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Gov. Signs New California Dyslexia Laws

Author: Decoding Dyslexia CA : Contact: +1 (628) 400-1925

Published: 2015-10-17

Synopsis and Key Points:

Decoding Dyslexia California comments on the benefits for public schoolchildren with dyslexia and their families of new California dyslexia laws.

Main Digest

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed important legislation (AB 1369 - Frazier, D - Oakley) aimed at helping dyslexic children in California public schools. This is the first time in over 20 years that dyslexia legislation has been enacted in the State of California.

Dyslexia, also known as alexia or developmental reading disorder, is defined as difficulty with learning to read and with differing comprehension of language despite normal or above-average intelligence. This includes difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, processing speed, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, language skills and verbal comprehension, or rapid naming. Internationally, dyslexia is designated as a cognitive disorder, related to reading and speech. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke definition describes dyslexia as "difficulty with spelling, phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), or rapid visual-verbal responding.

Dyslexia, a reading disability, impacts approximately 20% of the overall population. In California alone, this means over 1 million students in public schools are dyslexic.

Dyslexia is the single largest learning disability.

Without proper identification and appropriate reading remediation, most dyslexic children will never read at grade level. Sadly, 73% of 4th grade students in California read below grade level.

The new laws will require California to update the criteria for identifying dyslexic children for special education services by adding "phonological processing" to the identification process for special education eligibility. They also provide for program guidelines to be developed by the State Superintendent of Public Education and the California Department of Education to assist teachers, parents and professionals in identifying, assessing and improving educational services for dyslexic students.

Assembly Bill 1369 began as part of a grassroots initiative by Jennifer Biang, the original founder of Decoding Dyslexia California, and a group of concerned parents with dyslexic children. This group drafted AB 1369 with the help of Assemblyman Frazier.

"The dyslexic community has come together to bridge the gap of decades of knowledge surrounding dyslexia and the lack of action taken by our public education system. AB 1369 will allow proper identification and appropriate evidence-based remediation for dyslexic students," states Tobie Meyer, Decoding Dyslexia CA Lead Legislative Member. "This is an important first step in getting our kids the help they need to learn to read, write, and spell at grade-level and experience educational success."

"Over the past few months we have built a strong coalition of parents, teachers and supporters - together, our hard work and dedication has paid off," states Assemblyman Jim Frazier. "AB 1369 championed the voice of over 6,500 parents statewide who have voiced their strong support for giving dyslexic students the remediation that decades of research has shown they need."

Assembly Bill No. 1369

AB 1369, Frazier. Special education: dyslexia
leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1369

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