Decoding Dyslexia Minnesota is a grassroots movement driven by Minnesota families and educators who recognized the need for conversations with our school districts and policymakers regarding dyslexia. We strive to raise dyslexia awareness, empower families to support their children, and improve resources for students with dyslexia in Minnesota public schools.
What is dyslexia? Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability which results in a cluster of symptoms that make learning to read unusually challenging. Often these students exhibit unexpected difficulties with other language-based skills such as spelling, writing, memorization, and pronouncing words.
How widespread is dyslexia? About 5% of the school population nationwide has a learning disability in reading that qualifies them for special education. Many more people—perhaps as many as 15–20% 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 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 of the large number of children with dyslexia and their silent struggles.
To Shape Policy that will create a learning environment so 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 the public school setting 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.