House Finance Committee Okays Funding for Elements Of "Dyslexia Law"

Mar 31, 2017

 Below story corrects information in an earlier post found here

Under a new law, school districts will be required this fall to screen early for reading difficulties, including dyslexia, a condition that affects the ability to read accurately and fluently and affects as many as one in five people.  For an Exchange discussion on what it's like to have dyslexia, visit here.

Experts say early screening and intervention can make a major difference in a child's academic outlook. 

The law also says the N.H. Department of Education must hire a reading specialist to oversee these and other reading programs. 

Democratic Representative Karen Ebel says the House Finance Committee recently agreed to fund a contracted position that will help schools get their screening and teaching programs for dyslexia on track.  

Ebel says the full House will vote on the Finance Committee's recommended budget next week. 

"Dyslexia is extremely widespread and it's simply a different way of learning and we are extremely hopeful that through this legislation the lives of many will be greatly improved,"  Ebel said. "The emotional outpouring during the legislative process and upon the adoption of the bill indicates the long term frustrations of people with these reading challenges. There are so many that are so excited at the opportunities presented by this legislation."

State Senator David Watters, a sponsor of the original bill, told The Exchange he's hopeful the senate will also support funding for the contracted position.

 It's unclear how many school districts already screen for the condition or use the most advanced methods for teaching students with dyslexia.  Meanwhile, in at least one district -- Manchester -- several reading specialists trained to help dyslexic students are facing layoffs. 

For more information, please see: 

Decoding Dyslexia  

International Dyslexia Association

Final Report of Committee to Study Policies which It Determines are Necessary for Dyslexic Students.