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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.
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
‘‘3631. Duties of the Attorney General.
‘‘3632. Development of risk and needs assessment system.
‘‘3633. Evidence-based recidivism reduction program and recommendations.
Title I: Section 3631: Duties of Attorney General
‘‘(B) to address the specific criminogenic needs of the
‘‘(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
‘‘(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
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
‘‘(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,
‘‘(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
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
‘‘(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.
We know we are not going it alone in this journey to raise dyslexia awareness. And to highlight that it is not just our family, our county, or even our state who is working towards positive change, below we share some of the hard work Dyslexia Champion Senator Bill Cassidy is working on in Louisianna!
Save The Date:
U.S. Senate Education Hearings in New Orleans and Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE — U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. will chair two Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Hearings in New Orleans and Baton Rouge on Tuesday, October 13, 2015. The hearings are titled, Developmental Perspective on Testing for Dyslexia.
Details can be found below:
NEW ORLEANS HEARING
|BATON ROUGE HEARING
If you haven’t heard by now, let us be the first to share with you that Senate Bill 1386, introduced by Senator Jill Vogel, regarding teacher training on dyslexia has been voted on and passed in the Virginia Senate by a unanimous vote of 38 yes to 0 no.What’s next?First: THANK THE SENATORSTake a minute to thank your Senator!!! No guess work here…every senator in our great state voted in support of this bill. A quick email of thanks will let them know how much you appreciate their support! Here is a link to a quick listing of our Senators.Second: CONTACT YOUR HOUSE of DELEGATES REPRESENTATIVECall and/or email your Delegate 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 Delegate.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:Third – CONTACT THE HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEECall and/or email the House Education Committee Members to let them know that dyslexia is important to your family and you would like them ‘to sponsor SB1386’.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: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,Samples for your Delegate:Phone call: “Hello, this is XXXX, I live in Delegate 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 Delegate 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.
123 any st
anytown, VA 12345If you’d like some dyslexia specific facts, check out this link:
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.
If you were unable to join us but would like to continue to help, please visit:
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
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.
Public Comment Sample:
My name is Jane Doe and I am from Anytown, VA. I currently have three children attending public schools in Any County Public School System. My second child is a middle school student and is currently being served by an IEP for SLD. My son is dyslexic, the dyslexia that is defined in our Virginia State Code. He is well above average in intelligence and yet struggles with his ability to read, write and spell. This deficit, in turn, negatively impacts his access to information he should be receiving in his curriculum. He currently reads at a 4th grade level, three plus years below his peers, and after recent evaluations done by the school this February, he is in the 2% for his spelling and 17% for his writing.
Every year we meet with each of my son’s teachers to start the year off “right”. Along with labeling a child for services, comes very real misconceptions of the child’s ability and disability. As parents, we have found it helpful to advocate for our son in a manner that we hope helps both the team and the student. And yet I feel compelled to bring to light that this disability, dyslexia, is the most wide spread and accounts for 80% of all SLD IEP’s in the state.
Year after year we do our best to educate the staff that will work with my son and year after year I am amazed at the lack of understanding or even base knowledge of the most common learning disability identified for services. I want to use the word, “injustice”. This is an injustice for the families relying on the schools for help, and this is an injustice to the teachers and staff who want to help educate our students.
As a public school mom and member of Decoding Dyslexia VA, I am asking for a plan for Virginia to implement:
- Teacher/staff training on dyslexia, its warning signs and appropriate intervention strategies
- Early screening tests for dyslexia
- 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.
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.
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
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!
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/