Decoding Dyslexia VA

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First Step Act of 2018, S. 756: Enacted, Dec. 21, 2018

Link to Congressional site.

On December 21, the U.S. Congress passed and the President signed a bill that includes dyslexia screening and interventions for all federal and state incarcerated inmates.

Dyslexia is a leading cause of illiteracy, so to address illiteracy and incarceration, we must better address dyslexia.” Senator Bill Cassidy.
A study found that 80 percent of prison inmates at the state prison in Huntsville, Texas, were functionally illiterate and 48 percent were dyslexic.

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Section language from Title I, Subchapter D that include dyslexia are listed below:

TITLE I—RECIDIVISM REDUCTION

SEC. 101. RISK AND NEEDS ASSESSMENT SYSTEM.

(a) IN GENERAL.—Chapter 229 of title 18, United States Code,

is amended by inserting after subchapter C the following:

‘‘SUBCHAPTER D—RISK AND NEEDS ASSESSMENT SYSTEM

‘‘Sec.

‘‘3631. Duties of the Attorney General.

‘‘3632. Development of risk and needs assessment system.

‘‘3633. Evidence-based recidivism reduction program and recommendations.

‘‘3634. Report.

‘‘3635. Definitions.

Title I: Section 3631: Duties of Attorney General

‘‘(B) to address the specific criminogenic needs of the

prisoner; and

‘‘(C) all prisoners are able to successfully participate

in such programs;

‘‘(6) determine when to provide incentives and rewards

for successful participation in evidence-based recidivism reduction

programs or productive activities in accordance with subsection

(e);

‘‘(7) determine when a prisoner is ready to transfer into

prerelease custody or supervised release in accordance with

section 3624; and

‘(8) determine the appropriate use of audio technology

for program course materials with an understanding of dyslexia.

In carrying out this subsection, the Attorney General may use

existing risk and needs assessment tools, as appropriate.

Title I: Section 3632: Development of Risk and Needs Assessment System

‘‘(h) DYSLEXIA SCREENING .—

‘‘(1) SCREENING .—The Attorney General shall incorporate

a dyslexia screening program into the System, including by

screening for dyslexia during—

‘‘(A) the intake process; and

‘‘(B) each periodic risk reassessment of a prisoner.

(2) TREATMENT .—The Attorney General shall incorporate

programs designed to treat dyslexia into the evidence-based

recidivism reduction programs or productive activities required

to be implemented under this section. The Attorney General

may also incorporate programs designed to treat other learning

disabilities.

Title I: Section 3633: Evidence Based Recidivism Reduction Program and Recommendations

‘‘(C) the addition of any new effective evidence-based

recidivism reduction programs that the Attorney General

finds.

‘‘(b) REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING DYSLEXIA

MITIGATION .—In carrying out subsection (a), the Attorney General

shall consider the prevalence and mitigation of dyslexia in prisons,

including by—

‘‘(1) reviewing statistics on the prevalence of dyslexia, and

the effectiveness of any programs implemented to mitigate the

effects of dyslexia, in prisons operated by the Bureau of Prisons

and State-operated prisons throughout the United States; and

‘‘(2) incorporating the findings of the Attorney General

under paragraph (1) of this subsection into any directives given

to the Bureau of Prisons under paragraph (5) of subsection

(a).

Title I: Section 3634: Report

‘‘(iii) promote crime reduction programs using evidence-

based practices and strategic planning to help

reduce crime and criminal recidivism.

‘‘(8) Statistics on—

‘‘(A) the prevalence of dyslexia among prisoners in

prisons operated by the Bureau of Prisons; and

‘‘(B) any change in the effectiveness of dyslexia mitigation

programs among such prisoners that may be attributed

to the incorporation of dyslexia screening into the System

and of dyslexia treatment into the evidence-based recidivism

reduction programs, as required under this chapter.

Title I: ‘‘§ 3635. Definitions

‘‘In this subchapter the following definitions apply:

(1) DYSLEXIA .—The term ‘dyslexia’ means an unexpected

difficulty in reading for an individual who has the intelligence

to be a much better reader, most commonly caused by a difficulty

in the phonological processing (the appreciation of the

individual sounds of spoken language), which affects the ability

of an individual to speak, read, and spell.

‘‘(2) DYSLEXIA SCREENING PROGRAM .—The term ‘dyslexia

screening program’ means a screening program for dyslexia

that is—

‘‘(A) evidence-based (as defined in section 8101(21) of

the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20

U.S.C. 7801(21))) with proven psychometrics for validity;

‘‘(B) efficient and low-cost; and

‘‘(C) readily available.

A Thank You and an Update!

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Feb. 4, 2015 Update:

Thank you again for all the support from our community! What a fabulous day of dyslexia awareness!

Our Bills are still moving through the legislative process.  If you joined us on Feb 3rd and visited with our VA Senators and Delegate please remember to send a quick thank you to the offices. Below are links to the Senate and House directories which include email addresses.

House of Delegates:  http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/members/members.php

Senate:  http://apps.senate.virginia.gov/Senator/index.php

If you were unable to join us but would like to continue to help, please visit:

TOP 5 WAYS TO SUPPORT THE DYSLEXIA BILLS

TOP 5 WAYS TO SUPPORT THE DYSLEXIA BILLS

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TOP 5 WAYS TO SUPPORT THE DYSLEXIA BILLS

Feb. 4, 2015 Update:

Thank you again for all the support from our community! What a fabulous day of dyslexia awareness!

Our Bills are still moving through the legislative process.  If you joined us on Feb 3rd and visited with our VA Senators and Delegate please remember to send a quick thank you to the offices. Below are links to the Senate and House directories which include email addresses.

House of Delegates:  http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/members/members.php

Senate:  http://apps.senate.virginia.gov/Senator/index.php

 

#1 JOIN US AT THE COMMITTEE MEETINGS:

Comment at either the Senate Education Committee and/or the House Education Committee

What you need to know:

The Senate Education Committee meets Thursdays at 8:00 am in Senate Room B of the General Assembly Building in Richmond.

The House Education Committee meets Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:00 am in House Room D of the General Assembly Building in Richmond.

We will need to watch the agendas/dockets for those meetings to make sure they will be reviewing and hearing comments on the bill we are supporting.  We are watching for SB1386 introduced by Senator Vogel on the Senate side and for HB2374 introduced by Del Cline on the House side.

Senate Ed docket:  http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+doc+DOCS04

House Ed docket:  http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+doc+H0910126

After all that being said, we will look to arrive 20-30 min prior.

 #2 EMAIL US YOUR TESTIMONY

Send us a quick email (or your full dyslexia story) with or without your name and city and let us know why you support the bills.  We will bring them with us to share with the legislators.

 What you need to know:

This is the time that we need a collective voice to speak up about the need to empower teachers with dyslexia specific training.  There is power in numbers and WE NEED YOU NOW!

 Email your testimony to decodingdyslexiava@yahoo.com with ‘STORY’ in the subject line.

 If you’d like to write your full story, check out the suggestions here.  A number of examples are in the comments section.

https://decodingdyslexiava.wordpress.com/real-stories/

 #3 CONTACT YOUR SENATE REPRESENTATIVE

Call and/or email your Senator to let them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor SB 1386’.  This means that they sign on in support of the bill, even before it gets to the Education Committee Review.

What you need to know:

It’s WAY EASIER than it sounds!  Use this link to identify your representative.

http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov

Call their Richmond office number, since they’re in session now!  And spend 3-5 minutes letting them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor SB1386’!  THAT’S IT!  EASY!

If you’d like some dyslexia specific facts, check out this link:

https://decodingdyslexiava.wordpress.com/talking-points/

 #4 CONTACT YOUR HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE

Call and/or email your Delegate to let them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor HB2374’.  This means that they sign on in support of the bill, even before it gets to the Education Committee Review.

What you need to know:

It’s WAY EASIER than it sounds!  Use this link to identify your representative.

http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov

Call their Richmond office number, since they’re in session now!  And spend 3-5 minutes letting them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor HB2374’!  THAT’S IT!  EASY!

If you’d like some dyslexia specific facts, check out this link:

https://decodingdyslexiava.wordpress.com/talking-points/

#5 CONTACT BOTH OF THE EDUCATION COMMITTEES

Call and/or email the House Education Committee Members and the Senate Education Committee Members to let them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor HB2374 or SB1386.  This means that they sign on in support of the bill, even before it gets to the Education Committee Review.

What you need to know:

It’s WAY EASIER than it sounds!  Use these links to view the Committee Members and find their contact information.

House Education Committee:

http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/members/members.php?committee=Education

House Education Committee email addresses. Copy and paste directly into the “To” link of your email.

DelDBell@house.virginia.gov,DelDBulova@house.virginia.gov,DelMCole@house.virginia.gov,DelGDavis@house.virginia.gov,DelPFarrell@house.virginia.gov,DelTGreason@house.virginia.gov,DelDHester@house.virginia.gov,DelMKeam@house.virginia.gov,DelSLandes@house.virginia.gov,DelJLeftwich@house.virginia.gov,DelJLeMunyon@house.virginia.gov,DelJLindsey@house.virginia.gov,DelSLingamfelter@house.virginia.gov,DelJMassie@house.virginia.gov,DelJMcClellan@house.virginia.gov,DelBPogge@house.virginia.gov,DelJPreston@house.virginia.gov,DelRRobinson@house.virginia.gov,DelTRust@house.virginia.gov,
DelRTyler@house.virginia.gov,DelDYancey@house.virginia.gov,DelJYost@house.virginia.gov,

Senate Education Committee

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+com+S4

Senate Education Committee email addresses. Copy and paste directly into the “To” link of your email.

district35@senate.virginia.gov,district11@senate.virginia.gov,district18@senate.virginia.gov,district32@senate.virginia.gov,district23@senate.virginia.gov,district02@senate.virginia.gov,district39@senate.virginia.gov,district19@senate.virginia.gov,district08@senate.virginia.gov,district13@senate.virginia.gov,district40@senate.virginia.gov,district22@senate.virginia.gov,district34@senate.virginia.gov, district14@senate.virginia.gov, district06@senate.virginia.gov

 IT’S FAST AND EASY TO SEND ONE QUICK EMAIL TO ALL OF THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS!

But you could call their Richmond office numbers, since they’re in session now!  And spend 3-5 minutes letting them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor SB 1386 (Senate Bill) and HB2374 (House Bill)’!  THAT’S IT!  EASY!

Sample for your Senator:

Phone call:  “Hello, this is XXXX, I live in Senator XXXX district.  I am calling today because I support SB1386 introduced by Senator Jill Vogel.  Dyslexia is an important issue and impacts my family, this bill will help support both teachers and students with dyslexia in VA.  I would like to ask for your office to support this bill by cosponsoring it.  Thank you for your time and service.”

Letter/email: 
Dear Senator XXXXX
I am reaching out today because I support SB1386 introduced by Senator Jill Vogel.  Dyslexia is an important issue and impacts my family, this bill will help support both teachers and students with dyslexia in VA.  I would like to ask for your office to support this bill by cosponsoring it.  Thank you for your time and service.
Sincerely,
xxxxxxx
123 any st
anytown, VA 12345

Samples for your Delegate

Phone call:
“Hello, this is XXXX, I live in Delegate XXXX district.  I am calling today because I support HB2374 introduced by Delegate Ben Cline.  Dyslexia is an important issue and impacts my family, this bill will help support both teachers and students with dyslexia in VA.  I would like to ask for your office to support this bill by cosponsoring it.  Thank you for your time and service.”

Letter/email: 
Dear Delegate XXXXX
I am reaching out today because I support HB2374 introduced by Delegate Ben Cline.  Dyslexia is an important issue and impacts my family, this bill will help support both teachers and students with dyslexia in VA.  I would like to ask for your office to support this bill by cosponsoring it.  Thank you for your time and service.
Sincerely,
xxxxxxx
123 any st
anytown, VA 12345

If you’d like some dyslexia specific facts, check out this link:

https://decodingdyslexiava.wordpress.com/talking-points/

Want to join us?

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Thinking about joining us

to comment at either

Senate Education Committee and/or the House Education Committee

What you need to know:

The Senate Education Committee meets Thursdays at 8:00 am in Senate Room B

The House Education Committee meets Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:00 am in House Room D

We will need to watch the agendas/dockets for those meetings to make sure they will be reviewing and hearing comments on the bill we are supporting.  We are watching for SB1386 introduced by Senator Vogel on the Senate side and for HB2374 introduced by Del Cline on the House side.

Senate Ed docket:  http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+doc+DOCS04

House Ed docket:  http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+doc+H0910126

After all that being said, we will look to arrive 20-30 min prior.

February 3, 2015 – Capitol Day

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RSVP Here:  http://www.eventbrite.com/e/ddva-dyslexia-awareness-day-tickets-15353373353?aff=ehomesaved 

Date of Meeting: 2/3/2015

Time of Meeting: 9:30 AM
Location: 7th Floor West Conference Room

7th Floor West Conference Room General Assembly Building http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/includes/contentTemplate.php?tid=94&ctype=t&cid=94

When: 9:30-11:30am Reception

  • Light refreshments to be served
  • Short presentation:  Decoding Dyslexia VA
  • Meetings with State Representatives
DDVA families, policy makers, educators and professionals: Please join us in Richmond to raise awareness about the importance of properly identifying dyslexia in public school students, providing educators with the appropriate training in dyslexia and in proper remediation for dyslexia. We look forward to working with all of you.

Following the reception, opportunities for Gallery seats to observe the State Session, as well as Capitol tours may be available.  This opportunity is dependent on RSVP’s and is subject to change with no advanced notice.

We encourage families and individuals who join us on the 3rd to reach out to your representatives.  Invite them to the reception or schedule to meet with a member of their staff some time during the day.  DDVA members will be available to join the conversations or offer talking points, if needed.  The goal of the day is to visit with as many State Representatives as possible.

All we want for the Holidays…..

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We are asking families from around the state to once again reach out to their state representatives and let their voices be heard!  Just two easy steps and we can start to make positive change for the state of VA for our students with dyslexia.

Two Steps!!!

1 – Find your Legislator! Here: http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/
2 – Write an email and/or make a phone call

SAMPLE LETTER (or create your own, personalize your story, include pictures and email it to your legislator.)

Be sure to include your name and address

Dear XXX,
I am reaching out today to increase awareness for dyslexia. I support the mission put forth by Decoding Dyslexia VA and would like you to review some of their information found here: http://www.dysva.org  This is an important issue to our family.
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

Thank you for your time and service!

Sincerely,
XXXXX
123 any st
town, VA zip

SAMPLE PHONE MESSAGE

“Hello, my name is XXX, I am a constituent of Senator/Delegate XXXX. I am calling today in support of raising dyslexia awareness. I would like make sure your office is aware that this is an important issue to our family.  I would like to encourage your office to learn more about dyslexia and the impact on VA families. Thank you for you time and service!”

You can also make an appointment with your representatives and visit them in person at either their district or Richmond office.  Please find additional talking points here:  https://decodingdyslexiava.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/talking-points-ddva/

TALKING POINTS DDVA

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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:   http://www.doe.virginia.gov/special_ed/regulations/state/regs_speced_disability_va.pdf
  • 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:

Closing:

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

 

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