Dyslexia Training Bill Signed by Governor Stitt
Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma Excited for Future
[Oklahoma City, Oklahoma] – With the signature of Governor Stitt, HB1228 is now law. The law, which was authored by House Majority Leader Mike Sanders, adds dyslexia awareness professional development for all teachers beginning in the 2020-2021 school year.
“I am grateful for Representative Sanders’ leadership this session and the relationship we have built over the years. He represents us in District 59 with all his heart, but he is stepping up for all students in Oklahoma with dyslexia and their families by building bipartisan support in the Legislature. I am proud to serve with him on the Dyslexia and Education Task Force and look forward to continuing the conversation on how we can make improvements for students with dyslexia,” stated Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma state leader Tiffany Jenkins.
Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma would like to thank all of our legislative supporters, including Senate author Jason Smalley, co-authors Speaker McCall, Rep. Lawson, Rep. Josh West, Rep. Boles, Rep. Townley, Rep. Albright, Sen. Bice, Sen. Bullard, Sen. Haste, Sen. Hicks, and Sen. Kirt. We are proud of the bipartisan support HB1228 received with the authors and unanimous votes in House and Senate.
Parents across the state are often told Oklahoma does not recognize dyslexia. This law will help to dispel this myth. Awareness training is targeted towards helping teachers identify dyslexia, meet the needs of their students, and locate resources about dyslexia for teachers, parents, and students. “Something I’ve realized in my months of research is there is not one socioeconomic profile dyslexia takes a hit on,” Sanders said. “What I’m worried about are those families that may not be able to (afford) it.”
Research shows that everyone can become a successful reader. Reading problems, including dyslexia, need to be identified early to ensure students are receiving proper intervention. The term “dyslexia” needs to be used when appropriate. With effective reading intervention and classroom accommodations, students can break free of the shame and frustration of struggling in school.
In February, Dyslexia Day at the Capital coincided with the House floor unanimous vote. Kennedy, a student with dyslexia, was one of many who attended to watch the vote and share their experiences. Kennedy said, “It was awesome to visit with both my Representative and Senator about HB1228. It was exciting to see how everyone voted ‘yes’ to support kids like me with dyslexia. Not all of my teachers understand what I go through every day and this bill will help them understand about dyslexia, which will help me.”
Teacher Renee McFarland understands the frustration Kennedy has felt and sees it in her students. “Dyslexia is in every single classroom from elementary to high school. The majority of students with dyslexia have been misunderstood and their needs have not been met. It is time for all teachers to do a better job at recognizing and meeting those needs, but we can’t do more until we know more.”
Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma’s founder, Michelle Keiper, is a former teacher and parent of a student with dyslexia. “The future is looking brighter today for students with dyslexia. HB 1228 will bring awareness and understanding for struggling readers with dyslexia, and help to equip teachers to be able to lend support right away. Awareness is the first step.” Six years ago, Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma began with a small group of parents and teachers. A recent Facebook post on the passing of HB1228 in the Senate reached over 31,000 people. Oklahoma teachers are seeking training. When Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma announced a conference in January, registration sold out in thirteen hours. HB1228 gives teachers the opportunity to learn with their peers to create schools that are ready to support students with dyslexia.
Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma is a grassroots movement led by Oklahoma parents, teachers, and students working together to promote evidence-based practices to improve educational outcomes for students with dyslexia in our public schools. Spanning all fifty states, Decoding Dyslexia is actively working to raise dyslexia awareness, advocate for children, and work with legislators to bring about lasting change in public schools.
Contact Information: Michelle Keiper, info@DecodingDyslexiaOK.org