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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.

Me Too! Campaign

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month! 

Decoding Dyslexia VA would like to join together with our parents and educators during this month to celebrate our community.  In an effort to increase dyslexia awareness in our state we are asking for you to consider hosting a Dyslexia Support Group during the month of October. Big or Small each gathering will make a difference to our community.

Below we have put together a step by step how to guide to host your support group meeting, to include printable sheets, flyers and topic suggestions.

There is nothing better than hearing the words “Me Too” from someone on a similar journey.

The Me Too! Campaign starts Oct 1, Join Us!!!!!

 

How-to-Guide: Organizing a Dyslexia Support Meeting

 Commit to holding a support meeting

  1. Pick a date and time
  2. Choose a venue
    1. Library
    2. Schools
    3. Community Centers
    4. Churches
    5. Starbucks, Panera or coffee shop
    6. Homes
  3. Contact DDVA asap with your event details, we will share and publicize on our social media platforms
  4. Advertise through:
    1. Local distribution lists
    2. Produce a paper flyer (optional) Template found below
    3. Word of mouth
    4. School PTAs
    5. Your personal social media pages
  5. Create a topic focus
    1. Start a discussion based on a specific IDA fact sheet
    2. Discuss getting involved at a local/state/federal level
    3. IEPs or 504 Accommodations, “what works”
    4. Assistive technology (demonstration)
    5. Invite a professional in the field of dyslexia to share their expertise (optional)
    6. Watch Embracing Dyslexia or another related film
  6. Day of the meeting:
    1. Bring refreshments or not (it’s been done successfully both ways)
    2. DDVA suggests setting up:
      1. A reference resource list can be found here:  https://decodingdyslexiava.wordpress.com/ddva-advocacy-packets/
      2. Resource table (if willing to pick up in Fairfax and if it is available)
  1. Use a sign in sheet available from DDVA to have attendees entered into our database for future communication
  2. Have name tags and pens available (optional)
  3. DDVA mission statement and goals one pager available to introduce the grassroots movement
  4. Highlight the support meetings as a place to build community and lend support to each other
  5. Introduce discussion topic
  6. Facilitate questions and conversations
  7. Steer discussion into solution driven areas if one or more of your attendees gets ‘unnecessarily’ negative for an extended time
  8. Close with appreciation for parents taking the time to join DDVA
  9. Take pictures for DDVA to post on social media platforms
  10. Follow up on questions posed to DDVA
  11. Send sign up sheet to Cameron Hoffman to be entered into our DDVA database

Printable Flyer Template

(click on image, then right click and save to your files for future printing)

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What is an Ombudsman?

Thank you group

First, we would like to take a minute to thank John Eisenburg and Pat Abrams of the ‪‎Virginia Dept Of Education‬ Special Education Dept for taking time to sit down with DDVA earlier this month!

Second, Resource Alert!!! DDVA families who are struggling in school, we (VDOE and DDVA) encourage you to reach out to the state ‪ombudsman.

Q: What is an Ombudsman?

A: “Ombudsman” is a Swedish word meaning citizen representative or advocate. An ombudsman is a person who serves as a ‘designated neutral’ who advocates for a fair process.

Q: What does an Ombudsman do?

A: The ombudsman acts as a source of information and referral, aids in answering individuals’ questions, and assists in the resolution of concerns and issues. The ombudsman serves as a resource to parents in non-legal special education matters.

How do I contact the ombudsman?

Gloria Dalton, Parent Ombudsman
Phone: 804-371-7420 or 800-422-2083
E-mail: Gloria.Dalton@doe.virginia.gov

For more information please visit the VA Department of Education Website here: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/special_ed/resolving_disputes/ombudsman/index.shtml

 

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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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Raising Dyslexia Awareness

Raising Dyslexia Awareness

We have an ask and this is an easy one. A quick click of the mouse just once and your vote for our DDVA blog helsp keep it in the top ten list of LD blogs hosted by SkinnyScoop.

 

Please follow this link or click on the image and cast your vote for our Decoding Dyslexia VA Blog as resource for Dyslexia. http://www.skinnyscoop.com/social-list/best/top-25-ld-blogs

 

Then, if you are moved to go ahead share the request with you friends and family.

We thank each and everyone of you and truly appreciate your continued support in raising dyslexia awareness and speaking up for our dyslexic children.

Cheers,
DDVA Families

Summer is coming!

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We invite our supporting organizations to send us their summer time programs, camps, workshops, sessions, etc.  DDVA will work to put together a resource for Virginia families looking for opportunities for summer activities enrollment.

Please submit program details to ddvafamilyprograms@gmail.com now through March 30, 2014.

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