Indiana News

New law brings dyslexia screening, resources to Indiana's public schools

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) --  Twenty: That's the percentage of children in Indiana living with dyslexia.

But it might be getting a bit easier for them at school thanks to a bill Gov. Eric Holcomb recently signed into law.

The Mayo Clinic describes dyslexia as a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading because of problems relating speech sounds to letters and words. For decades, some children have struggled with this at school and at home.

Elliot Cox, who lives with dyslexia, said his classmates used to bully him, saying "You're stupid. You can't read. Your spelling's so bad."

Bullies threw those hurtful words at the 10-year-old fifth grader.

"Sometimes it just looks like the words are trying to hop off the page on you," Cox said.

His mother, Amanda Cox, said his school didn't notice his dyslexia, but the family did.

Many months of expensive tutoring finally helped Elliot.

The new Indiana law will create a universal screening process in public schools to include dyslexia and require resources to help those who struggle with the condition. The new law will eventually require districts to hire at least one reading specialist trained in dyslexia.

"We are super excited about that! It's such a win for all the kids that have dyslexia in Indiana," said Elliot's mother.

Amanda Cox said she feels like children won't fall through the cracks anymore because dyslexia could be noticed earlier and intervention started sooner.

"Which is super important because if you don't start to close the gaps early, than those kids never catch up," Amanda Cox said. "When they're caught in fourth, fifth grade, the gap is so wide, even with proper intervention, it's really really hard for them to make it through school."

As Elliot continues to conquer his dyslexia, reading has become one of his loves, and he's now reading above his grade level.

"If you do have dyslexia, don't let it stop you," was Elliott's advice.

That's a message his family hopes reaches children and their parents across Indiana.

The new law goes into effect July 1. It's expected to start rolling out for the 2019-2020 school year.

To read the bill, click here.


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