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New Missouri Law Aims to Diagnose Dyslexic Students Before Kindergarten

New Missouri Law Aims to Diagnose Dyslexic Students Before Kindergarten

A new law signed by Governor Nixon last week aims to best help dyslexic students in the state’s classrooms by requiring all students be screened for the learning disorder before entering kindergarten.

Improving learning conditions for dyslexic students has been an increasingly relevant focus as concurrent research continues to highlight the benefits of diagnosing and supporting dyslexic students from an early age.

Last year, a group of university researchers found that treating students with dyslexia before third grade is crucial to future student achievement.

After studying a group of over 400 students with dyslexia, the researchers found that “[c]ompared with typical readers, dyslexic readers had lower reading scores as early as first grade, and their trajectories over time never converge with those of typical readers.”

When dyslexic students are undiagnosed until third grade, they have already missed out on years of help that should have occurred early in their development years. Unfortunately, since third grade marks a pivotal point in learning to read, many students go undiagnosed until this point.

According to the report, around 17-21 percent of the entire U.S. student population is affected by the learning disorder, which specifically "is a problem with a component of spoken language, phonological processing: that is, getting to the elemental sounds of speech, affecting both spoken and written language.”

"Parents go into kindergarten wondering why their kids aren't on task and a lot of times the answer is, just wait, it will come ... But if you know that your child is more likely to be dyslexic you may investigate and find other sources to help your student or your child learn to read,” said Noel Leif, Director of the Springfield Center for Dyslexia and Learning to KY3 News.

The Missouri law will go into affect in the 2018-2019 school year and will also require that teachers "receive two hours of training on methods to address dyslexia … [and] will also establish a task force to recommend how teachers and schools can accommodate and foster learning for their dyslexic students.” The law will affect both public and charter schools in the state.

Read the full story.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Senior Contributor

6/29/2016

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