Four Dyslexia Bills Introduced in the Missouri Legislature

Representative Burlison, Representative Wood, and Senator Sifton have been working hard on behalf of kids with dyslexia in Jefferson City.  Representative Burlison introduced HB921 and Senator Sifton introduced SB548 that creates the “Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia” and requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to employ a dyslexia specialist and develop professional development programs for schools.  Representative Wood and Senator Sifton introduced HB731 and SB468 that requires each public school to test students for dyslexia and related disorders and provide treatment.  Thank you Representative Burlison, Representative Wood, and Senator Sifton!

Learn more about the bills here by entering the word “dyslexia” into the search bar:

Governor Nixon signs HB1614

Great news for Missouri families- Governor Nixon signed HB1614!  HB1614 adds dyslexia to Bryce’s Law.  Bryce’s Law establishes a scholarship fund for students whose needs aren’t being met by public schools.  Under Bryce’s law, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will be required to oversee the establishment of a scholarship fund and will also approve and monitor scholarship-granting organizations in the State.  DESE will also be required to set up a website with a list of resources for parents.  Regulations will be written over the next year so students can benefit as soon as the 2015-2016 school year.  Adequate scholarships will require donations, so please think about whether or not your family or perhaps your employer can make a gift to one of the scholarship funds.  Details about how to donate will be available by the 2015-2016 school year.  Details about how children with dyslexia can apply for scholarships will be available then, too.

Senator Sifton Introduces A Dyslexia Bill In The Senate

Great news for Missouri families! Senator Scott Sifton sponsored Senate Bill 984 that will define “Dyslexia” in the State Code and also require the Department of Education to hire a dyslexia specialist to oversee professional development and the creation of a Dyslexia Resource Guide.   This is an important first step for Missouri families that have a child struggling with a diagnosis of dyslexia.

Please let Senator Sifton know that you appreciate his work on this important bill.  You can click here to email him directly.

Share you enthusiasm about this bill with your local legislator, too.  Click here to find your local legislator.  Your Senatorial district will be listed first.  Click on your legislator’s name and a link to their email can be found on the left hand side of their home page.

Sample of email to Senator Sifton:

Dear Senator Sifton,
Our family has faced many challenges as a result of our child’s diagnosis of dyslexia.  Our greatest challenge, however, has been trying to get our child the services they need in a public school setting.   Thank you for sponsoring Senate Bill 984.
The Smith Family


Dear Senator Sifton,
Thank you for sponsoring Senate Bill 984.  Your work on this issue will raise the awareness needed to bring about change for kids with dyslexia in Missouri.
Jane Smith

Sample of an email to your local legislator:

Dear Senator,
Our family has faced many challenges as a result of our child’s diagnosis of dyslexia.  Our greatest challenge, however, has been trying to get our child the services they need in a public school setting.  Please support Senate Bill 984 which defines “Dyslexia”  and requires the Department of Education to hire a Dyslexia Specialist to oversee professional development and the creation of a Dyslexia Resource Guide.  These changes are needed to ensure children with dyslexia are better served in public schools.
The Smith Family


Dear Senator,
Please support Senate Bill 984.  Children with dyslexia are not adequately served by Missorui public schools.
Jane Smith

Great news for Missouri families dealing with dyslexia!

Representative Eric Burlison was able to add dyslexia to the special needs section of House Bill 1614 (known as “Bryce’s Law”). This could provide much needed financial relief for some MO families, and it definitely raises the awareness of dyslexia at the state level.

If you would like to follow the progress of this bill, register at Legiscan for updates and bill tracking information.

Dyslexia Resolution Submitted

WASHINGTON –  Congressmen Bill Cassidy, M.D., the Co-Chair of the House Dyslexia Caucus, submitted a resolution H.RES.456 calling for the House to acknowledge the impact of dyslexia and urge schools and educational agencies to address its impact on students. Dr. Cassidy released the following statement:


“Dyslexia affects millions of Americans, including many students. We know that many with dyslexia are among our brightest and most successful. If dyslexia is identified in elementary school and the appropriate resources are given to these children, America can produce more teachers, more scientists and more entrepreneurs. This resolution pushes schools and educational agencies to address this challenge and provide evidence-based solutions for dyslexic students.”

Please click Cassidy House Dyslexia Resolution January 10 2014 to read the pdf version of the resolution H.RES.456.

Please contact your  Representative and ask him/her to support the Dyslexia Resolution that Congressman Cassidy introduced in the House today and to join the Bipartisan Congressional Dyslexia Caucus.

Hopefully this will be the impetus for eventually enacting national dyslexia legislation.

Urge Senator Scott Rupp to Sponsor Dyslexia Legislation

Senator Scott Rupp is considering sponsoring legislation in the Senate supporting people with dyslexia.  Senator Rupp is on the Senate Education Committee and it is critical that we have his support.  Please send Senator Rupp an email asking him to sponsor or co-sponsor bills aligned with Decoding Dyslexia-MO’s Goals (see Our Goals on our website).

Tell Senator Rupp Today!
 1.  Click Here for Senator Rupp’s website.
2.  Click on “email” on the left hand side of the page or follow this link directly.
3.  Enter your contact information, including your nine-digit zip code.
4.  If you don’t know your nine-digit zip code, look up you zip code at the US Postal Service.
5.  Copy and paste the sample email below, add your personal statement and send!

or simply
1.  Copy and paste the email below to Senator Rupp at:
Please Sponsor Legislation Supporting Children With Dyslexia

Dear Senator Rupp,

As a member of Decoding Dyslexia-MO,  I am writing to ask that you consider sponsoring legislation that would help Missouri children with dyslexia.  There is much work to be done in raising awareness about dyslexia and making policy changes that create opportunity for all dyslexics and remove barriers to success.  I urge you to sponsor or co-sponsor legislation that would support children with dyslexia and their families.

Your name and mailing address

DDMO Educational Events

We have events to help. Decoding Dyslexia-MO hosts events across the State. If you have questions about why your child struggles to read or if you need help understanding your child’s evaluation, check our list of upcoming events.

St. Louis, MO
March 24, 2019, from 2 pm – 3:30 pm
Dyslexia Resource Fair
Des Peres Lodge
1050 Des Peres Road, Des Peres, MO 63131
Free tickets available on our Decoding Dyslexia MO Facebook Page
Sponsored by Lindamood Bell Learning Processes®
Please join DDMO to learn more about resources for children with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities in the St. Louis Area. Vendors at this event may include schools, tutoring centers, reading specialists, speech and language pathologists, and assessment centers.

Cape Girardeau, MO
April 8, 2019, 6 pm – 7:30 pm
Understanding The IEP Process/IEPs and Students with Dyslexia
Location:  SEMO Alliance for Disability Independence (SADI)
755, Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63703
Please join us to learn more about the IEP process and how to ensure your child with dyslexia will receive the goals they need to succeed in a special education environment. We hope you can make it!

St Louis, MO
Friday, May 3, 2019, at 9:00 am – 3:30 pm
Conference:  How to Improve Word-Level Reading in Students with Dyslexia
Featuring David Kilpatrick
Location:  Holiday Inn Conference Center Cadillac Ballroom 10709 Watson Road St. Louis, MO 63127
Hosted by:  DDMO and MPACT (Missouri Parents ACT)
Tickets available here 
The presentation will focus on how children learn to read words and why some children struggle. Understanding the nature of word-level reading development and word-level reading problems will guide both assessment and intervention. Studies consistently show that the most commonly used intervention approaches provide limited benefits for weak readers. However, other studies have shown that some approaches can yield very large reading gains for such students. Once we understand how reading works and why some students struggle, the reasons for this pattern of intervention findings become clear. The focus is on establishing the best instructional and intervention practices. We hope you can make it!


Teacher Training

What percentage of teachers has been trained on dyslexia, its warning signs, and accommodation strategies that can help students with dyslexia?

Through no fault of their own, teachers (including general education teachers, reading specialists and special education teachers) often receive no training on dyslexia. It can be frustrating to be teaching without the necessary tools. Let’s help get our teachers the education and tools they need to help all students learn to read.

One in Five

As many as 1 in 5 students may have some degree of dyslexia. Check out Learning Ally’s 1in5 initiative.

Dyslexia is characterized by an unexpected difficulty in reading in children and adults who otherwise possess the intelligence, motivation, and schooling considered necessary for accurate and fluent reading (Shaywitz 1998). It represents one of the most common problems affecting children and adults with prevalence rates ranging from 5 to 17.5% (Shaywitz 1998). Such data have led “the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) [to] consider reading failure to reflect not only an educational problem, but a significant public health problem as well” (Lyon 1998).