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New Jersey Branch
NJIDA
Promoting literacy through research, education and advocacy
Dyslexia In the News
More and more successful and well-known individuals are coming forward to speak about their struggles and triumphs with dyslexia. Also, new research in the field and advances in technology are changing the way scientists, educators and others view dyslexia. Check back here often for feature articles that may surprise and inspire you.
Want to learn about some creative, talented and accomplished individuals? Visit our Dyslexia Newsroom.

Spring is here with NJIDA:

It was a long, cold, snowy winter here in New Jersey. Despite the weather, teachers, language pathologists and other professionals braved the polar vortex to our first annual WIFFT and 22nd Annual Spring Conference. Both events provided opportunities for attendees to expand their knowledge of dyslexia and literacy. The tools and techniques shared at these professional development opportunities have been brought back to schools and classrooms around the state.
SPOTLIGHT ON LEGISLATION:
THE LATEST IN DYSLEXIA LAWS

As you may know, IDA has been working with other groups, including Decoding Dyslexia, to get legislation passed that will help dyslexic students in public schools get the help they need.
Over the past year, three important bills have been signed into law:

1. Definition of Dyslexia Law:
This law makes the International Dyslexia Association's definition of dyslexia part of New Jersey's administrative code. Dyslexia is now included in the list of specific learning disabilities.  This means that, according to New Jersey law, students diagnosed with dyslexia may be eligible for special education services based on their learning disability.  Here is the full text of the law.

2. Dyslexia Screening Law:
Although known as the "dyslexia screening law". This law is related to screening, diagnosis and intervention. Click here for the full text of the law.

Screening:

How are they screened: Boards of education must choose an appropriate screening instrument for students in grades K-2 as well as for older students, from a list of assessments recommended by the Commissioner of Education.

Who is screened:  Students who display one or more signs of dyslexia including, but not limited to "difficulty in acquiring language skills; inability to comprehend oral or written language; difficulty in rhyming words; difficulty in naming  letters, recognizing letters, matching letters to sounds, and blending sounds when speaking and reading words; difficulty recognizing and remembering sight words; consistent transposition of number sequences, letter reversals, inversions, and substitutions; and trouble in replication of content."

AND

who are in grades K-2 as of the 2014-2015 school year (must be screened by first semester of second grade)

OR

students up to grade 6 who are new to the district as of the 2015-2016 school year AND would have been enrolled in K-2 in the 2014-2015 school year AND who have no record of previous screening (must be screened at the same time as other students in the grade or within 90 days of enrollment)

Who administers screenings: initial screening must be administered by a properly trained teacher or teaching staff member.

Diagnosis: if initial screening confirms evidence of potential indicators of dyslexia or other reading disabilities, the student must receive a comprehensive assessment for the disability.

Intervention: students diagnosed with dyslexia must be provided with "appropriate evidence-based intervention strategies." Such strategies include "intense instruction on phonemic awareness, phonics and fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension."

3. Dyslexia Professional Development Requirements:
This law requires that grade K-3 general education teachers and all district special education, basic skills, and English as a second language teachers, reading specialists, learning disabilities teacher consultants, and speech-language specialists receive two hours of professional devlopment about dyslexia and other reading disabilities every year. This training must including information about screening, intervention, accommodation, and use of technology for students with reading disabilities, including dyslexia. The law also requires that the Department of Education make training about dyslexia and other reading disabilities available to these professionals, along with general education teachers, instructional support staff, administrators, supervisors, and child study team members. These trainings must account for the different ways in which these individuals interact with students with reading disabilities. Click here for the full text of the law. Please note: NJIDA board members are available to provide professional development to NJ school districts. Please send inquiries to webmaster.njida@gmail.com

If you have questions regarding any of the new dyslexia laws or would like to request an NJIDA board member to provide professional development in your school district, please send us an email at webmaster.njida@gmail.com.

As always, email your questions and suggestions to webmaster.njida@gmail.com. We love to hear from you!
Tips for Success:

Focus on Strengths, Accomodate Weaknesses
by Jessica Schwartz,                webmaster, njida.org

It is easy to focus on our weaknesses. We do it all the time. Just think about the last time you looked in the mirror.  Although it is important to understand and work on our weaknesses, it is even more crucial to know our strengths. Everyone is different and our unique strengths are what will help us to succeed in life. Those who enjoy the highest levels of success are aware of the unique mix of strengths and weaknesses that make them who they are.

Read more.

Find more helpful suggestions on our Tips for Success Page.

If you would like to submit a tip for our column, please send your suggestions to webmaster.njida@gmail.com and mark them "atttention: Sue Schwartz."