Request to Support H.Res.456

While we appreciate and support all efforts to raise awareness regarding the negative impact that ADHD and other Specific Learning Disabilities can have on one’s education and life, our primary focus is on dyslexia.  Our hope is that since H.Res. 456 (Calling on schools and State and local educational agencies to recognize that dyslexia has significant educational implications that must be addressed) is focused solely on dyslexia that it will lead to further legislation resulting in dyslexia becoming a separate category under The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Currently, dyslexia is listed as an example under the category of Specific Learning Disability in IDEA, but this unfortunately is not addressing the needs of students with dyslexia.  The main issue is that schools do not diagnose, but only evaluate to determine if a student is eligible for services under IDEA.  More often than not, schools do not use the term dyslexia, rather, they say a child has a reading disability in the areas of decoding, fluency, and/or comprehension.  This results in schools not appropriately identifying the needs of the student and not providing appropriate remediation to the student.  There is so much research about dyslexia and what works for students with dyslexia, from the appropriate, evidenced based instruction, to accommodations and technology, that is just not being provided and sometimes flat out denied by schools.  Not only is this denying students with dyslexia a free, appropriate, public education ( FAPE), it is also denying them of their civil rights to an equal access to an education.  Lumping dyslexia under the category of Specific Learning Disability allows schools to get away with not using the term dyslexia, and this denies students with dyslexia the evidenced based programs and tools they need for a meaningful education

designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living

as stated under IDEA Section 1400(d)(1)(A) .

Dyslexia is by far the most common of the specific learning disabilities, affecting 1 in 5 people.  In The NICHD Research Program in Reading Development, Reading Disorders and Reading Instruction by G. Reid Lyon, Ph.D., former Chief of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, stated

converging evidence from longitudinal, population-based data indicate that at least  17 percent to 20 percent of children have a significant reading disability”, “or 1 child in 5 will experience significant difficulties learning to read well enough to utilize reading to learn and for enjoyment.” 

There is strong converging evidence for a genetic cause of some types of reading disability with deficits in phonemic awareness being the greatest hereditary factor.”

Of those students that have qualified under IDEA for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), approximately 80-85% qualified for having a disability in reading.  To put this into perspective, according to the National Institute of Health, ADHD affects 3-5% of all children and autism affects 1.36% of children (or 1 in 88).  In contrast, dyslexia affects up to 20% of children.  While some may argue that there is no need for dyslexia to be listed as a separate category under IDEA because it is a specific learning disability and tends to be comorbid with other conditions such as ADHD, deficits in other areas can be supported, but it is the lack of evidence based, explicit, systematic, structured language instruction that is detrimentally disabling for those with dyslexia and this is why dyslexia needs to be its own separate category in IDEA.

 

For further information, please refer to Drs. Sally & Bennett Shaywitz review of the differences between H. Res. 456 and H. Res. 623.

Related:

Daymond John on Dyslexia

Daymond JohnThe Shark Tank‘s Daymond John shares these words of wisdom not only as someone that knows first hand the struggles of having  dyslexia, but also the struggles we parents face with our children affected by dyslexia.  Daymond John posted this on his facebook page, and it has been copied and pasted here verbatim to share with a wider audience.  Daymond John hits the nail on the head with his post, and the bolded sections of text were added here to add emphasis to his comments.

Whenever the episode of shark Tank airs that I mention I’m dyslexic.  I then get many inquiries from parent about it.  I also get a lot of other dyslexics showing me love because they know that it’s not a weakness, it’s just a different way of learning. 

Some people think that I’m joking.  I am far from joking about dyslexia.  It is a serious matter especially for our children.  Not because it’s a hindering disease that some people act like it is.  Not because you are unable to learn and dyslexia is another word for stupid.  Both of those assumptions couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

The reason why dyslexia is a serious matter for children is because many parents, educators and kids have little to no knowledge about it. 

This results in a child’s self esteem being damaged.  They are often called stupid and they end up believing they are.  Once they believe that they are stupid and not as smart as other kids.  They end up losing hope that they will ever amount to anything in life.

If they do not have a strong support group around them. They could end up avoiding school to avoid the embarrassment.  If they start avoiding school, they often end up becoming friends with other individuals that do not have the same values or desire to go to school either.

When they start hanging out with other individuals that are avoided school.  Those kids may have grown up in unfortunate circumstances.  They may not have had supportive parent, opportunities, resources, friends and family that nurtured them and gave them the love and attention that every child deserves.Sooner or later the dyslexic child will realize that they excel in very specific areas, math, art, science etc etc. 

With this new discovery that they are not stupid, they start to get attention from the circles of people that they are now involved with.  Dyslexics are often very very creative, hopefully the circle of people that they are now with are artists, writers, poets singers, crafters, builders, designers etc.

Unfortunately, sometimes the circle of people they end up with have agendas that is a parents worst nightmare!  This story almost never has a good ending.

If you are wondering why I am telling you this. It’s because I am dyslexic and I am also a fellow parent. As parents all we want for our children is the best in life.
Dyslexia is something that sometimes is hard to spot as a parent. Even though I am dyslexic, it took me years to realize that one of my own daughters is dyslexic as well. I wasn’t even the person that spotted it.

Unlike ADD and other issues that children may face. You can’t go to the doctor, get some pills and calm your child down or change their behavior.  If they have dyslexia the cure is more education.  Since there is no drug to cure it, people don’t use it as an excuse and hope a pill will cure it.  Drug companies can’t make a profit off of it.  So there is no need for drug companies to advertise the symptoms and create easy ways for you to get diagnosed so they can sell you more drugs.  It’s simple and plain. If a child has dyslexia, there is no shortcuts or cure. You must put in the work to learn the process of how to take in information in a way that you can analyze it the most efficient and effective way.

Below is a very informative HBO documentary on dyslexia. Hopefully you will get a chance to watch it. If you end up noticing some of the symptoms of the individuals in the documentary as some of the traits your child may have. Then I would highly suggest getting your child tested.

I hope this helps all those that hit me up to get more information on dyslexia. As for all my fellow dyslexic and proud people reading this blog. Please leave comments on my page of any educators, organizations, websites, articles, videos and any other resources that can help parents and kids reading this that might want more information. Or just leave a comment that you are dyslexic and proud to show others that it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Here is the trailer of the documentary . I wish everybody a happy and safe weekend.”

Dj

 

 

Which US Representatives Support Dyslexia?

 

Congress3The attached excel spreadsheet US-House-Reps contains a list of  all the U.S. House of Representatives cross-referenced to show who supports people with dyslexia by joining:

  • the Bipartisan Congressional Dyslexia Caucus,
  • H.Res. 456:  Calling on schools and State and local educational agencies to recognize that dyslexia has significant educational implications that must be addressed.
  • H.Res. 623:  Recognizing the importance of dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities and promoting research, education, and awareness.

Click on the name to be taken to that Represenative’s website.   The file contains filters and by clicking on the drop down box in the column titles section, you will be able to select your state to see your representatives.

Excel Spreadsheet:  US-House-Reps
Ohio’s H Res 456 Cosponsors

 

House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing on “The Science of Dyslexia,” September 18, 2014

 

 

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