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Dyslexia Screenings for Students
June 16, 2014
HARRISBURG- Lawmakers have passed and sent to the Governor a bill that would establish a pilot program to screen Pennsylvania students for dyslexia.

House Bill 198 will establish a Dyslexia Screening Pilot Program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to provide evidence-based early screening and intervention services for children with risk factors for dyslexia. (Sen. Wiley sponsored the Senate version of the bill, and some of the language from his bill was incorporated in the House bill.) The pilot program will help evaluate the effectiveness of early reading assistance programs for children with risk factors for dyslexia and to evaluate whether those programs can reduce future special education costs.

The Dept. of Education will select at least three school districts to participate. After three years of the pilot program, the Secretary of Education will issue a report to the General Assembly evaluating of the program and recommendations to continue, expand or make changes to the pilot program.

According to the International Dyslexia Association, the number of people having some symptoms of dyslexia is perhaps as much as 15 to 20 percent of the entire U.S. population. These symptoms include slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, poor writing, or mixing up similar words. Unfortunately, not all students exhibiting one or more signs of dyslexia will qualify for special education, but all are likely to benefit from systematic instruction in reading, writing and language.

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