Mississippi – 2012 – HB1031 – Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship

An act to establish the Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship for students with dyslexia. Provides for terms of scholarship and student eligibility requirements.  Requires that all school-age children be screened for dyslexia between kindergarten and first grade.  Requires that school diagnosticians receive additional training in the identification of dyslexia. Requires the state department of education  to establish appropriate curriculum guidelines to meet the unique learning needs of children with dyslexia. Requires recognition of dyslexia as a learning disability by schools. Requires  that students with a diagnosis of dyslexia be provided an individual educational plan for receiving appropriate intervention services.

Defines dyslexia therapy as being Orton-Gillingham based; defines Dyslexia Therapist as a professional with training in Orton-Gillingham. Dyslexia scholarship supports attendance at public or private schools offering Orton-Gillingham based therapy.

Update, House Committee Substitute:  Eliminates reference to “Orton-Gillingham” based therapy. Provides that Dyslexia Scholarship is available to students with a 504 Plan rather than an IEP.  Adds requirement that dyslexia therapy in public schools be provided by a state licensed therapist, but does not specify specific requirements for dyslexia training leading to licensing.

7 Responses to “Mississippi – 2012 – HB1031 – Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship”

  1. Marcia Barksdale Says:

    This bill requires that schools
    recognize dyslexia as a learning disability and are
    require schools to provide an IEP
    and provide appropriate services but did not consult with any public school entities in order to write the bill.

    The bill was hastily written and does not define a Dyslexia Therapist as a professional with training in Orton-Gilllinham but one(line 99) one who attains a license through graduating from Mississippi College’s masters program in Dyslexia Education the State approved education program. Therefore all the professionals in the state of Mississippi who have been helping children learn to read with scientifically proven Orton-Gillingham methods will not be recognized by the state of MS as therapists nor will they be “licensed” because they will not meet these requirements. And it is not any Orton-Gilliingham based therapy that is offered that will be approved but only the state approved method that will be reimbursed according to this bill. Read all of the bill and read it carefully.

    There are some very good parts of this bill if it were taken apart and presented separately, carefully with consideration. This was done too quickly and without thought of consequences to the children it is meant to serve.

  2. DDAI Says:

    We agree that the provisions of the bill concerning provision of services is poorly written, and specifically noted that in our Position Statement. As noted above, DDAI supports the provisions of this bill related to dyslexia recognition and early screening, but oppose the provisions that mandate and limit funding to one particular type of therapy.

    However, Orton-Gillingham methods are not “scientifically proven”. On the contrary, the US Department of Education reported in 2010 that it could find “no studies” of Orton-Gillingham methods meeting its protocols, and could therefore not draw any conclusions about effectiveness or ineffectiveness. See: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/interventionreport.aspx?sid=528
    This tracks similar findings by the Florida Center for Reading Research in http://www.fcrr.org/fcrrreports/pdf/orton_gillingham_approach.pdf in 2006, which reported that there were no empirical studies identified in a search of research literature.

    It is not helpful to children to provide testing if the outcome is to lock them into any one sort of therapy, without consideration of individual needs. For many children, that could be worse than no law at all, because they will end up being told that their options are limited to the state-mandated program even if it is not working for them and they are not progressing.

    It would make far more sense if legislators would actually look at the research before making assumptions about the scientific or research basis for any particular approach or method.

  3. Kristy Locke Says:

    As the mother of a high functioning dyslexic child I applaud this bill and it’s efforts. I spend ALOT of money on education that my 6A school district reused to give after allowin her to suffer by ignoring the signs that my she was struggling because of dyslexia. I have recently discovered that my youngest child is dyslexic as well, meaning that I will have two children in private school next year. As a single parent of four I would love to see this bill pass, it does lend assistance to a group of children in Mississippi that are not being educated appropriately!

  4. EMM Says:

    With due respect of other opinions, my understanding of this bill is that it will NOT prohibit any method of service by any provider. It encourages the public school systems to adopt the use of Dyslexia Therapists by allowing school choice. If a school cannot provide a licensed Dyslexia Therapist, then the child has the option of transfering to a school which does have a licensed Dyslexia Therapist to provide treatment. The tax dollars which are allotted to the child follows the child to the school which offers the service.

    This bill does not limit practice of any method, technique or profession. It simply does not fund such interventions with tax payer dollars.

    Licensure in Dyslexia Therapy (203) is a valid and current credential under the MS Dept ot Education just as Speech Language Clinican, K-3, School Pyschology or Administration. If a person seeks to recieve funding from Mississippi TaxFunds, that person should hold a Mississippi Dept of Education license stating you are qualified to provide that specific service.

    I feel the concerns regarding the variations in methods and training of qualified providers should be addressed by the MDE licensure board. It should be the responsibility of the licensure board at to assure quality and consistency of credentials and that lies outside the scope of the bill. -thank you

  5. Lewis Says:

    I have to say I am FURIOUS about this. I have a child with severe dyslexia who is currently receiving treatment though his public school. If it was not for the school my child would not be able to get the help he needs because NO ONE and I mean just about NO ONE offers treatment for dyslexia that is affordable. Passing this bill would require children like mine to change schools and be taken away from their friends( which is ridiculous to require) or for them to just struggle. Making the schools hire trained dyslexia professionals is going to cost the schools more money that what should be spent when there are teachers that are trained to teach dyslexic students. There is nothing wrong with the teachers being trained to teach the Orton-Gillingham method rather they are “certified” or not. As long as they can pass the required test then it should not matter.

  6. Melissa Says:

    I just learned of this bill. I would like to invite all of you to a new support page on FB “Mississippi Parents of Dyslexic Children”

    https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/groups/402717586416587/

    We need to unite for our children.

  7. Melissa Says:

    @ Lewis….how on earth did you manage to get help? I’ve been banging my head on the wall!!! The only response I get is “MS doesn’t recognize MS as a LD….we can’t do anything.” I got a diagnosis of ADHD five years ago when we found out he had dyslexia and took the Dx to the school and the Dx has remained in his file since then with nothing being done. I have done everything that I thought I was supposed to do. I thought by staying in contact with the school and teachers expressing my concerns I was doing the right thing. I now find out that there is something called a 504 Plan and I could request one with his ADHD Dx and get basically the same accomodations he would need to work with his Dyslexia. When I asked about it they said we would have a meeting only to then tell me that they couldn’t do anything since the Dx was old and I would need to get another. I asked why nothing was done when I brought the Dx up there 5 years ago and I was told that they don’t just automatically do something when you bring a ADHD Dx to put in the file. What am I missing??? So now I have to start all over and take him back to be re-diagnosed which I’m sure will be more expensive than it was before.

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