What is in the Law?

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Dyslexia Legislation Passed in Ohio

By Charlotte G. Andrist, Ph.D., NCSP, Past President, IDA Central Ohio Branch

House Bills (HB) 96 and 157 were passed by the Ohio Senate with the concurrence of the Ohio House during a late-night, end-of-the-year Statehouse session on December 14, 2011; both bills were signed into law by Governor Kasich on December 21, 2011.

HB 96 (Celeste – D & Brenner – R) has two components. The law will:

  1. place the IDA definition of dyslexia directly into Ohio statute. Current Ohio law lists dyslexia as a specific learning disability, consistent with IDEA 2004, but does not provide a definition of dyslexia; and
  2. begin a 3-year pilot program for the early identification and remediation of students at-risk for dyslexia and other phonologically based reading disorders.

HB 157 (Schuring – R & Letson – D) also has two components. The law will:

  1. define a dyslexia specialist as someone who has achieved training consistent with the Level II IDA Knowledge and Practice Standards; and
  2. give Educational Service Centers (Ohio’s statewide network of inservice training facilities) and other educational institutions permission to hire a dyslexia specialist to provide professional development in the area of dyslexia for Ohio teachers and administrators.

Many thanks to all of those who have worked so diligently to make this dyslexia legislation a reality, including Stephanie Gordan, Martha Chiodi, Pam Kanfer and many others in the Ohio Dyslexia Group. A special thank-you goes to Janis Mitchell (HB 96) and Rebecca Tolson (HB 157) for the lobbying efforts that got these two legislative initiatives started.

Click here to view the dyslexia legislation in the Ohio Code of Law.

Senator Tom Sawyer (D) addressed the following concerns of HB 96 at the Ohio Senate Session of December 14, 2011:

  • The over-identification and labeling of students: This bill does not require IEP’s or labels and brings the children the necessary intervention.
  • Students wrongly identified for being at risk and assigned to a class of extra phonemic awareness instruction: Research clearly shows that such instruction makes even the most intuitive learners stronger readers down the road.
  • The cost of screening for the presence of core deficits in dyslexia: The cost of personnel and materials is less than $7 per child and each screening is less than 15 minutes. The gains realized in screening are worth far more in the terms of gains realized.
  • School officials expressed concerns about potential cost of implementing the early intervention instruction needed to prevent reading failure in their schools: It should be noted that the single most important thing about this legislation is that the cost of the current system of not addressing this is far higher. The work this legislation represents and the gains this will offer are far higher than any potential cost.

Ohio Board of Regents

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