Gov Pat Quinn, Democrat of Illinois, signed a new law on July 12 that the state hopes will bring more education services to dyslexic students, the Associated Press reports, here via WSIL-TV (ABC affiliate, Carterville).
The law will also create a reading instruction advisory group to train teachers on how to identify and work with students who have dyslexia.
HB 3700 passed the Illinois House on April 1 and the Illinois Senate on May 20, both by unanimous votes.
The new law requires the State Board of Education to inform local school boards about tests that can be given to help schools identify dyslexic students more easily and get them the intervention and supports they need. Screening for dyslexia and other reading disabilities will now be required in kindergarten.
The state will also have to keep local education agencies informed as to appropriate intervention strategies for students diagnosed with dyslexia or other reading disabilities and make sure those students receive a comprehensive assessment for the learning disorder and, in the event that a diagnosis is confirmed, an appropriate intervention strategy.
The law also requires schools to give educators professional development related to reading disabilities. Schools must, with that training, incorporate the International Dyslexia Association’s definition of dyslexia and administer an appropriate written test for certain educator licensure candidates.
The world headquarters for the International Dyslexia Association, based in Towson, Md., defines dyslexia as follows:
Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.