Tennessee Lawmakers Passed A Bill Requiring Schools To Have Dyslexia Screening

Children with dyslexia aren't the only ones having a hard time in school. Their parents who watch their children getting behind on their school work because of their learning disability are suffering the same amount, if not more than they are. However, that may eventually come to an end soon as lawmakers passed a bill that would require district schools in Tennessee to screen children of learning disabilities as early as possible.


Julya Johnson has watched her son having a hard time progressing from K-2 all the way to second grade because he has been struggling with his reading skills. Johnson's son, David has had so much exposure to reading. He and Julya have practiced reading together but it still wasn't enough. Julya later followed through on an advice given by a fellow parent to test David for any learning disability. The test opened up a lot of doors for David to get the support he needed for what they learned was dyslexia, the Tennessean reported.

Johnson and other parents of children with the same disability as well as dyslexia support groups really hoped that one day there would be a bill that will help students get screened for dyslexia as early as possible. Dyslexia is a learning disability that usually causes the child to have a poor writing and reading ability.

According to WKRN reported that the bill would create a dyslexia advisory council and require the state department of education to provide training on identifying and addressing dyslexia. Tim Odegard who serves as chair of excellence in dyslexia studies for the Tennessee Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia said that as many as one in five kids has dyslexia.

It was also explained that at least 80 to 90 percent of children with learning disabilities will have dyslexia, according to Odegard, who happens to be a psychology professor at Middle Tennessee State University.

"For many individuals with dyslexia these word-level reading deficits result from a deficit in how they process the sound structure of our language at the word level. It is not a problem with seeing or seeing letters backwards. And it is not the fault of the child being lazy," Odegard wrote.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts, D-Clarksville, advanced through the state House Education Administration and Planning Committee and the Senate Education Committee this week. If this bill is passed the screening toll for dyslexia will be used in an already existing framework called Response to Instruction and Intervention. This framework used to be used to identify specific learning disabilities.

"With the appropriate implementation of RTI2 to identify dyslexia we will be providing all students in the state of TN with the best reading instruction," Odegard said.

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