Missouri, reported to the United States Department of Education (USDOE) that State and Local Education Agencies (SEAs/LEAs) routinely refuse to use the word dyslexia and often refuse to screen/ identify, provide interventions for and/or educate teachers about dyslexia, dysgraphia (writing) and dyscalculia (math) disabilities. The DOE guidance document, linked here, responds to stakeholder complaints, including all 50 Decoding Dyslexia State Groups, and provides guidance to the State and Local Education Agency responsible for implementing both Response to Intervention (RtI –whole class/Tier I and small group/Tier II) and special education programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA).

Summary:

1. It’s Okay to Say Dyslexia! The purpose of the letter from the DOE is to clarify that there is nothing in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that would prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in IDEA evaluation, eligibility determinations, or IEP documents.” (Guidance Letter page 1, paragraph 1)

2. IDEA Includes Dyslexia as a Specific Learning Disability and Evaluations Can Consider Disabilities like Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia. The guidance letter references the definition of specific learning disability in the IDEA, which includes the term dyslexia and says that school districts should conduct evaluations for students with difficulty reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia), spelling (dyslexia, dysgraphia) and/or math concepts (dyscalculia) in accordance with 34 CFR Para. 300.304-300.311, evaluation procedures, IDEA. (Guidance letter page 1, paragraph 2)

3. Students Who Struggle with Reading, Writing and Math in the General Education Setting Can be Identified Using Response To Intervention (RTI) and Multi Tiered System of Support (MTSS). The guidance letter reiterates that students who are at risk for reading failure and who struggle to read, write, spell and Decoding Dyslexia – MO Educate. Advocate. Legislate. Decoding Dyslexia – MO Educate. Advocate. Legislate. understand math concepts can receive interventions through Response to Intervention (RTI) and a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). The guidance further clarifies that RTI and MTSS can be used to address the specific learning needs of students with learning differences in the areas, of reading, math, writing. (Guidance Letter page 1, paragraph 3 & 4)

4. If a Student Doesn’t Respond to RTI/MTSS, Refer them for an Evaluation for Special Education. Students who receive “scientific-research based interventions” using RTI or MTSS and who don’t respond to the interventions “must be” referred for an evaluation to determine if they are eligible for special education and related services. RTI and MTSS cannot be used to delay or deny a full evaluation for a student suspected of having a disability. (Guidance letter page 2, paragraph 1)

5. Information about a Child’s Difficulties with Reading, Math and/or Writing, including Information Presented by the Parents, is Important to Determine the Child’s Disability and Educational Needs.
a. The guidance says that when determining whether a child has a disability under the IDEA, including a specific learning disability, and is eligible to receive special education and related services because of that disability, the school district must conduct a comprehensive evaluation under Sec. 300.304, which requires the use of a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information about the child.
b. It further states that information provided by parents with regard to reading, writing, and math must be considered as a part of the requirement “to gather relevant functional, developmental and academic information about the child” including information on the child’s learning difficulties related to reading, mathematics or writing. (Guidance Letter p.2, paragraph 2)
c. NOTE: If you are a parent and you notice your student struggles with reading, writing and/or math at home, this is information that should be included in the eligibility determination along with what’s going on in the classroom.

6. A Child Who Achieves Below Peers and/or Is Not On Grade Level Should be Evaluated. The guidance says that if a student is not achieving adequately for the child’s age or to meet grade level standards, this information should be considered for eligibility. (Guidance Letter p.2, paragraph 1)

7. If a Child’s Eligibility includes Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and/or Dyscalculia, Nothing Prohibits including these Specific Conditions in the Eligibility Determination. (Guidance Letter p. 2, Paragraph 2)

8. The Terms Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia Can Be Used in the IEP. The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) reiterates that there is nothing in the IDEA or the implementing regulations that would prohibit IEP Teams from referencing or using the terms “dyslexia”, “dyscalculia”, or “dysgraphia” in a child’s IEP. (Guidance Letter p.3, paragraph 1)

9. If Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and/or Dysgraphia is the Disability, the Team Should Learn About It so It Can be Addressed in the IEP. “OSERS believes there could be situations where an IEP team could determine that personnel responsible for IEP implementation would need to know about the condition underlying the child’s disability (e.g. that a child has a weakness in decoding skills as a result of the child’s dyslexia.)”

10.Ensure that Regular Education Teachers Are Informed about the Child’s IEP, its Implementation and Specific Accommodations, Modifications and Supports that Must be Provided. (Guidance Letter page 3, paragraph 1)

11.Information on Commonly Used Accommodations in the Classroom for Students with Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia Should Be Provided to State and Local Education Agencies. OSERS lists a number of resources to find such accommodations and recommends that states access the DOE Technical Assistance Centers that develop materials and resources to support States, school districts, schools and teachers. (Guidance Letter page 3, paragraph 2).

12.OSERS encourages the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to review their policies, procedures and practices to ensure that it does not prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia in evaluations, eligibility and IEP documents. (Guidance Letter page 4, paragraph 1)

13.OSERS encourages Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to remind its local school districts of the importance of addressing the unique educational needs of children with specific learning disabilities resulting from dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia during IEP Team meetings and other meetings with parents under IDEA. (Guidance Letter page 4, paragraph 1) Decoding Dyslexia – MO Educate. Advocate. Legislate.