Advocates draft “Dyslexia Bill of Rights” to raise awareness, improve education

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Parents and educators are shining a light on an issue that, in the past, has often been overlooked in education: dyslexia.

The "Dyslexia Bill of Rights" calls on local education agencies to recognize dyslexia has a significant impact on a child's education and their future.

Denise Gibbs, Director of Scottish Rite Foundation Learning Centers, is at the forefront of this effort.

"Often times children are struggling and unlike children with other kinds of issues or disabilities that are very visible," said Gibbs. "With children with dyslexia it's not an obvious thing. "

For more than a decade, Gibbs has been training educators how to identify dyslexia early on, and learn methods to help students overcome the disability.

"They're very bright and have good reading instruction, it just doesn't' work for them like it does for other children. They need to be taught with what's called multisensory teaching techniques."

Gibbs explains the method turns learning into an auditory, visual, and tangible experience for the student.

Statewide Scottish Rite has trained close to 150 teachers in this method, as well as provided professional development for more than 20,000 teachers.
Their efforts' effects are seen by parents like David Vess and his daughter Darby.

"With dyslexia they think they're not smart. Darby said she loves to read early on , but I don't know how. I can't. As a parent it will make you cry," said Vess.

In the two years since they learned Darby struggled with dyslexia, she's made tremendous strides. Thanks to programs that teach her - and other students - the strategies they need to overcome the learning disability.

It's why they want the state to get behind their efforts.

They've submitted their resolution to the State Board of Education. The board is expected to vote on the resolution next week.