Indiana expands resources for children with dyslexia

March 30, 2019
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In this Jan. 17, 2019 photo, Alfonso Benavente Gutierrez high-fives Darlene Bell during a lesson at the B.E.A.R Reading Center in South Bend, Ind. A new state law calls for one reading specialist trained in dyslexia for each school corporation and charter school — according to the state department of education that includes all 289 corporations and over 90 charter schools. Those specialists will train teachers who have dyslexic students in their classrooms. (Michael Caterina/South Bend Tribune via AP)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Legislation taking effect this fall in Indiana will expand resources for students with dyslexia, including requiring dyslexia screenings and access to specialists trained to help students with the language-based learning disability.

The law requires all school corporations and charter schools to have a reading specialist who has trained in a dyslexia program, the South Bend Tribune reported.

Having a teacher trained to help students with dyslexia will help all students who struggle to read, said Republican state Sen. Erin Houchin of Salem, who authored the bill and whose son has dyslexia.

“There’s about 20 percent of students that no matter how you teach them to read, they will pick up,” Houchin said. “Then there’s 20 percent of students with dyslexia who will only pick it up when it’s delivered to them in this very specific way: explicit, multisensory, systematic approach. The kids that are in the middle, we know they’re struggling readers and will benefit from the approach as well.”

Lissa Krull of Milford, who has dyslexia, said she noticed signs of the disability in her daughter, Arrington. Krull said the family hasn’t been able to find a tutor for the 14-year-old.

“I’ve been tracking (the bill) and we’re hoping that more will be done, and there will be someone locally that can help her within the school,” Krull said.

The bill also requires students in kindergarten through second grade, as well as those with risk factors, to be screened for dyslexia.

Those who struggle to read are more likely to drop out of high school and end up in the criminal justice system, Houchin said.

State Rep. Woody Burton, who sponsored the bill, said he was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 70.

“If you catch it at an early age and help them identify it, then they’re going to overcome it a lot easier than if they were 15 years old and discovered the problem,” said Burton, who is now 73.


Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com