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Massachusetts: Plan for school screenings for dyslexia/neurological learning disability

Oct 18, 2018, Newburyport (MA) Daily News: Plan for dyslexia screening awaits Baker's approval—Baker must sign bill OK'd by lawmakers Most public schools in Massachusetts don’t screen for dyslexia despite research suggesting early intervention is the key to treating a learning disability that affects one in five children in the state. That would change under a proposal awaiting Gov. Charlie Baker’s approval, which would require the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to come up with guidelines for screening of students with at least one indicator for dyslexia or another neurological learning disability. … “The reality is that every school should be screening for dyslexia,” said Nancy Duggan, executive director of the Massachusetts chapter of Decoding Dyslexia, a national advocacy group. … Even when diagnosed, children often don’t receive the services they need because there is no statewide framework for dealing with dyslexia, she said. The bill, which combines proposals filed by Sen. Barbara L’Italien, D-Andover, and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, was approved last week by the House and Senate. … Besides screening, the legislation would require school districts to train teachers on the learning disability, its signs and intervention strategies. … Between 5 percent and 20 percent of the population has a reading disability; of those, as many as 85 percent are believed to have dyslexia. …

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