Dyslexia Goes to Capitol Hill
Two congressmen, both with children who have been diagnosed with dyslexia, are using their bully pulpit to shine a light on the most common language learning disability. Representative Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), and Pete Stark (D-CA) have crossed the aisle to propose a bipartisan congressional caucus to raise awareness of dyslexia and educate others about the challenges, opportunities, and issues that must be addressed to ensure success for students with dyslexia.
In a joint letter, the two representatives invited their congressional colleagues to join their efforts to increase awareness and make policy changes to “create opportunity for all dyslexics and remove barriers to success.” The letter further stated what many parents of children with LD already know:
All too often dyslexics are either misdiagnosed or misunderstood, and as a result their true skills and abilities go ignored…As an example, in December 2011, the GAO released a report (GAO-12-40) showing that many students with learning and other disabilities, including dyslexia, are not receiving accommodations, such as extended testing time, required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when they take high stakes examinations such as the SAT, GRE, LSAT, or U.S. Medical Licensing Examination and others. Further, GAO found that the Department of Justice is not adequately enforcing the ADA and protecting the rights of students. The result is that highly qualified individuals are being locked out of professions and are not able to achieve their career goals.
We all have an interest in ensuring that each member of our society is fully contributing to our nation and our economy. We cannot afford to ignore those who are challenged with dyslexia. Dyslexia robs individuals of their ability to read quickly and automatically but it does not dampen their creativity and ingenuity – skills important for America to prosper.
Smart Kids with LD welcomes this federal bipartisan effort to elevate the national understanding of dyslexia and to spearhead policy changes that will help children with dyslexia achieve their potential.