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4. State dyslexia laws aim to improve early intervention and identification.

Over the past few years several states have passed laws related specifically to the early identification of and intervention for dyslexia. As of Nov. 1, 2016, 26 states had passed laws relating to dyslexia, and six have begun exploring the issue through pilot programs and task forces. Dyslexia laws vary from state to state but tend to include a few key components:

  • Definition of dyslexia: Most state laws establish a specific definition of dyslexia within the state’s education code, often indicating that dyslexia is a type of learning disability that impacts reading.
  • Universal screening: Some state laws require schools to screen all students in certain grades to find children who struggle with certain literacy skills. Some laws call for universal screening annually from grades K–3. Some begin as early as Pre-K.
  • Evidence-based intervention: Many state laws require schools to provide evidence-based instruction for students who have been identified as displaying signs of dyslexia.
  • Professional development: Some laws provide for the development of resources and information to help teachers identify and address dyslexia. Different states approach this in different ways. Some call for appointing dyslexia specialists or coaches who can offer training and support to teachers. Other states have made changes to teacher preparation programs to include coursework or licensure requirements relating to literacy and dyslexia.