Donate Here To Support Decoding Dyslexia MO’s Mission to Educate, Advocate, and Legislate. And be sure to watch our video to learn more about dyslexia. 100% of proceeds will fund programs such as “Hill Day,” dyslexia simulations, movie screenings, and website expenses.
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.
Thanks to all of the DD-MO members that made passing HB2379 possible! Your hard work is beginning to pay off!!
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:
Learning 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:
- university programs accredited by the IDA, and
- independent teacher training programs accredited by the IDA.
Background and History on the “Reading Wars”
- Research and the Reading Wars is a chapter excerpt posted on Harvard’s website. This is excellent background into the history and science of the reading wars. Lengthy but a must read! Or read the abridged version! 1/2008
- The Reading Wars 11/1997
- How the ‘reading wars’ are being reignited 8/21/2013
- Another blast in the reading wars 9/17/2013
- The Reading Wars: Why Natural Learning Fails in Classrooms 11/19/2013
- Why Science Lost the Reading Wars by Literate Nation, Fall 2013
- How the Reading Brain Resolves the Reading Wars by Maryanne Wolf, Fall 2013
- The Reading Wars: Phonics vs Whole Language 12/2008
- Whole Language High Jinks by Louisa Moats
National Reading Panel
- National Reading Panel Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read
- National Reading Panel Reports of the Subgroups – fyi, this is a 449 page document
- Impact of Scientifically-based Reading Instruction on Different Groups and Different Levels of Performance by Steve P. Dykstra
- Reading Development and Literacy Instruction
- Reading Recovery: An Evaluation of Benefits and Costs
- An Evaluation of Benefits and Costs
- Reading Recovery: What Do School Districts Get For Their Money?
- New Zealand’s literacy strategy (Reading Recovery) failing to reduce the gap
By Louisa Moats
- Whole Language Lives On: The Illusion of “Balanced” Reading
- Whole-Language High Jinks: How to Tell When “Scientifically Based Reading Instruction” Isn’t
- Literacy Achievement in the Primary Grades in High-Poverty Schools
- Teaching Reading is Rocket Science: What Expert Teachers of Reading Should Know and Be Able To Do
- How Spelling Supports Reading And Why It Is More Regular and Predictable Than You May Think
Dyslexia and the New Science of Reading: this article appeared in Newsweek in November 1999 yet is still very relevant today.
Wrightslaw The Best Kept Secret in Special Education
Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) and Reading Fluency: Implications for Understanding and Treatment of Reading Disabilities by Elizabeth S. Norton and Maryanne Wolf
It is official! Governor Nixon will be signing House Bill 2379 and Senate Bill 638 on Wednesday, June 22 at 2pm in Springfield at the Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation (OACAC) Head Start location at 552 N Stewart Avenue, Springfield, MO. Please see map below for parking. There will be 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. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you can attend the reception. All are welcome!
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, and we hope you can join us Wednesday to celebrate the enactment of this legislation!
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 Richardson, Representative 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.
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.
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!
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
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).
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.
The News Tribune recently published the article “Dyslexia Dilemma: Parents, educators given ‘tools’ to cope with disorder”. The article discusses what dyslexia is and how families struggle to get the services they need.
This information was presented by Anita Kuttenkuler, a retired teacher and dyslexia tutor, at a recent Decoding Dyslexia-MO educational event. Ms. Kuttenkuler also led a dyslexia simulation.
The News Tribune article also mentions Decoding Dyslexia’s recent efforts to get a dyslexia bill passed in the Missouri legislature.
Please join us on Wednesday, January 18th, 2017 for the second annual Decoding Dyslexia MO “Hill Day”! Below is the itinerary with planned events and opportunities for you to meet your legislators and other DD-MO Members from around the State. If you are able to attend this event, be sure to RSVP to email@example.com so that we will be able to provide you with name tags, a luncheon, and other information/items for this event.
“Hill Day” Itinerary:
One week prior to the event – Make appointments to meet with your Legislators to meet in their office. You can find contact information for your House Representative here and your Senator here. Appointments are not necessary but, if you would feel more comfortable by scheduling an appointment then please do so. Please note: Session and hearing times may not be determined prior to this date and offices may not be scheduling appointments.
On “Hill Day”:
9 am – 12 pm and 1 pm – 4 pm Rotunda Table Hours — Our tables will be located on the third floor rotunda area on the House side. Check in and collect name tags and other items for yourself and members of your family before heading off to meet your Legislators. (We will be distributing “Talking Points” about important information to discuss in advance via email or on our Facebook pages that you can print at home for your use when speaking with your Legislators.) DDMO Leaders from around the State will be on hand to answer questions and provide encouragement.
12 pm – 1 pm DDMO Member Luncheon. Join us in House of Representatives Hearing Room #6 to meet and socialize with other DDMO members from around the State. There will be members of the legislature, Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia members and DDMO members on hand. We will have a brief Powerpoint presentation to update you on all of the current activities of DDMO across the state.
Optional Tour of The Capitol. If you would like to take a quick tour of the Capital while you are there, you can stop by the tour desk on the first floor of the Capital. They last approximately 45 minutes. More information can be found here. You can also peruse the Missouri State Museum also found on the first floor, with our without a tour guide.
4pm – Safe Travels Home! Hopefully, you will be enjoying a safe and relaxing ride back home knowing that you have participated in creating new and meaningful legislation for the dyslexic students in our State!
If you have any questions about “Hill Day”, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested in helping plan this event? Join our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/237742459716015/
We look forward to seeing you in Jefferson City!