Rep. Neilson speaking at our Awareness Day press conference 2013.
Every October we sponsor
Day in Harrisburg
with our coalition members, Decoding Dyslexia PA, at the state capitol in honor of Dyslexia Awareness Month. Our goal is to help legislators and others to understand that 80% of special education
students have some kind of reading disability. Early intervention for Reading difficulties and dyslexia at the K-3 grades is not only more effective for the student, but more cost-effective for the school districts. It takes four times as much time and money to remediate a 4th and 5th grader. Dyslexia ranges from mild to severe, but even the mild level impacts learning. Understanding dyslexia is an opportunity to make a measurable impact on our communities.
We are active participants in the Pennsylvania Branch of the International Dyslexia Association Annual Conference. This conference is one of the oldest and largest in the United States. It is a great opportunity for teachers, professionals in the area of special education and parents to come together.
Click on the link below for more information:
We have been exhibitors and have participated in many other events in the past two years across the state. Please check back under our events tab or our Facebook page, PA DLC or follow us on Twitter for more upcoming events.
We are always looking for knowledgable volunteers to help! To get involved with our awareness activities please complete our Volunteer form.
Informed and effective classroom instruction, especially in the early grades, can prevent or at least effectively address reading and writing problems. So we are working to improve the rigor of teacher preparation programs in universities across the state, by promoting the adoption of the IDA Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading.
In parallel we are also working to improve the rigor of the state certification tests. While the Pennsylvania certification test encompasses the science of reading instruction, this segment of the certification test is not sufficiently rigorous and is not reported separately. With out separate reporting, candidates can do poorly in the science of reading instruction and still pass the certification test based upon an overall score.
Since the Dyslexia Literacy Pilot bill has passed, our next focus will be to get a definition of Dyslexia
incorporated into Chapter 14 Regulations. Although a definition exists in the pilot bill, it is recognized only for the pilot.
A precise definition of Dyslexia would help to eliminate continuing confusion among educational professionals about the nature of the disorder. Additionally, recognizing the disorder, by name, will help to move forward efforts to ensure that children diagnosed with the disorder receive the interventions recognized in the research as effective. The current research underscores the need for interventions to take place in the early years when they are most effective. A definition which recognizes the presence of risk factors such as deficient phonological skills, will help to ensure early intervention.
The state of Ohio has already achieved what we are working toward. In May of 2011, HB 96, sponsored by State Representatives Ted Celeste and Andrew Brenner, incorporated a definition of Dyslexia into their state definition of Specific Learning Disability (SLD). Upon passing of this bill, Representative Celeste commented, “Many times the proper diagnosis of Dyslexia is what holds students back from receiving the kind of educational instruction most appropriate for their individual situations. Often times a student will fall through the cracks in which he or she is ‘not behind far enough’ to qualify for special educational services”.
We are working hard to ensure that all students in Pennsylvania are identified properly and receive research based interventions early.