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New law to help Illinois students with dyslexia

Published: Saturday, July 12, 2014 11:20 p.m. CDT

CHICAGO – A new Illinois law aims to help dyslexic students by training educators on how to better identify and teach young people with the learning disability.

The measure signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn on Saturday entitles dyslexic students to special education services. It also creates a reading advisory group that will operate for one year. The group will create recommendations for school districts on recognizing and instructing dyslexic students.

“Dyslexic students can quickly fall behind because teachers cannot identify their disability or do not have learning materials adapted to their needs,” said state Sen. Melinda Bush, a Grayslake Democrat. “It is important that we implement the same level of awareness and services for this group of learning disabled students as we do for all other groups.”

Bush co-sponsored the bill with Rep. JoAnn Osmond, a Republican from Antioch. The Illinois House and Senate unanimously approved the measure this spring.

The International Dyslexia Association describes dyslexia as a learning disability characterized by difficulty with word recognition and poor spelling. It can also lead to problems with reading comprehension and vocabulary growth.

In a statement, Quinn said the law will help students across Illinois get the assistance they need to succeed.

“Many people throughout history have achieved greatness in spite of the challenges they faced with dyslexia,” the Chicago Democrat said. “Everyone learns in a different way, and we want to make sure that every child has an opportunity for success and receives the quality education they deserve.”

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