Decoding Dyslexia VA

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January 2014



Would you like to spread DDVA’s message, but you are unsure where to start?

It doesn’t have to be difficult, just remember you live with it every day!  In fact your story of dyslexia is the most important part!

We will give you a packet for the legislator and make every attempt to pair you with another person who shares your state Delegate or Senator.

We hope to pair you with someone who knows the DDVA dialog well.  But, based on the number of people who attend February 4, we realize that may not be possible.

Below you will find our consistent message. We realize it is a lot of information and does not have to be delivered word for word.  We have a demonstration video too, if you think that would help. In general, this meeting would take about 25 minutes with pleasant conversation included.

DDVA Introduction:

  • Decoding Dyslexia Virginia is a grassroots movement founded in 2013
  • The first Decoding Dyslexia State was New Jersey, since they formed in 2011 more than (check website for current number – 44 as of 1/2014) states have joined the movement
  • Take from the number of states involved, that this issue id not only here in Virginia, it’s national
  • DDVA Mission:
    • We want to families to resources, support, and educational interventions
    • We aim to:
      • Raise dyslexia awareness
      • Empower families to support their children
      • Inform policy-makers on best practices to identify, remediate and support students with dyslexia in Virginia.
      • DDVA  Members:
        • Comprised of parents whose children are dyslexic
        • We are not experts
        • We offer the community the benefit of our collective experiences
        • 800 strong representing all areas of the state

Dyslexia Definition/The Facts:

  • Ask the person with whom you are talking what they know about dyslexia, or if they know someone who is dyslexic.

The Facts:

  • People often think Dyslexia is reading or seeing words and letters backwards. But that is not what dyslexia is
  • Dyslexia affects 1 in 5, or 20% of the population
  • Dyslexia is defined on page 11 of the regulations governing special education programs for children with disabilities in Virginia,
  • Virginia has a universal definition of dyslexia in the state education code:
  • You do not need to recite the definition, but here it is for reference:

Dyslexia is distinguished from other learning disabilities due to Its weakness occurring at the phonological level. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge”.

  • People who have dyslexia have average or above average intelligence
  • Language Centers of the brain have been defined with the help of Functional Brain Imaging/fMRI’s and are on the left side of the brain
  • Dyslexics tend to be picture thinkers, and use the right side of the brain more.
  • But, put the left brain/right brain issue aside, and think instead about the non dyslexic brain having fast express lanes between the language centers
  • Compare that to the dyslexic brain which has more circuitous routes/clogged highways/country roads
  • Many people are never diagnosed, but as many as 80% of children in LD classes may really be dyslexic
  • Currently most schools teach typical learners to read using what is called a “Whole Language “ approach, this method doesn’t work for a dyslexic learner
  • Dyslexic learners need to be taught the rules of the English language, and specific phoneme rules
  • The remediation is specific
  • Remediation should be structured, sequential, cumulative, and simultaneously multisensory
  • When identified and remediated with proper instruction, dyslexic children can thrive, and transition out of Special education
  • When diagnosis is delayed, children struggle and often have to have many more years of special education once they can no longer compensate
  • Up to 70% of those in the criminal justice system have a learning disability

Tell your story:


We are advocating for Virginia to implement:

  • Teacher/staff training on dyslexia, its warning signs and appropriate intervention strategies
  • Early screening tests for dyslexia to include parental notification
  • Evidenced-based dyslexia remediation programs implemented with fidelity which can be accessed by both general and special education populations
  • Access to appropriate “assistive technologies” in the public school setting for students with dyslexia

The “ASK” what we would like legislator to do for us:

  • Please be aware of dyslexia specific legislation and remember my story when you do



  1. Shannon Duncan says:

    Kristin, this looks wonderful! Thank you

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Kristin,

    Did you already send an invitation to all the delegates about Feb 4th?  I thought I’d send a personal invite/reminder as well as a note about Wednesday’s meeting(Del. Landes only?).  Would you have the details as to what/when you are inviting them to the room on the 4th?


    Jill   Jill McGlaughlin Classic Kitchen & Bath cell (540) 810-7054 ph (540) 437-1990 fx  (540) 437-1992



  3. […] You can find additional talking points: […]

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