Bill regarding education plans for those with dyslexia passes in House, announces Betts

State Representative Whit Betts (R-Bristol, Plymouth) celebrated the passage of a bill that would provide teachers with the resources needed to craft individualized education plans (IEPs) for students with dyslexia and would include dyslexia on the individualized education program form. The bill, an Act Concerning Special Education (HB 5562), would also require boards of education to inform parents and guardians of their right to withhold enrolling their child in kindergarten.

Betts, Ranking Member of the Children’s Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly and co-sponsor of the legislation, said in a press releasethat HB 5562 will aim to improve the state’s overall responsiveness in regards to dyslexia. 

“It is my hope that this legislation will encourage much needed dialogue between schools, parents and caregivers, and stakeholders, on how to continuously improve the services we are providing for individuals with dyslexia,” said Betts in the press release. “In particular, I’m pleased with the provisions this bill makes for providing teachers with the needed resources to create IEPs for students with dyslexia, and provide students with a plan specific to their individual needs in order to be successful in their academic studies.” 

In addition, Betts said the bill also provides for further parent involvement by requiring that local or regional boards of education inform the parent or guardian of a child with dyslexia of special education laws and any relevant information and resources regarding individualized education programs created by the Department of Education.

The bill also seeks to adapt methods of intervention, education and professional training. All teacher preparation programs will provide a professional teacher certification program in turn providing the proper resources and training for dyslexia awareness.

Betts also said, according to the release, “Ensuring educators have training to help them recognize symptoms of dyslexia in students is critical to successfully diagnosing the disorder and intervening as early as possible.”

Originally, the release explained, this bill included a three tier funding scheme for excess cost payments that was introduced by Governor Malloy.  However, it has since been removed because it would cost many municipalities, including Bristol and Plymouth, too much money.

The bill also establishes the Office of Early Childhood and expands the School Readiness Program.

The bill passed the House unanimously and now awaits passage in the Senate.