An act to create new section 37-173-16, Mississippi code of 1972, to provide the steps schools must take for the education and care of students with dyslexia and other related disorders; to provide that the department of education shall require school districts to conduct four hours of awareness training for dyslexia and other related disorders to all licensed educators and paraprofessionals responsible for instruction; to provide that standard 1 and standard 2 of the International Dyslexia Association’s “Knowledge and practice standards for teachers of reading” 2018 edition shall be the minimum content used for the dyslexia training; to amend section 37-173-9, Mississippi code of 1972, to delete certain provisions relating to school’s determination of students with dyslexia; and for related purposes.
- Act / Statute Reference: Mississippi Code Sections 37-173-9
- History: <a href="http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2021/pdf/history/HB/HB0754.xml">Mississippi Legislature, HB 754</a>, <a href="https://legiscan.com/MS/bill/HB754/2021">Legiscan</a>, 2021-04-09 Approved by Governor
- Bill Text: <a href="http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/documents/2021/html/HB/0700-0799/HB0754SG.htm">As Sent to Governor</a>
4 thoughts on “Mississippi – 2021 – HB 754 – Dyslexia Education”
If the state is going to require schools to address dyslexia and accept dyslexia eligibility rulings from outside sources then they need to allow districts to serve these children through special education services. Mississippi requires schools to screen for dyslexia at a young age when a great number of children still do not have concrete knowledge of the alphabet or phonetic sounds which will automatically flag them as possibly dyslexic. Parents will then overreact and look for an outside source to rule the child dyslexic. Schools are then forced to serve the child and there is a minimal number of therapists available. Mississippi does provide Phonics First training for teachers which is very beneficial for all students.
They can (and should) serve them through special Ed if they meet eligibility criteria. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability.
If a child’s assessment outside of the district produces a diagnosis of dyslexia/related disorders, then an assessment by the SD would produce the same result. It is required by federal law (IDEA) that school districts in MS provide special education to students with dyslexia/related disorders who meet eligibility requirements. It is within a parent’s rights to “overreact” and seek an independent evaluation. Outside testing facilities are held to professional, ethical, etc standards and would not diagnose a child with dyslexia/related disorders without appropriate testing or if the child did not meet the diagnostic criteria. Children learn to read K-3rd grade. They read to learn 3rd-12th. If we wait until 3rd grade to provide appropriate therapy, we have missed prime brain development and learning window. Schools can and should provide appropriate services to students who meet eligibility criteria for dyslexia/related disorders. Failure to do so is a violation of FAPE. Understandably, there is a shortage of therapists available. However, it is the responsibility of the SD and state to make therapists available. If Phonics First were an appropriate program for dyslexic students, educators wouldn’t be required to be specially trained or required to pursue additional training every 3 years. Research and evidenced based programs (methodology) are required by federal law to provide FAPE.
“Parents will then overreact and look for an outside source to rule the child dyslexic. Schools are then forced to serve the child and there is a minimal number of therapists available.” First of all the schools were instructing parents to seek outside testing which goes against federal law. Second, the dyslexia therapist position in schools should be replaced by trained teachers in the general ed classroom. Every child deserves to learn to read with the least amount of trauma possible. Every elementary classroom should have a teacher trained to teach all children to read!
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