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New law: Teachers to be trained on recognizing dyslexia

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Gov. Mike Pence cermonially signs a bill that will require teachers to have specialized training on identifying the warning signs of dyslexia to help prevent students from falling behind. - AUBREY HELMS/STATEHOUSEFILE.COM
  • Aubrey Helms/Statehousefile.com
  • Gov. Mike Pence cermonially signs a bill that will require teachers to have specialized training on identifying the warning signs of dyslexia to help prevent students from falling behind.

By Katie Stancombe

Teachers across the state are going back to school this summer, but this time they’ll be the students as they receive specialized training to help them learn how to identify students who may be suffering from dyslexia.

The new law, which goes into effect on July 1, also establishes a definition for dyslexia.

House Bill 1108 defines dyslexia as a neurological learning disability that:

  • Creates difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition.
  • Creates poor spelling and decoding abilities.
  • May create problems with reading comprehension.

The law provides that teacher-training programs must offer courses for teachers on detecting the warning signs of dyslexia. Teachers will learn to identify the symptoms, and then refer the student to their school psychologist early on, rather than later.

Before being dianosed with dyslexia and tutored accordingly, Jordyn Struble was a 2nd grader unable to perform reading and writing skills at a kindergarten level. - AUBREY HELMS/STATEHOUSEFILE.COM
  • Aubrey Helms/Statehousefile.com

  • Before being dianosed with dyslexia and tutored accordingly, Jordyn Struble was a 2nd grader unable to perform reading and writing skills at a kindergarten level.

As the father of a dyslexic child, Jason Struble, said that his family has been following this issue for a very long time.

“It’s a long time overdue but it’s a great step in the right direction to solving the problem of identifying children with dyslexia,” said Struble.

Jordyn Struble was in second grade when her parents realized she was unable to read and write at a kindergarten level.

Through private searches, Struble said that he found a special tutor to help his daughter. Yet, for years the family didn’t know what was clinically wrong. Two years later Jordyn was diagnosed with dyslexia.

Jack Binion tutored Jordyn, using special multi-sensory instruction. This helps to control the use of both sides of the brain.

Jordyn Struble’s school work was nearly unrecognizable after she was diagnosed with dyslexia and began special tutoring. - AUBREY HELMS/STATEHOUSEFILE.COM
  • Aubrey Helms/Statehousefile.com

  • Jordyn Struble’s school work was nearly unrecognizable after she was diagnosed with dyslexia and began special tutoring.

“Multi-sensory—they feel it, they run their fingers over it, over the letters, they sky write it, they say it and sound it out, they write down what all the different letters sound like,” said Binion.

Within a year, Jordyn’s reading and writing skills improved significantly as a result of her special tutoring. Her improvement was so significant her schoolwork was nearly unrecognizable. She’s also an honor roll student.

“The problem was getting the law into place that helps recognize it, identify it and then implement the education process that’s needed so that all these kids don’t fall through the cracks,” said Struble.

Author of the bill, Rep. Woody Burton, R-Whiteland, said in a statement that dyslexia was previously not considered as a special need, despite the fact that one in five children have the disorder today.

“This is a way to identify it and get them the help they need. They’re not stupid. These kids are smart,” Burton said. “It’s not a disease, they just learn differently, they see things differently.”

Katie Stancombe is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students

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