An Act To Ensure That Schoolchildren with Dyslexia Receive the Assistance Needed
Sec. 1. 20-A MRSA §7001, sub-§1-D is enacted to read:
Sec. 2. 20-A MRSA §7202-A is enacted to read:
§ 7202-A. Dyslexia screening
A school administrative unit shall annually screen students from kindergarten to grade 2 for dyslexia, except that, for the 2016-2017 school year, the school administrative unit shall screen students from kindergarten to grade 3 for dyslexia. The students screened must include students who have not previously been screened and have transferred from outside the State. A school administrative unit shall screen students in grades 3 to 12 who have difficulty, as noted by a classroom teacher, in an area described in subsections 1 to 6. The screening of a student must include an evaluation of the student's:
Sec. 3. 20-A MRSA §7211 is enacted to read:
§ 7211. Dyslexia consultant
There is created within the department the position of dyslexia consultant to assist the department in complying with the provisions of this chapter and chapters 301 and 305 as they pertain to students with dyslexia. The dyslexia consultant must be a professional highly trained in dyslexia with a minimum of 3 years of field experience in screening, identifying and treating dyslexia. The dyslexia consultant shall serve as the primary source of information and support for school administrative units addressing the needs of students with dyslexia and shall provide school administrative units dyslexia professional awareness training including training on the indicators of dyslexia and the science behind teaching a student with dyslexia. The dyslexia professional awareness training must include courses specifically designed to prepare educators to provide structured language intervention techniques and strategies needed for students with dyslexia, including the following specialized skills: phonology and decoding skills, handwriting, composition, reading fluency and comprehension, writing mechanics and spelling and learning strategies and study skills. Dyslexia professional awareness training may be provided online, at a venue provided by a school administrative unit or at another venue approved by the department and may also be provided through published programs that meet the criteria outlined in this section and that have been selected by the dyslexia consultant.
Sec. 4. Appointment of dyslexia consultant. The Commissioner of Education shall appoint a dyslexia consultant pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, section 7211 by July 1, 2016.
This bill defines dyslexia as a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It requires school administrative units to conduct screenings of students from kindergarten to grade 2 for dyslexia, except that, for the 2016-2017 school year, school administrative units must screen students from kindergarten to grade 3. It requires school administrative units to screen certain transfer and older students. It also creates the position of dyslexia consultant within the Department of Education and provides for the dyslexia consultant to provide school administrative units with dyslexia professional awareness training.