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.

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/

Decoding Dyslexia VA hosts First Annual Dyslexia Awareness Day at the Capital!

 

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Hello VA,

Below you will find our agenda for the events of February 4th!  We will continue to update you as we receive additional information.  We look forward to gathering together to raise dyslexia awareness and let policy makers hear our concerns.

Where:  Richmond, VA

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

When:  9:30-11:00am Reception

  • Light refreshments to be served
  • Short presentation:  Decoding Dyslexia VA: Parents United
  • Speaker: Ben Pasternak, DDVA Parent

Parents, educators, specialists and policy makers please join us as Decoding Dyslexia VA hosts our First Annual Dyslexia Awareness Day at the Capital!

Learn more about:

  • Decoding Dyslexia VA – Our history and plans for the future
  • What is Dyslexia? – Who does it impact and what can be done
  • How positive change will benefit our children, our schools and our state.

Following the reception, opportunities for Gallery seats to observe the State Session, as well as Capital 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 4th 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.

Update: Please our Event Brite Link for additional information and the opportunity to RSVP.  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dyslexia-awareness-day-the-state-capitol-tickets-10450741449

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

 

For Immediate Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Rebecca Worth Warner

Decoding Dyslexia VA Co- Founder

Richmond, VA

rebecca@dysva.org

 

Decoding Dyslexia VA to Raise Awareness and Concerns

At the Capital on Feb. 4, 2014

 

Richmond, VA – Jan. 14, 2014 – Decoding Dyslexia VA, with the support of Delegate Kaye Kory, 38th district, will be hosting a Dyslexia Awareness Day at the state capital on Feb. 4, 2014.

In addition to the House, Senator Jill Vogel, District 37, has offered continued support and guidance for the parent run group.

The event is open to the public and is expected to draw a large contingency of passionate parents and specialists. DDVA encourages families, educators and policy makers to attend to learn more about dyslexia, the impact on our children and on Virginia’s schools. More importantly learn about solutions that 30 years of research has provided to address this valued community that has long been misunderstood.

The Dyslexic community is estimated at 1 in 5, easily 20% of Virginia’s population.  The consequences of ignoring the needs of this community will have an escalating impact on the state’s literacy rate, drop-rate and workforce.  Sadly each one of these directly correlates to our incarceration rates.

Reading Difficulties, Including Dyslexia, Are Very Common*      

Reading difficulties are the most common cause of academic failure and underachievement. Learning to read and write is not natural or easy for many—if not most—students, especially those with dyslexia and related language problems. The National Assessment of Educational Progress consistently finds that about 36% of all fourth graders read at a level described as “below basic.”

 

Between 15 and 20% of young students are doomed to academic failure because of reading and language processing weaknesses, unless those weaknesses are recognized early and treated skillfully. Another 20–30% is at risk for inadequate reading and writing development, depending on how—and how well—they are taught. Most of these at‐risk students are ineligible for special education services and are dependent on the instruction given in the regular classroom or other supplementary services.

 

However, of those students who are referred to special education services in public schools, approximately 85% are having severe difficulties with language, reading, and writing. Clearly, responsibility for teaching reading and writing must be shared by classroom teachers, reading specialists, and special education personnel.

 

There is known research-based instruction that can successfully lessen the impact of dyslexia and help students to overcome its more debilitating symptoms. Analyses of teacher licensing tests show that typically, very few are aligned with current research on effective instruction for students at risk.

Decoding Dyslexia is a parent-based grassroots movement which started two years ago in New Jersey, and has spread rapidly to include 44 of the 50 U.S. states.  Virginia’s chapter was founded a little over a year ago. The group’s primary objectives are to see the state implement:

  • Increase awareness among educators and families with regard to warning signs
  • 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

 

About Dyslexia**

Dyslexia affects up to 1 in 5 people, but the experience of dyslexia isn’t always the same. This difficulty in processing language exists along a spectrum — one that doesn’t necessarily fit with labels like “normal” and “defective.” Kelli Sandman-Hurley, Ed. D., urges us to think again about dyslexic brain function and to celebrate the neurodiversity of the human brain.

 

 

See Kelli Sandman-Hurley’s TED-Ed Original featuring her words and ideas brought to life by professional animators:  http://ed.ted.com/lessons/what-is-dyslexia-kelli-sandman-hurley

 

*The International Dyslexia Association, Promoting Literacy Through Research Education and Advocacy (www.interdys.org )

**Ted Ed Lessons Worth Sharing: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/what-is-dyslexia-kelli-sandman-hurley

Who’s My Legislator?

Who is My Legislator??

How do I find out? How do I contact him/her? What district do I live in?

Well here is where you can quickly get those questions answered. Within the Virginia General Assembly website you will find the page below, which will quickly help you find out exactly who represents you.

Va whos my leg

http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/VGAMain?openform

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