A New Dyslexia Law in Wyoming
How a committed mom and her two daughters created change in their home state
By Kelly Attebery ©2012
In November of 2009, our older daughter Alice went through her Davis Dyslexia Correction Program with amazing results. At that time we realized how difficult it was for most parents in the state of Wyoming to get their children screened for dyslexia. We did all of our own research before finding The Gift of Dyslexia and seeking out Crystal Punch, Alice’s facilitator. In Wyoming, our home state, a child would have to test 3 years behind in reading and get placed in special ed before being tested for dyslexia. For obvious reasons this seemed a bit harsh and not conducive to a happy student.
We decided that we needed to make a change to the system. Unfortunately we had to pull Alice out of school because her teacher would not assist her with her Davis tools. We were busy transitioning to homeschooling and getting Davis Learning Strategies training to get our youngest on the right track, so our desire for change took a back burner.
In the summer of 2010, we were hanging on some swings in our front yard and the opportunity to make a change walked right up to us. Senator Chris Rothfuss came by to talk to us about his campaigning for reelection. As it turned out he was on the education committee and had no idea that there was no early screening for dyslexia in our state. We shared our story with the school system, gave him a copy of Alice’s children’s book about dyslexia and Davis success, The Story of Evee’s Sister. We wanted him to understand that given the right tools these children can succeed. Then we put his sign in our yard with his promise that he would look into the problem.
Through social networking with parents of dyslexics around the globe we shared with the senator many stories, studies, videos, articles and bills other states proposed. In August of 2011, we convinced director, Harvey Hubbell V, to do a prescreening and discussion of his film, Dislecksia, the Movie in Laramie at the university of Wyoming. Senator Rothfuss was invited and got involved in the discussion after the film.
Senator Rothfuss introduced the “Dyslexia Screening and Response” bill during the 2012 legislative session. The new law includes screening for dyslexia in grades K through 3 as well as intervention for dyslexia. It is a huge step for the children of Wyoming. It is a blessing for both parents and children in our state. We were lucky enough to attend the final debate on the house floor where so many shared their stories of family members that could have benefited from earlier intervention. The bill passed by an overwhelming vote. It was encouraging for Alice to hear and see this process and an honor for all of us to be at the signing of this bill into law by our Governor Matt Mead.