Changes in schools create new possibilities for students with dyslexia

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — New state regulations on dyslexia are providing hope for Kansas parents. The Kansas State Board of Education will now require additional training for teachers and mandatory dyslexia screenings for students. For many, these new regulations could mean a fresh start.

Erin Boggs is a mother of four, two of her children have been diagnosed with dyslexia. She says she was overcome with emotion when the new regulations passed.

“I cried when they said that,” adds Erin.

Erin’s oldest daughter had begun struggling in school after resources were taken away from her. Erin says staff told her to wait until her daughter was 10 to see if she would grow out of her issues. One day, Erin says her daughter left school, telling her teachers she wouldn’t be back.

“I called my husband from the bedroom and I said, ‘I think our 2nd grader just dropped out of school’,” says Erin. “But from then I knew she meant it and she was smart enough to know she was being taught the way she learned.”

Erin’s daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia after the family visited a specialist. She has since been doing online schooling. Erin’s younger daughter was also beginning to show symptoms and was diagnosed with dyslexia. She remains in public school and is doing well.

Under the new changes required for schools, teachers would be trained on how to teach students with dyslexia and how to find signs of dyslexia in young students. This includes:

  • Delay in oral language development
  • Speech development is progressing as expected for age
  • Lack of phonemic awareness (the ability to hear, identify, manipulate specific sounds)
  • Words correct per minute is low or inaccurate
  • Spelling is not aligned with proper sounds of words

“We also want to make sure that we are very diagnostic in our instruction so that we’re adapting instruction as we go so that students can get caught before they fail,” explains Cindy Hadicke, Elementary Education Program Consultant with the Kansas State Department of Education.

For Erin, she hopes these new rules will allow her oldest daughter to return to public school and help eliminate the stigma against dyslexia.

“I hope it means that that kid doesn’t sit in a classroom until he’s 10 years old wondering why all of those other kids get it and he doesn’t,” adds Erin.

These changes are projected to be implemented across the state by August of 2021.

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