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Palazzo Cosponsors 21st Century Dyslexia Act

Washington, DC - Yesterday, Congressmen Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Co-Chair of the House Dyslexia Caucus, introduced the bipartisan 21st Century Dyslexia Act to reclassify dyslexia within the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The members released the following statement:

"By reclassifying dyslexia as its own, stand-alone category within the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, this bill will ensure those who suffer from the learning disability will receive proper care and accommodation to ensure a fruitful education," said Rep. Westerman (AR-04). "As the husband of a teacher, I understand how integral reading is as a building block of a successful future. Our school system must provide proper tools to help our children overcome the challenges of this common learning disability, which starts by reclassifying the disability to ensure maximum accommodation.”

“Students with dyslexia deserve to receive the support and resources they need to thrive and succeed in school,” said Rep Brownley (D-CA), co-chair of the House Dyslexia Caucus. “By reclassifying dyslexia as its own category within the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, this legislation raises the much needed awareness of the most common learning disability among American students and provides the proper accommodations and services for students with dyslexia. As the mother of a child who struggled with dyslexia when she was in school, I know all too well of the daily challenges that individuals with dyslexia face. That is why I am proud to continue working with Congressman Westerman and my colleagues of the Congressional Dyslexia Caucus to ensure that all individuals living with dyslexia have the tools they need to live up to their fullest potential.”

“My family has dealt with dyslexia firsthand, but many children in America are not lucky enough to be diagnosed at an early age or often at all,” said Rep. Palazzo (R-MS). “The 21st Century Dyslexia Act will be a step towards ensuring Dyslexia is classified and defined more clearly, therefore leading to quicker diagnoses and a quicker response by our education system to ensure every child with Dyslexia is given the opportunity to be successful with their disability.”

“Across America, dyslexia affects 20 percent of our population,” said Dr. Bucshon (R-IN). “As one of the most common learning disabilities, it is critical that those impacted have the resources and support they need to cope with this disorder. I am proud to cosponsor 21st Century Dyslexia Act, which would create a stand-alone category within the Individuals with Disabilities Education (IDEA) Act to ensure those with this learning disability receive proper accommodations and better treatment so they can live up to their full potential.”

Background

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in the United States, affecting 1-in-5 Americans, according to research done at the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity.

Currently, dyslexia is included as one of many disabilities under “Specific Learning Disabilities” (SLD) in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). SLD is the most common disability for children covered under IDEA, representing more than 33% of all students covered under IDEA. However, despite dyslexia being the most prevalent disability within SLD, students  are rarely diagnosed, which prevents access of services and accommodations necessary for a dyslexic reader. When children are not identified with dyslexia,   evidence shows it is possible for lifelong harm, resulting in lower career wages, reduced graduation rates, and even increased rates of incarceration.

The 21st Century Dyslexia Act is co-sponsored by Reps. Julia Brownley (D-CA), Larry Bucshon (R-IN), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), and Jim McGovern (D-MA).

Read the bill in full here.

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