Decoding Dyslexia VA

Home » Posts tagged 'special education rights'

Tag Archives: special education rights

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.
Kristin Kane

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:
      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)


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!


 ida blog.jpg

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:

For Immediate Release


Rebecca Worth Warner

Decoding Dyslexia VA Co- Founder

Richmond, VA


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:


*The International Dyslexia Association, Promoting Literacy Through Research Education and Advocacy ( )

**Ted Ed Lessons Worth Sharing:

Faces of Dyslexia in Virginia

Decoding Dyslexia VA (DDVA) is currently working on a project  entitled “Faces of Dyslexia in Virginia”.   The project was originally envisioned to help personalize our stories when we meet with lawmakers, but it could be used for any type of dyslexia awareness a family might be engaged in.  It is intended to be a quick read that shows the strengths of our kids as well as their struggles. In the picture below, you will find an example story of one of our members. Although her picture will be shown in the book, for the purpose of this  post a self-portrait has been chosen.
If you would like to participate,  please use the link below, to insert a picture of your child and a paragraph telling their story. Parents have offered the opportunity to their kids to write/dictate anything they wish or guided them with questions to encourage expression. Please note: your submission must be able to fit in this one page  format.

Your Child’s Page

UPDATES:  Having trouble opening the link to  “Your Child’s Page”? No worries! The link simply provides a template as a guide.  It models that a portion of your page will highlight your picture while the  other portion is for your paragraph. This template gives you the star border you  see posted on our FB/Blog example. You may submit your page with your own choice  of border or simply not use a border at all. The most important thing is that  your page comes to us in a ONE PAGE format. Remember, there is no age limit to  this project…we would love all submissions!
Submissions and questions regarding this project can be sent to

Thank you!



We aim to raise dyslexia awareness, empower families to support their children and inform policy-makers on best practices to identify, remediate and support students with dyslexia in Virginia.

%d bloggers like this: