State BOE classifies dyslexia as a learning challenge, opens the door for more student support

Published: Oct. 9, 2015 at 1:21 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 16, 2015 at 1:21 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - If you have a child with dyslexia, you know getting the attention they need in school can be difficult.

On Thursday, the Alabama Department of Education voted to classify dyslexia as a learning challenge, which means students will now get some much needed help.

Ramona Rice says her own son was diagnosed with dyslexia after he had problems reading in elementary school.

"Due to some of the lack of knowledge in school, there was a lot of pushback in trying to get him the services he needed," she said.

Rice started a grassroots movement called Decoding Dyslexia, which works with other groups and state education officials to address any lack in services for dyslexic students.

The new classification from the state education department means more will be done in public schools to identify children with the disorder and provide them with specialized instruction.

"It's huge," Rice said of the distinction. " I'm hoping this turns things around for these kids. If you're not constantly failing these kids they have a much greater success of graduating."

Rice's son moved to Spring Valley School, a private school geared towards kids with learning challenges, in the sixth grade. She said it's helped him blossom as a student.

Dr. Laura Fiveash, the executive director of Spring Valley School, said addressing dyslexia in public schools is long overdue.

"I think it's somewhat egregious to think that of all the learning differences we have and can make a huge difference in these students that we haven't always been trying to do everything that we can to intervene to help them read," she said.

The resolution states that 1 out of 5 people has dyslexia. An advisory council has been created to guide educators and provide support to students.

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