Dyslexia Legislative Update

Posted by on 19 October, 2018
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By Mollie Bolton, EdD

The Missouri Dyslexia legislation takes effect for this school year.  Many supporting documents and training links are available on DESE’s website under College and Career Readiness>>Curriculum>>Dyslexia linked here.   In January, DESE released their guidelines as well as recommendations for dyslexia screeners which are available on the DESE website.  The guidelines are for local education agencies to help identify and provide service to students at-risk for dyslexia or related disorders in accordance with the provisions of Section 167.950, RSMo.  Due to the fact that Missouri is a local control state, districts have considerable autonomy with regard to screening and diagnostic tools that will be used as well as what instructional methods and programs will be implemented to support students deemed “at-risk”.  State statute requires that starting in the 2018-2019 school year and subsequent years, schools will conduct dyslexia screenings.  The task force has recommended that each student K-3 will be screened each year (Grades 1-3 within the first 30 days of school and K no later than January 31st ).  In addition,  students in grades 4 or higher who are experiencing consistent difficulty in the areas identified in the recommendations; or by requested of a student’s parent or guardian would also be screened.  There are some exemptions such as students with an existing diagnosis of dyslexia, students with sensory impairments or severe intellectual disabilities, and English Learners where tools or staffing related to administration and/or interpretation, in native language is unavailable.  Data will be collected through core data collection in June and will consist of what students were screened and how many were found at risk.  Following the screening, those determined at –risk will be provided accommodations that benefit the student based on individual need.  A list of possible accommodations are included in the report and the guidelines.  In addition, the statue requires that two hours of in-service training be provided for all practicing teachers regarding dyslexia and related disorders.  DESE has some initial online trainings available on their website that will fulfill the mandated requirement as well as a recommendation list of other possible trainings.  Please see the full guidelines and report on DESE’s website for more detailed information.

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