HARTFORD, CT - As I sat in the public hearing for “An Act Concerning Special Education,” I was deeply disturbed to hear the stories from students and parents about the lack of support and knowledge about dyslexia. The bill, which I co-sponsored, would include dyslexia on the individualized education program form, to require boards of education to inform parents and guardians of their right to withhold enrolling their child in kindergarten and to create a three tier funding scheme for excess cost payments.
After hearing so many stories of struggle and despair, I cannot emphasize enough how crucial funding would be for these students. Many families spoke of the astronomical costs they paid just to get their child the specialized, individual attention their child needed to learn and succeed. Students spoke of the lack of resources available for their disabilities and their personal struggles with getting through their school system.
In fact, studies show dyslexia is going undiagnosed and children left literally unable to read into adulthood. Research done by these studies shows only 33 percent of children in our nation’s schools who possess reading disabilities receive help to become at best, functional readers. Moreover and even more disturbing, 20 percent (1 in 5) of our nation’s population are dyslexic and 48 percent (almost half) of our nation’s prison population are as well.
Quoting Marc Hoffman, M.S., who testified Monday, March 17 at the state capitol on HB 5562 and is a strong advocate for the dyslexia movement in Connecticut, “Dyslexia interferes with the acquisition and processing of language. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These problems normally result from a deficit in the phonological component of language.” Unfortunately, Connecticut schools are doing a poor job recognizing dyslexic children.
I join in the dyslexia movement’s goal of ensuring Connecticut’s educators possess a basic understanding of dyslexia, knowing the characteristics or symptoms it displays. Too many of Connecticut’s children have gone too long undiagnosed and traumatized by what has been an unrecognized and misunderstood physiological reality, and this cannot and will not continue in Connecticut.
As I and my colleagues work to develop educational policies needed to serve children with dyslexia in our schools, I want to share with you a Web Site parents and educators can visit to help them find assistance, click here (www.decodingdyslexiact.org).
Rep. Molgano represents the 144th General Assembly District covering Stamford.