Missouri task force recommends changes for students with dyslexia

8 months 2 weeks 4 days ago Tuesday, October 31 2017 Oct 31, 2017 Tuesday, October 31, 2017 10:54:00 AM CDT October 31, 2017 in News
By: Sydney Olsen, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY - A legislative task force met in Jefferson City at the Capitol on Tuesday to provide recommendations to improve services for students with dyslexia. 

The task force, made up of 21 members with different professions and backgrounds, provided recommendations to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. 

The task force recommended the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education require sufficient training for teachers, targeted intervention, frequence progress monitoring, and more. 

The task force, which was created in 2016 by Missouri House Bill 2379, works to provide recommendations for a statewide system that will address the needs for students with dyslexia.The bill requires the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop guidelines by December 31, 2017 for dyslexia screening. 

Missouri Representative Kathryn Swan is the chair of both the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia. During the press conference, Swan outlined some of the recommendations, including screening for students with dyslexia and teacher training.  

"Assessment and screening is the start. We have to follow through," Swan said. "Finding something is totally different than doing something about it."

The task force recommended schools should screen students in kindergarten through third grade for dyslexia and other similar disorders at the beginning of the school year.

It also recommended that DESE create professional development activities for staff working with students with dyslexia. Currently, teachers have a recommendation to complete two hours of training each year. Erica Lembke is chair of the Department of Special Education at the University of Missouri. She said the task force wants teachers to do more.

"There is some recommended professional development that will ask teachers to participate in. I think it's safe to say that none of us on the task force think that's enough," Lembke said. 

The task force stressed that assessment and assistance for students should be individualized for each student. 

The task force recommended schools for higher education should also be educated on dyslexia.

The task force released its findings and recommendations to the citizens of Missouri, Missouri governor, speaker of the house and more. 

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