Decoding Dyslexia CA is a grassroots movement driven by California families, educators and professionals concerned with the limited access to educational interventions for dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities within our public schools. We aim to raise dyslexia awareness, empower families to support their children, and inform policymakers on best practices to identify, remediate, and support students with dyslexia in CA public schools.
What is dyslexia? “Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”
[Adopted by the IDA Board of Directors, Nov. 12, 2002. This Definition is also used by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)]
How widespread is dyslexia? About 5% of the school population nationwide has a learning disability in reading that qualifies them for special education. Many more people—as many as 20% of the population as a whole—have some of the symptoms of dyslexia, including slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, poor writing, or mixing up similar words. Even though they may not qualify for special education, they still struggle with many aspects of academic learning.
Lack of effective training and instruction Teachers (including general education teachers, reading specialists and special education teachers) often receive no training on dyslexia. As a result, many California families whose children demonstrate characteristics of dyslexia are struggling to secure effective reading instruction for their children within public schools. There is no systematic screening of students with dyslexia, and very few opportunities for the research-based instruction that is needed for these students. This is not a “failing school” issue. This is an issue that affects families in all school districts across our state regardless of demographics.
What We Believe
The parents, educators, and professionals that are part of Decoding Dyslexia CA are united in their belief that all children:
- Have the power to learn
- Are curious & creative
- Can succeed
No two students have exactly the same skills or learning styles. That is why every child needs an individualized learning plan.
Decoding Dyslexia CA is advocating for:
- A universal definition and understanding of dyslexia
- Early screening for dyslexia risk
- Evidence-based instruction for general and special education students who show signs of dyslexia
- Teacher training on dyslexia, its warning signs and accommodation strategies that can help students with dyslexia.
- Access to appropriate assistive technologies in the public school setting for students with dyslexia.
We hope to create a collective voice in California and across the country with one mission – to improve awareness and educational resources for students with dyslexia.