October 30, 2018 BOSTON – Representative David K. Muradian, Jr. (R-Grafton) and Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) recently announced the passage of Senate Bill 2607, An Act relative to students with dyslexia.
Dyslexia is a serious neurological learning disability that roughly affects one in five children in Massachusetts. On a wider scale, dyslexia affects 5-17 percent of U.S. children and is currently considered the most common learning disability. Dyslexia has been associated with reduced self-esteem, vocabulary, and academic achievement as well as higher rates of depression. Other consequences of dyslexia include problems with reading comprehension and reduced reading experience. Typically children with dyslexia read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. This being said, this bill was incredibly important in ensuring that children are receiving the necessary attention and resources that they rightfully deserve.
This bill calls for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to consult with the Department of Early Education and Care to come up with guidelines to help school districts develop screening procedures or protocols for students that demonstrate potential indicators of a neurological learning disability. This legislation also adds a dyslexia advocate to an existing early education expert panel that was created under a law passed in 2012. Under this bill, the panel will now be tasked with creating steps to implement research-based recommendations on student screening and teacher preparation around reading disabilities including dyslexia.
“This important piece of legislation demonstrates the dedication that Massachusetts has to children who are faced with learning disabilities,” said Representative Muradian. “Constituents throughout the Commonwealth, including some from our very own district, played a large hand in the passage of this bill, and I was happy to work with each one of them.”
“Earlier screening for dyslexia will help ensure that children receive the additional help they need to prevent them from falling behind their peers,” said Senator Moore. “I was proud to support this legislation in the Senate, and I recognize that this achievement would not have been possible without the hard work of parents and advocates. This new law is a big step forward in helping raise awareness and codifies an approach to addressing dyslexia here in our Commonwealth.”
Throughout the legislative process, both Representative Muradian and Senator Moore worked personally with their constituent, Lisa Nelson, from the district who was extremely supportive of this bill. After many months of hard work behind the scenes, both legislators are extremely pleased that this bill was recently signed by the Governor on October 19th and is soon to be in effect.