Dyslexic students in Missouri could receive more accommodations

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JEFFERSON CITY- Changes could come to how one learning disability is treated in Missouri.

One bill going through the house would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to hire a dyslexia specialist by 2016.

The specialist would serve as the primary source of information on dyslexia in the state and would help administer programs to school districts.

The specialist would also need at least three years of experience in screening, testing or treating dyslexia for consideration.

Anita Kuttenkuler, a dyslexia tutor, said the bill could make a big difference in a dyslexic student's life.

"The fact that this will now let them get the accommodations they need in a classroom to be able to show you I'm smart, that's what the bill is going to attempt to do," she said.

She said many of the kids she sees with dyslexia are smart, but just wired a bit differently.

"A classic definition is they have average or above average IQ," Kuttenkuler said. "But they have difficulty reading and spelling."

The bill would also create a Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia, which would also help make recommendations for how to support dyslexic students across Missouri.