A new bill would require prospective elementary school teachers in Indiana to be able to identify dyslexia in their students.
Research suggests dyslexia is among the most common learning disabilities, affecting ten to twenty percent of the population. The precise number is unknown since so many people go undiagnosed.
House Bill 1108 would require new elementary school teachers to be able to recognize learning disabilities that affect reading, including dyslexia.
Republican Representative Woody Burton authored the bill.
He says the issue was brought to his attention by his constituents. He was surprised by how many students have learning disabilities, and how many resources there are to address them.
“What this is going to do, it’s going to use some of the more advanced training techniques to train teachers in the area of recognizing dyslexia," says Burton. "There are all kinds of signs that are there that you might not think about.”
Diana Yngstrom-Bugge is Executive Director of the Fort Wayne Center for Learning. While she says official diagnosis should be left to medical professionals, there are red flags that parents and teachers can look for.
She says problems can snowball when learning disabilities go undiagnosed - her facility regularly meets high school students who can’t read.
“They’re the kids who are getting into trouble in school because they’d rather be known as bad than dumb," says Yngstrom-Bugge. "Having a learning disability is a very lonely place, especially for kids, because they try to hide it.”
The bill has received bipartisan support and Representative Burton believes it will pass. It comes before the House Education committee Thursday.