Why Legislation For Early Screening Is Needed In North Carolina

If you suspect that your child has a learning disability or dyslexia and they need special education services you may request an evaluation for an Individual Education Plan (IEP) from the school at anytime.  It does not matter what tier your child has been assigned to or how long they have been in that tier, as a parent or guardian you always have a right to request an evaluation according to the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA.)

MTSS and RTI cannot be used to delay or deny an evaluation for eligibility under IDEA.  https://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/osep11-07rtimemo.pdf

Decoding Dyslexia North Carolina is advocating for early screening for dyslexia in schools.  We believe that time is of the essence and that the earlier dyslexia is addressed the greater the benefit for the child.  The North Carolina Department of Instruction has been advertising MTSS as a solution to screening children for dyslexia, but it is not a screener.  Lynn Loeser, a statewide consultant for Specific Learning Disabilities and ADHD, states that “A multi-tiered system of support process is not about SLD identification and eligibility.” MTSS is used by the schools to gather data on students for evaluation.

According to IDEA a state “may permit the use of other alternative research-based procedures for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability”§ 300.8(c)(10).  We believe that early screening for the risk factors of dyslexia should be formally enacted by legislation in all North Carolina public schools.

We recently issued a call out for letters in support of dyslexia legislation.  One of the common themes in these letters was parents questioning why schools were not being proactive when it comes to identifying and addressing the needs of dyslexic students.  Let’s not lose another day or even a year by not taking bold action to help these children.
A plan for early screening in Kindergarten is a proactive step in the right direction!

Common themes in the letters submitted by parents:
-Family members with dyslexia
-Children not on grade-level
-Children retained and still not on grade level
-Children receiving inappropriate interventions in school
-Children receiving tutoring services paid for by their parents
-Children removed from public school
-Children experiencing frustration and anxiety towards school and school work (low self esteem, tears, behavioral issues, emotional issues)
-Parents worried about other parents of dyslexic children who do not have the time, financial resources, tenacity and/or knowledge about dyslexia to help their children
-Frustrated that they often know more about dyslexia than the schools
-Wished that schools were proactive not just reactive
-Upset that schools did not tell them about dyslexia earlier when their children were struggling and below grade level

What parents saw as needs in school:
-Need to be more proactive in identifying and addressing needs of children with dyslexia (proactive approach not reactive)
-Early intervention is needed for children with dyslexia
-Training needed for teachers and EC teachers on the signs, how to identify, and how to address needs of dyslexic children
-Appropriate interventions and instruction methods need to be implemented for dyslexic children (evidence-based, multi-sensory, structured literacy)
-Write IEP’s with specific goals and use instruction methods that will lead to real growth (stop wasting student’s time)
-Point person needed in each school to handle questions about procedures and options that are available to help dyslexic children in the school system (stop the runaround, provide straight & correct answers)
-Need resources for parents and children (instruction, tutoring, testing, information, guidelines, and assistive technology)
-Staff training on Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), U.S. Department of Education dyslexia guidance letter issued in 2015, and the fact that schools can say dyslexia and use it in IEPs

#SayDyslexia North Carolina