Contact: Kerensa Konesni
March 17, 2014
Nearly five dozen individuals offered written or spoken support today in favor of a bill championed by state Senator Cathy Osten (D-Norwich) which seeks to include dyslexia as a ‘primary disability’ on a school district’s individualized education program form.
Dyslexia is currently not included on the list; inclusion would qualify a child for special education services and individualized assessment and learning modifications.
“The broad array of challenges students with dyslexia experience demonstrates the need for action by schools, partnerships with parents, and individualized programs catered to each student,” Sen. Osten told members of the legislature’s Education Committee today at a public hearing on the dyslexia bill and others. “By adding dyslexia to the individualized education program form, this bill places dyslexia on the radar. It can help facilitate recognition and intervention so students with dyslexia can learn in environments that recognize their needs and facilitate their learning.”
“Early identification of dyslexia is not taking place in many of our Connecticut public schools. Experts in the field state it is now possible to identify children at risk for word-reading difficulties as early as kindergarten,” said Alison Quirion, a constituent of Sen. Osten’s who is the parent of a 10-year old dyslexic son and who is the founder of Decoding Dyslexia-CT, a grassroots movement concerned with the limited identification and interventions for dyslexic Connecticut public school students. “Early assessments will lead to early identification, which is key to a dyslexic student’s success. Without early identification our bright, creative, social and caring children are feeling lazy, dumb, anxious and stupid.”
The bill has bipartisan support: both of the deputy Republican minority leaders in House and Senate are co-sponsoring the proposal.
Dyslexia is a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence. The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity estimates that 20 percent of the population is dyslexic, yet many remain undiagnosed, untreated and struggling with the impact of their dyslexia.
Sen. Osten and Quirion first met in December to talk about the proposed dyslexia bill; an interview between the two is available via YouTube.
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