Sacramento, CA – Assembly Bill 1369 by Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D – Oakley) passed the Senate Floor and now awaits approval from Governor Brown. The bill will help ensure that California public schools are able to properly identify and remediate students who have dyslexia.
“Over the past few months we have built a strong coalition of parents, teachers and supporters – together, our hard work and dedication has paid off,” said Assemblymember Frazier. “AB 1369 championed the voice of over 5500 parents statewide who have voiced their strong support for giving dyslexic students the remediation that two decades of research has shown they need. It is my hope that Governor Brown can join our cause to help foster academic achievement for all students.”
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability wherein individuals experience difficulties with language skills such as spelling, writing and pronouncing words. Approximately 20 percent of students in the education system have dyslexia, and as a result, experience difficulty in functioning academically.
“With early identification and proper remediation methods, we have the proper tools to give California’s dyslexic students a lifetime of success,” said Tobie Meyer, Legislative Member of Decoding Dyslexia. “Studies show that individuals with dyslexia process information in a different area of the brain than non-dyslexics. Reading challenges for a dyslexic are caused by a deficit in phonological processing. Many people who are dyslexic are of average to above average intelligence, yet they fall behind because our educators do not have the proper tools to reach these students. AB 1369 will ensure that proven dyslexia remediation instruction is available for schools to put their dyslexic students on the right path for academic achievement.”
Although dyslexia is one of the conditions listed in the federal and state definition of a specific learning disability, the definition does not address the phonological processing deficit – a hallmark trait of dyslexia. When school districts review assessment data for a student, school personnel look for visual and auditory processing deficits, but often ignore evidence of a phonological deficit. AB 1369 will ensure that a phonological processing deficit is included in that definition, while also addressing the need to remediate students that currently struggle with dyslexia.
Currently, the Education Code “encourages” districts to use an appropriate program for a student with dyslexia or suspected dyslexia. However, individual districts have failed to put that encouragement into action. For children with dyslexia to be the successful students that they are capable of becoming, schools have the responsibility to use the intervention that science has showed time and again is effective. And in the case of dyslexia this means an intervention that is evidence-based, multisensory, direct, explicit, structured, and sequential. This description of the intervention will assure that the programs that districts choose are based in evidence for children with dyslexia. Without the language, districts will be free to implement the eclectic and unstructured programs they currently use that have been shown time and again not to be effective.
The bill has passed through the Assembly and Senate with bipartisan support and now proceeds to the Governor’s desk. To track the status of AB 1369, or for more information, click here.
To contact Assemblymember Jim Frazier please visit his website at http://www.asmdc.org/members/a11/ or call his District Offices at 707-399-3011 or 925-513-0411.