Decoding Dyslexia Minnesota is a 501(c)(3) non-profit grassroots organization supported by Minnesota families, educators, & professionals concerned with the limited access to educational interventions for students within educational environments. We strive to raise dyslexia awareness, empower families to support their children, and improve resources for students with dyslexia in Minnesota educational environments. Our mission is to educate, advocate, and empower.
What is dyslexia? In 2015, the definition of dyslexia was passed into MN Statute - MN Statute 125A.01,subd 2: "Dyslexia" means a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate or fluent recognition of words and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. Students who have a dyslexia diagnosis must meet the state and federal eligibility criteria in order to qualify for special education services.
How widespread is dyslexia? About 3-4% of the school population nationwide has a learning disability in reading that qualifies them for special education. Many more people—perhaps as many as 5–20% of the population as a whole—have some of the symptoms of dyslexia, including slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, poor writing, or mixing up similar words. Even though they may not qualify for special education, they still struggle with many aspects of academic learning.
Lack of effective training and instruction Teachers (including general education teachers, reading specialists, and special education teachers) often receive little to no training on dyslexia. As a result, many Minnesota families whose children demonstrate characteristics of dyslexia are struggling to secure effective reading instruction for their children within public schools. There is no systematic screening of students with dyslexia and very few opportunities for the research-based instruction that is needed for these students. This is not a “failing school” issue. This is an issue that affects families in all school districts across our state regardless of demographics.
To Empower parents with information and resources, enabling them to meet the needs of their children with dyslexia.
To Raise Awareness on the large number of children with dyslexia and their silent struggles.
To Shape Policy that will create a learning environment in which every child can reach their potential.
Decoding Dyslexia Minnesota is advocating for:
- A universal definition and understanding of dyslexia. (accomplished in 2015 -- MN State Statute 125A.01)
- Early screening for dyslexia.
- Evidence-based remediation programs for general and special education students who show signs of dyslexia.
- Teacher training on dyslexia, its warning signs, and accommodation strategies that can help students with dyslexia.
- Access to appropriate assistive technologies in educational environments for students with dyslexia.
We hope to create a collective voice in Minnesota and across the country with one mission – to improve awareness and educational resources for students with dyslexia.