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Washington Superintendent's Office Seeks Applicants For A Dyslexia Advisory Council

U.S. Department of Education

The Washington legislature passed a law earlier this year to require universal screening of kids for the learning disability known as dyslexia. That screening requirement won’t kick in until fall of 2021, but the state is now seeking applicants for a dyslexia advisory council. The deadline to apply is Thursday.

Dyslexia is a common neurological condition that makes decoding words and spelling difficult. If people with dyslexia get the right instruction, they can learn to read.

Parents of children with dyslexia describe battling with schools to get their kids tested and then having to get special tutoring outside of public school.

Sara Buetow is the parent founder of Decoding Dyslexia Washington. She said the law passed by the legislature is a big step forward.

“We think if we can do universal screening very early, K, 1, 2, and provide some direct, explicit instruction by their general teachers or their reading specialists, that those children won’t have to prove that they failed, that they dropped behind a couple of years,” she said. “They might not have to seek the services in special education.”

Buetow said she had to pay thousands of dollars to have her son privately tested for dyslexia because she noticed he had fallen behind his peers in reading. The school wouldn’t pay for the testing because they told her he wasn’t far enough behind, she said.

That’s why universal screening is an equity issue, because not all families can afford to pay for that kind of private evaluation, Buetow said.

She has applied to be on the dyslexia advisory council. The group will start meeting in the fall to identify screening tools and resources to recommend to the state superintendent.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.