State Senator Len Fasano (R-34) applauds the signing of a bill that seeks to help dyslexic students. On Wednesday, the bill was signed into law by Governor Dannel P. Malloy at the Helen Street School Library in Hamden. The bill, co-sponsored by Senator Fasano, will require school officials to include dyslexia as a learning disability when screening children for special education needs.
“This new law will help ensure children are diagnosed early on so they can get the support they need to overcome the obstacles dyslexia presents,” said Senator Fasano. “So many children in Connecticut have been failed by the system and diagnosed with this learning disability very late in their schooling, after the disorder has already caused a student to fall behind.”
Senator Fasano identified one of these students as Joe Davenport, a Durham resident and sophomore at Vinal Technical High School in Middletown who was not diagnosed with dyslexia until the 7th grade. Joe and his mother Lisa advocated for this legislation and testified in support of the bill during a public hearing in March. Joe also attended the bill signing yesterday.
“Identification and intervention for children with dyslexia is critical to success of their education,” said Lisa Davenport. “With a clearer understanding of dyslexia, teachers and administrators in our public schools will be able to identify early on these beautiful minds and educate them appropriately. After all, one in five students are most likely dyslexic.”
The bill (House Bill No. 5562) requires the State Department of Education (SDE) to add dyslexia to the standard Individualized Education Program(IEP) form. This form is used to describe the special education services that a student needs. By updating the form, dyslexia will be fully recognized as a disability so that appropriate special education services can be made available. The bill also requires that, starting July 1, 2015, all teacher preparation programs that lead to professional certification include instruction on detecting and recognizing signs of dyslexia.
“Clearly the public education system had failed my son. But this new law finally offers assistance that so many children will benefit from. There still is a lot of work to do,” said Davenport.
“I applaud this bill signing and look forward to implementation of the new law,” Senator Fasano said. “Connecticut can do so much more to train educators to identify and help students suffering from dyslexia. It’s time to fix the system and strengthen the support we offer to children with special needs.”