Monday, June 4, 2012

Dyslexia: Praiseworthy legislation addresses dyslexia

(An extract from the Sun Herald of Mississippi and the Gulf Coast.)

One of the good pieces of legislation to come out of this year's session was signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant.

It requires kindergartners or first graders to be tested for dyslexia, a reading disorder that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols like letters in the alphabet.

The new law also gives dyslexic students in the first six grades the ability to move to a new public or non-public school if it is determined the student can be better served by the transfer.

A separate bill also signed by Bryant creates a scholarship program for people who want to study dyslexia therapy.

There's no telling how many people were considered "slow learners" because of this condition. Many were otherwise highly intelligent, but because they couldn't learn to read properly, were behind throughout their school years.

Too many dropped out. A couple of notable ones we can recall were allowed to stay in school without achieving much except to excel in football.

Bryant himself says he was in the fourth grade before a teacher discovered dyslexia was causing him to scramble words and failing to put the right sounds with letters.

"I repeated the third grade. What a difficult, horrible experience that was for a child," Bryant said at the bill signing.

Fortunately, the condition can be addressed with therapy, and the governor is living proof it can be overcome. More therapists are needed, though, and it is hoped the scholarship will increase the number.

Estimates are that between 10 and 20 percent of the population suffers from dyslexia. Good for Bryant for openly discussing his own struggles and for encouraging those who have the condition.

Good for the Legislature for addressing the subject with the new laws.


  1. I was very happy to hear about this legislation - I really think it is a step in the right direction, and I hope more countries adopt a similar approach to diagnosing dyslexia.

  2. Thanks for your comment and hope you'll be a regular reader. Ken