The READ Act and Kids with Dyslexia

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DyslexiaJamie Richardson of the International Dyslexia Association interviewed Representative Lamar Smith about the newly signed “READ Act” which directly impacts children with dyslexia.

For those of us like me, with dyslexia, the interview is a fun read and uplifting.

Folks, due to efforts of IDA and Decoding Dyslexia, change is happening.

In question 4 of the interview, Representative Smith was asked about additional needs re dyslexia legislation. He explained that the law “is a great first step, but more more needs to be done.”

So true.

What additional needs do you see in the area of dyslexia legislation?

Rep. Smith noted that “Dyslexia affects an estimated 8.5 million school children and one in six Americans in some form. It causes these individuals to have difficulties with reading, though they often have normal or above-average intelligence. Despite the prevalence of dyslexia, many Americans remain undiagnosed, untreated, and silently struggle at school or work. Too many children with undiagnosed dyslexia have difficulties in the classroom and sometimes drop out of school and face uncertain futures.”

He is a co-chair “of the bipartisan Dyslexia Caucus, which comprises more than 100 members of Congress.”

Rep. Smith we thank you.

And Jamie Richardson, thanks for putting together such a nice, succinct piece about the new law.

What does the READ Act mean for students with dyslexia? What does it change?

“The READ Act would focus NSF-funded research on practical issues such as early identification of children and students with dyslexia … [and] includes better training and preparation for teachers and administrators of students with dyslexia and development of effective curricula and educational tools for children with dyslexia.”

Find the complete interview here:

I have been a member of the Orton-Dyslexia Society, now known as the International Dyslexia Association since the early 1970’s and am pleased to see IDA, along with DD, making an impact in Congress.

  1. Is my son (8 years old, completed second grade in private school) entitled to resources for his recently diagnosed Orthographic Dyslexia?

    Is he only entitled to resources if he attends public school?

    What kind of training can I expect any special education teachers to have completed regarding Orthographic Dyslexia?

    Why is it so hard for me to get the help my son needs?

    Why is public school tho ONLY option for assistance?

    Please help my son. Everywhere I turn I am told, “NO, the school systems takes care of that”, but the school system is not taking care of that. How do I do this? I just need somebody to help me help my son.

    • Public school is not the only option for assistance but some private schools specialize more in dyslexia. My child will start college in the fall. Over the years, I did not fully depend on the school system to help. He had great teachers, but I educated myself on Wrightslaw, learned and yes purchased up to date AT for my child who is now very good at using AT, visited disability centers at colleges to understand AT and ensure my child’s life had extracurriculars to build confidence. My child used online reading programs to help. The school system, long story, helped as much as they could. I was NOT going to wait for the school district with their budget cuts and politics –we supplemented. The window of time in school was too short to wait. We collaborated and supplemented.

  2. We were told that dyslexia has been removed from our state’s list because the term is “too medical” Yet it is my understanding that it is on the federal list as a specific LD. Which law takes precedence?

    • Removing it would be difficult since the IDEA rules say specific learning disability includes dyslexia. So the state would have to do away with specific learning disability as a condition.

    • What state? What is your status now? States are playing politics with childrens and parents lives… and districts deny implementation. Discovering why Dyslexia remains medicalized and obfuscated to deny progress, fuels my passion to make a documentary film exposing the status quo in the Divided States of Dyslexia.

  3. I’m confused, is a school district to test for dyslexia or not. If a parent suspects it, we are being told we have to go get an outside evaluation. Which many can not afford.

    • Did anyone answer you? Districts do not test for Dyslexia and only the rich can afford the small fortune it costs for the amount of assessments, tutoring and programs it takes to access the best college.

      • Districts can pay for outside evaluations but it is a process. One should contact an advocate or parent advisory center to understand that process. Outside evaluations are expensive but there are ways for those of us without a lot of funds to obtain assistance for our kids. I tell parents to contact local dyslexia associations, network, contact local university disability centers to gain access to resources. It becomes almost a full time job. Many larger cities do have programs and some are free, yes free. I did not depend on the school district as the sole expert on my kid or to provide my child with resources. They did not even know much about AT when he was diagnosed with dyslexia a few years a go. Know your resources, how your rights, teach your child to advocate.

  4. My son attends a Private school and they are against an IEP. Is there a way to use a 504 to help with his Dyslexia? I am just starting this process, but he is in 2nd grade this year for the second time and I am not sure it is what he needs. Is there anything I can use to push the school to accommodate my son?
    Thank you

    • Emily, think about this. What are his accommodations? What is his remediation program? What AT is being used to level some of the “learning field” for him? Is the school invested in his success? Look at other private schools that may better service your son or possibly public schools in your area. When it come to private schools, I tell parents to “go with the school that loves your child want WANTS your child to succeed. ” Remember, a child knows when they are not learning.

      • Thanks for your reply, but I am not sure what “AT” is…. I’m sorry I am just new at all this:) I agree with the school being able to love and help my child, but I would really like to have accommodations in writing and them be met.
        How should I go about that?

          • Emily, I am sorry for the late reply. AT is assistive technology. You can google “assistive technology for dyslexic students” which will give you more up to date current AT information. Accommodations vary on the needs of the child and the extent of the LD as some LDs interfere with writing where others reading or math, processing, etc. I am not sure about a 504 as my dyslexic child had an IEP as the extent of the LD warranted such. His LD impacted him across the curriculum.

  5. I didn’t realize that dyslexia was so common, but I can believe it. I have at least one cousin that deals with it, and my brother in law. I can believe that there are more that are diagnosed too. My cousin had the hardest time reading in school, and they found if the text was on blue paper, he could read just fine. So now he has blue tinted reading glasses. I think it’s good stuff like this is becoming more recognized. Though I don’t have dyslexia, I’ve had to deal with other learning disabilities, so I know how hard it is to try and get by.

    • Nash, there are so many resources now that people can utilize. With technology and the easily assessable world of books on tape, speech to text, etc. both adults and kids have a whole new world open to them.

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