WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), Tim Scott (R-SC), Mike Braun (R-IN), John Kennedy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today presented the 21st Dyslexia Act of the Century. This legislation aims to integrate our modern scientific understanding of dyslexia into federal law and to prevent harm to young students when their dyslexia is not identified.
“Dyslexia has no impact on a student’s intelligence” said Dr Cassidy. “We know how to teach a student with dyslexia how to read and reach their full potential, but we need to identify their needs before they fall behind. “
“While dyslexia is more manageable today than ever before, a lack of early detection threatens the success of far too many students. “ Senator Scott said. “By clearly defining dyslexia and working to diagnose it earlier, this bill will bring us one step closer to ensuring that all young Americans are equipped with the tools necessary to achieve their dreams.”
“It’s a priority of mine at Congress to help children with learning disabilities access the support they need to thrive as a student. I am honored to co-sponsor the 21st Century Dyslexia Act, which aims to modernize the way we educate schoolchildren with dyslexia. This legislation has the potential to improve the learning experiences of millions of students who will succeed in academia ”, Senator Braun said.
Currently, dyslexia is included as one of many disabilities under the heading “Specific Learning Disabilities” (LTC) in the Disability Education Act (IDEA). LTC is the most common disability category for children covered by IDEA, accounting for over 33 percent of these students. However, although dyslexia is the most common disability in LTC, students are rarely diagnosed with dyslexia. This prevents them from obtaining the services and accommodations necessary to help dyslexic students learn to read. When children are not identified as having dyslexia, evidence shows permanent damage is done, resulting in lower career wages, reduced graduation rates, and even increased incarceration rates.
This legislation helps students and solves the problem by removing dyslexia from the overbroad definition of LTC and including it in the list of disabilities included in the definition of a “disabled child”, thus classifying dyslexia as its own category. within IDEA. In doing so, the 21st Century Dyslexia Law provides a clear definition of dyslexia, which is the same definition adopted in the First Step Law of 2018.
“As physician-researchers dedicated to improving the lives of children with dyslexia, we loudly cry out for the 21st Century Dyslexia Act. Hooray! Finally, education related to dyslexia is aligned with the latest scientific advances; this law incorporates the major advances in the science of dyslexia into the federal law on education. More importantly, it recognizes that dyslexia is a specific and scientifically well-defined entity, unlike the relatively poorly characterized term “specific learning disability” in current federal law. The much needed good will emerge from this ACT; it will allow one in five dyslexic students to finally be identified by their school, to know that their difficulty has a name and that slow readers can also be quick thinkers and be successful in life. The 21st Century Dyslexia Law will encourage schools not only to identify dyslexia, but also to provide evidence-based interventions to dyslexic children who make up 20% of the school-age population, or over 11 million. children in our country. The 21st Century Dyslexia Law is a well-deserved gift, too long held back, not only for dyslexics, but also for their teachers, parents and their community who will all benefit from aligning dyslexia with 21st century science. century. Thank you to the legislators who support this bill and make such progress possible ”, said Sally E. Shaywitz, MD and Bennett A. Shaywitz, MD, co-directors of the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity.