Dear Editor:

Feb. 13, a very important vote will take place in Madison by the Wisconsin Joint Legislative Council.

The vote will determine if the state of Wisconsin will bring forth two bills addressing needs for students with dyslexia. 

Since June 2018 through December 2018, the Legislative Council Study Committee on the Identification and Management of Dyslexia has met to review and determine the need for dyslexia legislation in Wisconsin. 

The bills, LRB 0383 and LRB 0368, relate to the creation of a dyslexia guidebook and relate to employing a dyslexia specialist at the Department of Public In­struction (DPI), respectively. These bills have been proposed and will be voted on to determine if they will be brought forth for the legislative process.

Unfortunately, Wisconsin remains the last of four states in the nation without dyslexia legislation. Dyslexia is a learning disability, and is a term used for individuals who struggle with fluent and accurate reading and/or spelling. 

In any classroom, an estimated 20% of students will have difficulty learning to read and spell. 

There are more than 27,000 Wisconsin students identified with a learning disability and an estimated 80% of those have dyslexia. 

Teachers in Wisconsin lack the proper understanding in identification and treatment of this disability. 

Many, if not most, school districts will not use the term dyslexia in spite of the federal guidance letter addressing dyslexia as a learning disability. 

It is hoped that Wisconsin legislators understand the need for Wisconsin to recognize that districts across the state lack the proper training on prevalence, identification and treatment of dyslexia. 

Support this legislation by contacting your senator and legislature to support the passage of this bill. Visit legis.wisconsin.gov to find your legislator. 

Wisconsin cannot continue to ignore the needs of its students any longer.

Donna Hejtmanek

Reading specialist

Harshaw