Monthly Archives: June 2013

Learning Ally’s 1 in 5 Initiative PSA


Did you know that 60 million Americans are dyslexic?

That’s 1 in 5 people in the United States afflicted with a disability that affects a person’s capacity to read printed words.

If this number seems unbelievable to you, we understand why.  Dyslexia is invisible.  You can’t see it, unlike the case for many other disabilities.  And that makes it harder to diagnose, but no less pervasive.  And for the millions of people who struggle to read, it’s plenty real and plenty painful.

There are millions of people – including millions of kids – who struggle with the frustration of being ridiculed and labeled.  From the 11-year old who is called lazy, slow, and stupid by his teachers and peers to the undiagnosed adult who can’t land a job because he can’t fill out a job application, dyslexia scars and bruises on the inside – stifling self-esteem and shattering confidence.

But there is hope.

The 1 in 5 Initiative  was created by Learning Ally in response to the fact that there was a severe lack of awareness about dyslexia. is a haven for dyslexics and their families – a place where people dealing with dyslexia can share their stories and experiences and not get judged or ignored.  In addition to the website, 1 in 5 includes:

  • TV, radio, and print PSA’s
  • Web Banners
  • Professional and user-generated resources

Until now, there has never been a national awareness campaign for dyslexia.  Until now, dyslexics and their families were dealing with the dyslexia journey on their own without a unified voice.

But now it’s different.

We would like you and your organization to assist us in launching our Fall 2013 National Dyslexia Awareness Campaign – the first ever campaign of its kind!  Please let us know by August 1, 2013 so we can recognize you as a supporter in

There are many ways for you to contribute – from donating airtime or print space, to underwriting events, guerilla marketing, and more.  For more information about how you can participate in this unprecedented event, please call or email our PR Director, Doug Sprei – 1.609.243.5865 or, and be sure to check out the media assets on the enclosed DVD, including TV, print, radio, web banners, and more.

On behalf of the millions of people you will be helping to realize their true potential, thank you!


Jim Maloney,

Vice President, Marketing

For the actual letter from Learning Ally, please click here: 1 in 5 Initiative

Radio 30 second spot:  LearningAlly_radio30_mix_V5

TV 30 second spot:  LearningAlly_rev30_032013

TV 60 second spot:  LearningAlly_rev60_032013

Print Ads:  1in5_printads_3colx10_v1

Print Ads:  1in5_printads_v3_7x10

Web Banners:










Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program

The Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program provides students with scholarships that have an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) from their district of residence that are eligible to attend school from kindergarten through 12th grade.  Here is a link to the ODE site for more information on the scholarship and here is link to do a search on the list of providers.  The scholarship is an educational choice program meaning that if a student is approved for the scholarship, the public district is no longer responsible for providing a free and appropriate education (FAPE).  The student must use the scholarship to obtain their education AND supportive services.  In order to use the Jon Peterson Special needs Scholarship, the parent must withdraw the child from the public school district and the parent gives up the right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).  Make sure to check ODE’s Parent Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Click here for a pdf of the Jon Peterson Scholarship Category Amounts


Here are excerpts from Ohio’s Code of Law pertaining to the Jon Peterson Scholarship:

3301-101 Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program

3301-101-10 Payment of scholarship amounts.

(B) The maximum amount [note: not guaranteed amount] awarded to an eligible student shall be as follows:

  • (1) For a category one student, seven thousand one hundred ninety-six dollars [$7,196];
  • (2) For a category two student, seven thousand six hundred eight dollars [$7,608];
  • (3) For a category three student, fourteen thousand eight hundred thirty-two dollars [$14,832];
  • (4) For a category four student, seventeen thousand nine hundred two dollars [$17,902];
  • (5) For a category five student, twenty thousand dollars [$20,000]; and
  • (6) For a category six student, twenty thousand dollars [$20,000].
3301-101-01 Definitions
  • (D) “Category one” child is a child who has been identified with a disability of speech or language impairment as defined in rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code;
  • (E) “Category two” child is a child who has been identified as specific learning disabled as that term is defined in rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code, cognitively disabled as that term is defined in rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code, or other health impairment-minor as defined in section 3317.02 of the Revised Code;
  • (F) “Category three” child is a child who has been identified as vision impaired, hearing impaired or as severe behavior disabled as those terms are defined in rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code;
  • (G) “Category four” child is a child who has been identified with an orthopedic impairment as that term is defined in rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code or as having an other health impairment-major, as defined in section 3317.02 of the Revised Code;
  • (H) “Category five” child is a child who has been identified with multiple disabilities as that term is defined in rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code;
  • (I) “Category six” child is a child who has been identified as autistic as that term is defined in rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code, as having traumatic brain injuries as that term is defined in rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code, or as deaf-blind as that term is defined in rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code
3301-51-01   Applicability of requirements and definitions.
  • (ix) “Other health impairment” means having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that:
    • (a) Is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and tourette syndrome; and
    • (b) Adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
  • (x) Specific learning disability.
    • (a) General. “Specific learning disability” means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.
    • (b) Disorders not included. Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
  • (xi) “Speech or language impairment” means a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

Other Health Impairment (OHI)

In Ohio, there are two classifications of Other Health Impairment – Major and Minor.  OHI Minor is a category 2 child which has a maximum amount of $7,608.  I think a child with a diagnosis of ADHD falls under the category of OHI – Minor.  OHI Major is a category 4 child  which has a maximum amount of $17,902.

Here is a letter issued by the Ohio Department of Education issued February 20,2010 regarding the distinction between other health impairment – major and other health impairment – minor.  Basically, a child that is considered medically fragile is considered to have an other health impairment – major.  These conditions include:

  • tracheotomy
  • central IV line
  • ventilator
  • tube feedings
  • percussion and drainage
  • suctioning
  • oxygen dependent
  • instability of child’s medical condition requiring at least weekly services of a doctor of medicine or osteopathy
  • requiring daily services of a registered nurse
  • at risk of institutionalization in a hopsital, skilled nursing facility, or intermediate care facility


What does “table space” have to do with reading?

Automaticity in decoding is needed to read fluently, and reading fluently is required for comprehension. Working memory is the “table space” your brain has to manipulate information in your head. Some people have more “table space” than others to manipulate information and to make meaningful connections in the text they are reading with their prior knowledge and experience. Those with smaller spaces can only hold on to little bits of information while the rest “falls off the table”. But if you do not have automaticity in decoding, most of your table space will be taken up by decoding, so you will have less space to retain the information that you are reading and this then leads to comprehension problems.

Imagine if you are learning a foreign language and you are reading something in that language – imagine the effort it takes to read and simulataneously translate the words in your head as you are reading. You are spending so much time translating each word that by the time you get done reading, you really didn’t retain what you just read because you spent most of the time translating words. This is the type of effort and what happens when a person that does not have automaticity in decoding experiences when reading.  So if someone says your child has a “disability in reading comprehension”, you may want to dig deeper to see if the problem really stems from a disability in decoding.


Related reading:

Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) and Reading Fluency: Implications for Understanding and Treatment of Reading Disabilities by Elizabeth S. Norton and Maryanne Wolf

Dyslexia Definition Ohio

Isn’t it dyslexia?

Dyslexia Definition OhioSo the school has found your child eligible under IDEA under the Specific Learning Disability category with a disability in “written expression”, “reading fluency”, and/or “reading comprehension”.  What does this mean?  As you review your child’s evaluation with the school, you will need to ask the following questions:

  • Does my child have difficulty with accurate word recognition?
  • Does my child have difficulty with fluent word recognition?
  • Does my child have poor spelling abilities?
  • Does my child have poor decoding abilities?
  • Does my child have a deficit in the phonological component of language?
  • Is this unexpected in relation to his/her abilities?

If they answer yes to all of these questions, your child just met the definition of dyslexia as defined in the Ohio Code of Law and there is nothing prohibiting the school from using the term “dyslexia” in the IEP.  Make sure to print both the definition of dyslexia as well as the guidance letter issued by the US Department of Education in the following links.

UPDATE:  The US Department of Education  Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services issued a guidance letter on October 23, 2015 clarified “that there is nothing in the IDEA that would prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in IDEA evaluations, eligibility determinations, or IEP documents.”

Here are the links with the excerpts of where dyslexia is written in Ohio’s Code of Law:

3323.01 Education of children with disabilities definitions.

  • As used in this chapter:
    • (A) “Child with a disability” means a child who is at least three years of age and less than twenty-two years of age; who has mental retardation, a hearing impairment (including deafness), a speech or language impairment, a visual impairment (including blindness), a serious emotional disturbance, an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, an other health impairment, a specific learning disability (including dyslexia), deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities; and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services.

3323.25 Pilot project to provide early screening and intervention services for children with risk factors for dyslexia.

  • (D) As used in this section, “dyslexia” means a specific learning disorder that is neurological in origin and that is characterized by unexpected difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities not consistent with the person’s intelligence, motivation, and sensory capabilities, which difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language.

Once the school has evaluated your child, the school schould provide you with a copy of the evaluation prior to the meeting to review it.  If they do not provide a copy prior to the meeting, request to postpone the meeting until after you have had time to review the evaluation yourself to be better prepared for the meeting.  The first thing you will need to do with the evaluation, if the school has not yet done so, is to convert the scores into percentiles and to plot on a bell curve in order to really understand what the scores represent.  A score of 100 sounds good, but it is not the same as getting a grade of 100%.  Generally, a standardized score of 100 equates to the 50th percentile, which means half the people scored higher, and half the people scored lower.  Here are links to convert scores to percentiles and standard deviations, how to plot the scores on a bell curve, and to see where your child’s reading fluency falls by grade level.  The more you know and understand this information, the better you will be able to advocate to ensure your child gets what s/he needs.

You will also want to make sure to read these links:

What if you disagree with the school’s evaluation?  You have the right to request an independent evaluation.