House to Consider Dyslexia Bills

The Rhode Island Dyslexia Act would establish new policies and practices for the treatment of students with dyslexia in Rhode Island Schools. One local mother is rallying support for it and other bills addressing the needs of students with dyslexia.

Parents and advocates for children with dyslexia are lobbying the General Assembly for passage of two bill they say will improve services for dyslexic students in Rhode Island.

One bill would establish new policies and practices for the treatment of students with dyslexia in Rhode Island Schools.

The other would establish a legislative study commission that will study the implication of dyslexia and come up with a list of "recommendations for the House of Representatives on the educational needs of children with reading disabilities and dyslexia and all aspects of providing education to these children."

The legislation will be presented at the Health and Education Subcommittee meeting Feb. 28 and is backed by the state branch of the International Dyslexia Association.

Parent Suzanne Arena has been rallying support for the legislation and has been encouraging professionals, educators, parents and students to write statements of support and send them to lawmakers.

"This is a great first opportunity for the community to stand together and make our collective voices heard about our expectations for statewide policy and services around dyslexia," Arena said.

She hopes to get 200 statements of support.

Suzanne Arena February 24, 2012 at 01:29 AM
4. I also wanted to let you know that a few other critical bills will be also be heard on the afternoon of the 29th; please support those that resonate: House Bill No. 7218: This Act would place the burden of proof on local school districts in special education due process matters to prove the appropriateness of their program. House Bill No. 7655: This bill exempts non-public schools from the eligibility requirement that all teachers be state certified in order for the school to be considered for an out-of-district placement. House Bill No. 7217: This bill requires schools to refer for IEPs all students who have been repeatedly suspended or have unsatisfactory behavior, attendance or progress in school.
Suzanne Arena February 24, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Thanks Mark for posting! There are several Bills being heard next week surrounding Special Education, IEP etc. Please read: House Bill No. 7541 BY Naughton, Morrison, Keable, Baldelli-Hunt, Walsh ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- DYSLEXIA DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT (would enact the RI dyslexia act to establish policies and treatment for students with dyslexia in Rhode Island schools.) House Resolution No. 7542 BY Naughton, Morrison, Keable, Baldelli-Hunt, Walsh ENTITLED, HOUSE RESOLUTION CREATING A SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION TO ASSESS THE EDUCATIONAL NEEDS OF CHILDREN WITH READING DISABILITIES AND DYSLEXIA 2. Thank you to those of you who have sent letters and statements of support. Please continue to send them to me. You may also email a copy to Representative Joseph M. McNamara, Chairperson of the Health and Education Committee at rep-mcnamare@rilin.state.ri.us. If you are planning to testify, please let me know so we can make sure that perspectives are not redundant. Please bring 13 written copies of your testimony for submission to the committee members. Please limit your testimony to 3 minutes or less. 3. I am 99% sure that the hearing will be on Wednesday, February 29, starting at around 4:30 (all education bills will be presented and we do not know the order) in Rm 135 at the State House. Confirmation will be available online at the site listed above 48 hours in advance of the hearing.
mcam February 24, 2012 at 10:21 AM
Just another way for immigrint parents to collect social security for their kids!!!
Suzanne Arena February 24, 2012 at 01:36 PM
I am fully aware of the 'Debbie Downers', who are under the impression 'oh this is just another example of parents with kids wanting to take more money away" from their kids. I have heard the arguments from ignorance and I must share, once you educate yourself on neurological disorders/processing of the brain, you will learn not everyone learns the same and some children who are red flagged with a learning disorder early are able to go through intervention and attain the grade expectations they were unable to meet without the special programs. My son is taught for FREE at the Masonic/Shriner Temple in Pawtucket Village after school 2x a week how to read. He is in Grade 4.5 and reads at a 1st grade level at Glen Hills Elementary (supposedly great school), but they had NO IDEA how to deal with a dyslexic child. So, we need to have teachers in every City/Town Certified in the Orton Gillingham / Wilson training. The harm that has been caused to my son in ignorance of teaching is such a wide GAP .....as opposed to a Banner hanging that hangs from a school in which people walk by is mind boggling to me.
Rob T February 24, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Glen Hills IS a great school...not perfect, but what is? Great teachers, great principal
Davis Graham February 24, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Tools of the 21st Century, post to http://lincs.ed.gov Our report card in Schools could be graded by the size of the juvenile detention population. Take the software programs which were mentioned in the discussion string titled "tools in the 21st Century" which states: We live today with text to speech software most of which is free, note taking tools like mind spring and Xmind, and then there are great programs such as Bookshare.org which is one gateway to learning. Complex thinking is my gift, I think in pictures, we are all built differently, we all can learn differently, although our educational system does not teach efficiency. Today, text to speech is best to be in all schools and libraries. Note taking tools available and accepted in all class rooms, virtual textbooks which Bookshare.org creates with Read:OutLoud would make deeper learning thru data mining an ease. (At Youtube, type "2010 Manatee County School Board demo" and view "Bradenton.com and Readplease) We live in a world which is accelerating technologically but tools are not being share or utilized to advance education as quickly as it should. At my bio ( www.manateediagnostic.com/davisgraham.aspx ) you can hear what it is like to struggle, yet succeed and at my blog ( www.mygiftofdyslexia.blogspot.com ) which I contribute to there are a few of the many tools which are available to enable those who struggle to find their feet with the "Gift of Dyslexia". Sincerely, Davis W. Graham
Rhonda Knight February 25, 2012 at 04:45 AM
My son was diagnosed with dyslexia in the 1st grade at Garden City Elementary school in Cranston. He is now in the 6th and will soon be entering middle school. Even though I have done everything in my power to help my son... years of tutoring both independently and through the Childrens Learning Center of RI, he still is behind grade level in reading and writing. I am extremely worried about middle school. He is an extremely bright child and has an unbelievable memory, that is how he is surviving. I have asked the school about technology being my sons friend and they seem to have very little knowledge to know what is out there for his assistance. It seems to be my responsibility to know what is available to help my son. The school, although they want to help, have no idea on how to do so. Please help these bright children become the best they can be and succesful adults to someday run this world. Fondly, Rhonda Knight
Suzanne Arena February 27, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Glen Hills Elementary is like many other schools that are ignorant to the complex area of Special Education. I am aware of at least 3 parents that have pulled their children from this school, and yes, they needed additional accommodations. Some people have made statements that the $$$ being sucked out of the Education Budget is eaten up by these "Special Accommodations" afforded to children in order to make them successful. This is spoken from ignorance. If you haven't reveiwed the Budget, nor have any experience/exposure OR have any expertise in "factual/science-based" knowledge, than one would never make a statement like this. I am just throwing it out there because I've heard that statement and its very disturbing to hear ignorance perpetuated to all that person knows. It's a fact, that many children who receive early intensive intervention saves money in the end. @ Rob, I know many autisic children that were there last year and are struggling to cope at new schools. When you have a Reading Specialist working with children, one would think they have the ability to discern if a child has an "obvious" problem and not leave it undetected or up to the parent to play educator. The principal is nice, but nice is not up to par concerning Special Education and this has been an issue since his first school. There has been plenty of time to gain more knowledge to ensure the success of the approximate 21% of the children in his school.
Suzanne Arena February 27, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Thanks Davis, great points! I have asked for this several times and they are denying that my son needs this speech software, and to me FREE would be attractive to them??. This is a full-time job for all parents to advocate, research and educate themselves on the laws and responsibilities of the Administration and State.
Suzanne Arena February 27, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Rhonda, my son is in Grade 4.5 at Glen Hills Elementary and diagnosed with Dyslexia 4/28/11. Yet, we only just got a 504 this September and an IEP recently because my son has DIAGRESSED since September and slipped from mid 1ST grade to under-low 1st grade. SHOCKING! It took us 1 year to get into the (Shriners/Masons) Childrens Dyslexia Learning Center of RI, which we started 2 months ago. Last year, I hired a private tutor that worked at the Children's Dyslexia Center and I PAID her to meet with him every Saturday and teach him what Glen Hills had NOT. He used his weekend time to learn. Rhonda, your son and mine had been learning with the "schools" inadequate separate System 44 or Read 180. This is another language they have to learn and often frustrating and derailing our kids. What's the solution? The Children's Dyslexia Center has 100% success rate of 175 children. TRAIN a handful of Cranston teachers. If we have 21,000 diagnosed children in Rhode Island and many in Cranston, albeit it is not labeled as such and the disability is listed under "Other" as 1 of the 14 recognized disabilities. Therefore, numbers of children within the system are unknown and there is NO accountability to reflection of children failing with the present inadequate system. If there was, they would find a better solution. PLEASE join me on FB on CRANSTON CURE or my personal FB page, Suzanne Arena. Perhaps you can make a meeting during the morning monthly.
Rob T February 28, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Like I said, it's not perfect but considering there are about 350 kids who attend Glen Hills. With less than 1% of the 21% leaving I would say they are doing quite well. Three kids leaving out of 350 tells you they are doing some great things at that school.
Suzanne Arena February 28, 2012 at 04:46 PM
@ Rob T. "Three kids leaving out of 350 tells you they are doing some great things at that school." - Sorry, but think of it this way....there are 3 cancer patients and most get the chemo they need...but they leave 3 without and damaged to survive on their own. Is this right? If this was your child, would you accept this? This is not a pissing contest about Glen Hills. Let's remember the focus. It's about Schools in Rhode Island, specifically Cranston that are not being forthcoming and counting on parents to take the deal on the table....such as "well, we are not going to give your child the 504 yet, BUT we are going to give your child everything like they would have a 504 with accommodations". Most parents do just that, time passes, the child's gap in MOST cases has deteriorated and now the parent is in a battle to get what they need for their child. The schools bank on the fact that MOST parents will only fight so far. I have met many of the ones who persevere. The cost to the families is not just felt in money, and it's a great disservice to all. There is PROVEN science-based curriculum to teach children with dyslexia - so WHY wouldn't you provide such services. I'm sure Einstein, Walt Disney and many others could attest that under FAPE it should be a free education to teach all. It is approximately 10% of the children learn differently. PBS and Nova have aired several special shows on this to educate the public.
Maryanne Hunt February 28, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Suzanne Arena February 28, 2012 at 06:19 PM
@ MaryAnne, et al. My telephone is 440-2579. I am also on FaceBook. @ Rob, et al, do note I validate commentary like yours that hides behind a curtain. I'm on the table and tired of the lies and derailing. This is about integrity, ethics and an education to ALL children.
Suzanne Arena March 28, 2012 at 05:20 PM
ACT NOW: The establishment of a US Congressional Dyslexia Caucus: ANNOUNCEMNENT FROM DR. SALLY SHAYWITZ: It is very important that parents in every state contact their US Congressional Representative NOW and encourage them to join the caucus by contacting Rep. Peter Stark (D-CA) and/or Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). Please take action now. By supporting a discussion about dyslexia at the national level, we have a better chance of increasing resources and accountability at the state level. Dyslexia is real and US Public Schools are moving too slow to address it properly. Congressional Dyslexia Caucus Date Approved: 1/18/2012 Chair(s): Rep. Bill Cassidy; Rep. Pete Stark Staff Contact Information: David Pulliam (Cassidy) 202.225.3901, david.pulliam@mail.house.g​ov Jeff Hild (Stark) 202.225.5065, jeff.hild@mail.house.gov Please send your letters of support to your rep through this website: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml


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