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New law requires annual dyslexia awareness program in schools

Posted at 8:48 PM, Apr 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-17 23:25:47-04

TULSA -- Students in Oklahoma will soon get much needed help from their teachers after Governor Stitt signed a bill into law, requiring schools to offer annual dyslexia awareness training.

"The difficulties might be noticed, but you might not realize, this is a sign of dyslexia," said Allison Conch, Jenks District Special Education Coordinator.

11-year-old Jaleigh Snider was overwhelmed with frustration when it came to spelling and math.

"It’s kind of hard for me to do it so I just kind of had like a meltdown, it was bad," said Snider.

After realizing she has mild dyslexia, Snider now takes classes at Tulsa Dyslexia Center, and found out she's not alone.

"My mom has it so me and her, it’s easy for me to do home school with her than my father," said Snider.

A new law beginning in the 2020-2021 school year implements a dyslexia awareness program. At a minimum, it includes training in detecting dyslexia characteristics in students.

"Rhyme, rhythm, the ability to stay on rhythm with songs even, rapid naming of objects," said Conch.

Plus, training in effective classroom instruction to meet the needs of students with dyslexia, and provide available resources for teachers, students, and parents.

"If help is delayed until third to fourth grade around age nine, 75 percent of those students are still going to struggle throughout the rest of their school career," said Conch.

Jenks has 35 speech pathologists working in the district, and 13 of them just went to a training event last week on dyslexia.

"I think it’ll be very helpful to recognize specific signs since this disorder does require a particular type of remediation," said Conch.

Research shows 90 percent of students, if they receive help by first grade, can be grade-level in reading. This law is a step in the right direction to bring teachers the right tools to help kids in school.

"You’re going to have to learn how to cope with it and everything for now, until you have help," said Snider.

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