In a late afternoon session of the State House of Representatives yesterday, State Representative Terrie Wood (R-141) ushered through a bill she has co-introduced with Sen. Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) aimed at enhancing work on dyslexia and providing improved support for children, teachers and other disciplines working in the area of dyslexia. The bill passed the House unanimously.
“Kids who are dyslexic can’t break down words by the phoenemic sounds, and we need to make sure that their teachers know how to teach them,” said Rep. Wood. “It’s estimated that between 15-20% of students in our public schools are dyslexic, and many aren’t identified until they are in third grade. That’s too late. We need to focus on early identification and and intervention.”
The bill will require teachers applying for professional certification with a comprehensive special education or integrated early childhood and special education endorsement to complete a program of study in the diagnosis and remediation of reading and language arts that includes supervised practicum hours and instruction in the detection and recognition of, and evidence-based structured literacy interventions for, students with dyslexia.
Rep. Wood, who formerly served as the co-chair of the special education task force for the legislature, said her bill includes provisions to develop a program of study for special education for speech / language pathologists to receive training in evidence-based structured literacy interventions.
Spurred by her own experiences raising a daughter who struggled with dyslexia, Rep. Wood has been an active advocate for the dyslexia community, seeking reforms in education for those students who struggle with the learning disorder.
Rep. Wood supported critical bipartisan legislation last year which increased the early screening of children for dyslexia, and mandated improved training for teachers tasked with helping dyslexic children learn to read. Her current bill is amassing the support of a number of legislators from both parties.
The bill, HB 7254, An Act Requiring Special Education Teachers to Complete a Program of Study in Evidence-Based Structurted Literacy Interventions for Students with Dyslexia, now heads to the State Senate for action there. This session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourns on June 7, 2017.