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Legislative Update: Ohio House Passes New Dyslexia Bill

Categories: Learning Disabilities, Public Policy/Advocacy

Ohio HB 96, which was passed on May 24 by a resounding vote of 94 to 1, includes dyslexia in its definition of learning disabilities, and will allow for students with dyslexia to be included in the list of students who are given special instruction at school. “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 may fall through the cracks in which he or she is not ‘behind far enough’ to qualify for special educational services.”  So says State Representative Ted Celeste (pictured above), who co-sponsored the bill with State Representative Andrew Brenner. Getting the word "dyslexia" established and accepted in the vocabulary of public school systems is a feat in itself -- and a challenge that is continually voiced by countless parents in Learning Ally's community all over the country. The bill also creates a pilot project in partnership with local libraries to provide early screening and intervention services for children. Our parents continually tell us that intervention is critical to prevent students from failing through their school careers and possibly dropping out of school.  Costs to the state for a student who is not identified early on are much greater due to factors such as misbehavior, anxiety and future remediation programs. In its own way, this legislation on the state level is momentous -- and hopefully the foreshadowing of a wave of favorable policy shifting to come across the nation.  Learning Ally extends appreciation for the tireless work of Janet Milkovich and our Public Policy & Advocacy team, our passionate and persuasive national Board member/crusader Janis Mitchell, and our many friends and collaborators based in the Ohio chapters of the International Dyslexia Assocation, for their influence in getting this bill passed. - Doug Sprei

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