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April 24, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Dyslexia Screening Now Law for K-2

What's going on in there? New hope for local kids with New Tennessee Dyslexia Law in Place

It may be the hardest learning difference to detect because it includes a wide number of issues which may or may not be a part of one child’s diagnosis. Dyslexia — widely known as the disability that makes reading difficult — casts a wider net than inverting letters since it also can include oral and expressive processing and the various “shades” of communication within that context. Dyslexia can go undetected in kids since it has so many different characteristics, but it usually rears its head when a child is learning to read — in kindergarten or even earlier. Parents of preschoolers may not notice it — especially if it happens to their first child and the parents have no other typical child at home to compare their youngster to.
“My daughter didn’t want to sit in my lap long for stories,” says Kay Webber, a local mom with a dyslexic teenager who received a dyslexia diagnosis in first grade. “Her kindergarten teacher told us in a conference that our daughter would raise her hands to answer a question about a story the teacher read, but she’d give gobbledeegook answers. It wasn’t until our second child loved sitting in our laps for reading time and asked to be read to over and over again that we realized the difference,” she adds.
Now, thanks to a new dyslexia law in Tennessee that went into effect July 1, 2016, all school kids in grades K-2 may be screened for dyslexia. The law came about through the intense efforts of a group of Tennessee parents who met online starting a movement that became Decoding Dyslexia Tennessee.
But what does it mean for your youngster? Before the law was passed, schools only tested kids if they were behind enough to qualify for special services. Now, if a teacher thinks a child may have dyslexia, he or she can refer him for screening. An accurate diagnosis of dyslexia is important in order for a child to receive the correct intervention at the youngest age possible. With screening in place, and with teachers receiving guidance on knowing know how to intervene, more children will be helped at earlier ages.


The Center for Dyslexia at MTSU holds “Cut the Red Tape and Meet the Needs of Students with Dyslexia” on Friday, October 14 in the McWherter Learning Resources Center. The event takes place from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and includes a continental breakfast and lunch for a must-be-registered fee of $25. Parents are invited to get an overview of the new Tennessee Dyslexia Law and to learn how they can work with teachers and other educators to support their kids with dyslexia.


About the Author

Susan Swindell Day, Editor

Susan Swindell Day is the editor in chief of Nashville Parent and the mom of four amazing kids.