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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/

2015 DDVA Session Update

Hello all,
DDVA is preparing for the 2015 Session.  We have done our very best to educate the state representatives on our issues and what we believe those solutions should look like in terms of law.  We have been reminded over and over by our champions at the state level that the goal is to get our issue on the floor.  We will have little control over what may be presented but what we WILL be able to do is, we will be given the opportunity to address our issue in front of our representatives at committee and to keep the dyslexia discussion alive.
I wish I had a bill number or two to pass along at this time but as of today, I do not.  I am confident we will see something.  But I do have an ask…. with the anticipation of bills being introduced, we will need to be prepared to give public testimony.  If each of you could prepare your public comment and have it ready, we will be prepared when the time comes.  
Whether the bills that are introduced are perfect or not, we can share our experiences in that testimony, driving home the need for change.  If we have the opportunity to submit written comment, to flood the committee with stories of dyslexia will make an impact and support those who are able to make the trip to Richmond in person.  If you would like to send any testimony to me, I will get a file started for the 2015 session, please include your name and address.
Please share this email with any and all families who have expressed an interest in seeing change for our dyslexic children. please see below a sample of a public comment to help.  As always please feel free to reach out for further discussion. decodingdyslexiava@yahoo.com
Cheers,
Kristin Kane
Parent

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.

AIM VA and Decoding Dyslexia VA

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Seen above from left to right. Ian Moore, AIM VA trainer; Shannon Duncan, DDVA Parent; Joyce Sharp, AIM VA trainer

 

 

We here at DDVA believe that getting a child and parents to the appropriate resources and information as fast as possible along their journey helps both the parents and the child.  What we are so excited about sharing with you here is that this resource and opportunity will help families of children with dyslexia served by IEP’s in VA AND help schools and faculty where training and information may also be diffucult to locate on AIM VA, Accessible Instructional Material in VA.

If you are not familiar with AIM VA, here is a link and a quick overview:  http://kihd.gmu.edu/aim/about-us/
AIM-VA provides accessible instructional materials at no cost to Virginia K-12 students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP). Accessible instructional materials are alternative print materials, (e.g., Braille, electronic files, etc.) that can be delivered to and used by students who are not able to use traditional print formats. AIM-VA staff provide teachers with training and technical assistance on how to select and use accessible instructional materials with students.

AIM VA recently reached out and asked if we could help connect their trainers with VA families and educators. They will come out and train at Parent Resources Centers, SEAC meetings, PTA hosted events, Parent coffees, faculty meetings and just about anywhere there might be a need.

Here is a list of topics too!

AIM-VA Training Topics are below.

General Overview: What is AIM? What do we provide? (new users)
Features (accessibility of formats)
Laws, rules, and regulations
AIM updates (existing users)
Site navigation/use/features
Portal navigation/use/features
Use of Partner Sites (Learning Ally and Bookshare)
Use of assistive technology programs (DJ R:OL and Read Hear)
Administrative roles and responsibilities as they relate to AIM-VA
AIMVA seminar (guided by user questions)

We would like to say thank you and DDVA is super excited to be part of this conversation with AIM VA!

Please feel free to contact the awesome folks below with questions or ideas.  It would be wonderful to spread the word about AIM VA and get more children to the assistive technology they need.

Ian Moore, AIM VA Trainer
Joyce Sharp, AIM VA Trainer
Stacey Schwartz, AIM VA Trainer

DDVA Meets Scott Sonnon

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DDVA member Kristin Kane and her family had the opportunity to sit down with Scott Sonnon.

 

If you don’t know who Scott Sonnon is, or if you haven’t had the opportunity to watch his recent TEDx video, take 15 minutes to watch.  When your done, come on back and let it all sink in.

 

 

Wow, right?

Ok, fast forward to recent news that a speaking tour is in the works!  I know, I know we will keep you posted about Virginia!

Wait it get’s better…. Scott has asked for our community’s help with his presentation.  Talk about really representing our kids and their strengths.

Below you will find Scott Sonnon’s request and the guidelines of how we can get involved.  Please spread the word!!  What a tremendous opportunity for our dyslexic kids to shine, and to be appreciated by all who come out to see this tour.

Cheers, Decoding Dyslexia VA

___________________________________

Scott’s Request:

Dear parents of our proud dyslexic amateur artists,

I am about to give the first of many free admission public spending engagements for Decoding Dyslexia, on August 11 in Michigan. (The national tour is being organized for 2015, intending to be coordinated between DD, Eye to Eye and the Museum of Discovery.)

In my multi-media, audience interactive, town-hall presentations, I’ll be using a Mac Keynote overhead projection of visual imagery to aid in the multi-sensory grokking of the concepts discussed. I need drawings which illustrate 6 key concepts. If your child would want to volunteer, and I use their illustration in the presentation, I’ll give them full credit on the slide and in the videos to be published free to YouTube. Message me in private here and I’ll give you the 5 concepts from which to select one or more to draw and submit. I’ll only be selecting one drawing per child so I can showcase the diversity of talents from our “1 in 5s” wunderkin. Deadline is AUG03 and selections made on AUG04.

I’m so looking forward to their wonderful drawings!

We are Legion,

Scott Sonnon

Chief Operations Officer

www.RMAXInternational.com

____________________________________

Guidelines:

Here’s the request I’ve been sending the parents who’re contacting me, so I can both involve our kids in my presentation AND celebrate their talents AND offer a multi-sensory presentation!

Dear parents,

Please ask your child to select one or more of these illustrations to create:

1. A drawing of “Positive Perspective” – how what seems to be a negative, seen through a reflection, like a mirror, pool of water, a light casting a shadow, etc, can be your most powerful positive!

2. A drawing of “Allies and Assets” – show your group of friends, family, teachers and therapists can help you find and grow your unique talents, like a community, tribe, team striving to help one of its members.

3. A drawing of the “Victory of your Voice” – share an illustration of how your style of learning has helped you develop a unique voice in the world, like your song or symphony of expression.

4. A drawing of your “Purposeful Process” – draw an example of one or more of your unique strategies for learning in your own way. Everyone has their own Process for learning; finding your process reveals your purpose. What’s yours?

5. A drawing of your “Original Organization” – an illustration of how you transformed, through hard work, one of your ideas in reality. We are each originals. How has your hard work helped you make cities out of the clouds of your imagination?

Please use a 8.5×11 sheet, and send in JPG format to flowcoach@mac.com with the subject heading DRAWING TO DECODE DYSLEXIA.

I’ll send out notifications of the selected drawings on AUG05.

Thank you so much for ALL of your drawings. This isn’t a contest for who’s is best, but only for which one could fit the presentation most accurately. They’re all precious to me, so thank you for every one of your drawings!

We are Legion,

Scott Sonnon

 

Share your story, help elevate the Dyslexia Conversation

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Recently, CNN iReport asked for families stories about what it is like to raise a child with special needs.  DDVA thought this might be a nice opportunity to highlight the current stories that have been shared regarding dyslexia.  Each story you will find has threads of similarities and yet each journey is unique to that family.  We encourage you to take a few minutes to post your story to CNN and help elevate the national discussion on dyslexia.

Follow this link to find out how to post your story:  http://ireport.cnn.com/topics/1139396

We will keep an eye out or feel free to let us know when you post and we will add your story here!!!

Dyslexia stories that have already been posted to CNN’s iReport.

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http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1146237

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http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1145694

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http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1145457

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http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1144966

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http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1145651

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http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1144882

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http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1145298

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http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1145215

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http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1145173

Graduate Shout Out Details

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Proud of your graduate?  So are we!!!

 

Want to give a shout out to your graduate??

Each night in June, that we have participants, DDVA will Shout Out your message of congrats!!

Here are the details!

What & When: Posts will go up on our Decoding Dyslexia VA FaceBook page each night at 7 p.m.

Who:  Our community of graduates.  High school, college, tech, middle school, elementary school, tutoring program, etc., if they are graduating we want to help celebrate!!

What we need:

Photo of your gradate. (By sending us your photo you are giving DDVA permission to use that photo for this campaign, we will not use the photo for any other purposes.)

First name, Last Name (optional)

Name of School and town in VA.  (Not in VA??? Ck with your state Decoding Dyslexia chapter here to see if they are hosting this campaign, if not we will gladly include your Shout Out!)

Your personal message of congrats!  Sample message:  “We are so proud of you! Love Mom and Dad”

Please send your info to:    facesofdyslexiaVA@gmail.com

 

Sample template:

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IDA offer for Decoding Dyslexia Families

We at Decoding Dyslexia have recently received a letter from IDA President Hal Malchow and we wanted to be able to share with all of you!

 

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Dear Decoding Dyslexia Supporters,

At the International Dyslexia Association we are excited about the Decoding Dyslexia movement. Your engagement and activism is helping all of us accomplish more in the cause we share. Over the last few months I have had the privilege of meeting with a group of Decoding Dyslexia members in Virginia and Maryland to hear your concerns and shape a better IDA parent program.
To say thank you, IDA is offering to all Decoding Dyslexia members a free trial parent membership in IDA. All parents who sign up for the free trial membership will receive “Pushing Back: What to Say When Your School Gets It Wrong.” This document, which arose from the stories of Decoding Dyslexia parents, helps you set the record straight when your school is not complying with the law or recommending the wrong strategies for your child.
In addition to receiving this document, IDA membership gives you access to a number of publications.
Dyslexia Connection: This monthly electronic newsletter for parents focuses on public school advocacy and other issues facing parents with children who have dyslexia and related learning disabilities.

  • The Examiner: IDA’s monthly e-newsletter will keep you abreast of happenings at IDA and on dyslexia and literacy-related events around the world.
  • Perspectives: IDA’s quarterly, full-color publication, Perspectives on Language and Literacy discusses educational best practices, curriculum methods, case studies and first-person application of multi-sensory structured language teaching techniques.
  • Annals: IDA’s tri-annual Annals of Dyslexia is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the scientific study of dyslexia and related language disabilities.
  • Reading and Writing: Reading and Writing is an interdisciplinary journal containing articles on the processes, acquisition, and loss of reading and writing skills.

Your IDA membership will also connect you with the IDA Branch closest to your home and you will receive local information, access to workshops and events and full membership in the branch. You will gain access to IDA’s listing of professional service providers in your area.
All this for free. And at the end of August, if you want to continue your parent membership the fee is only $45 per year. So try us out.
Unlike past IDA presidents, I came to IDA, not as a professional but as a parent like you. Beyond my own experience, I have learned so much from my conversations with Decoding Dyslexia parents and these conversations have made me even more determination to bring better reading instruction into America’s classrooms. I also know that we need a stronger voice Decoding Dyslexia inside IDA.
Thank you for all you are doing for the cause we share. I hope that your membership will help us do even more to serve all students with dyslexia.
Hal Malchow
IDA President
PS We are also surveying parents and teachers about assistive technologies. You will be able to participate in these surveys and view the results.

For your Free four month IDA membership follow this link:  http://www.cvent.com/d/24qw74

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