Massachusetts Enacts a Dyslexia Screening Law

On October 19, 2018, Governor Baker signed into law a bill requiring the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to issue guidelines to assist school districts to develop screening procedures for dyslexia

The law requires that the state’s early literacy expert panel, which was created in 2012 to help ensure all students in the Commonwealth read proficiently by the end of third grade, include a member or representative of a “dyslexia advocacy organization.” This panel not only gives the dyslexia community a seat at the table, but also now has an additional mandate to make recommendations regarding action steps to implement researched-based recommendations for student screening and teacher preparation methods regarding dyslexia and other reading disabilities.   Estimates of the number of students with dyslexia range between five and twenty percent and early identification and remediation greatly benefits those students.

While this legislation caps a successful and long effort on the part of many parties, diligence is still required to ensure that comprehensive screening and remediation are put into practice.

Dan Heffernan is a partner in the Special Education & Disability Rights practice group at Kotin, Crabtree & Strong, LLP in Boston, Massachusetts.

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