Defining dyslexia in South Dakota


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A bill being proposed by 16 South Dakota legislators is defining dyslexia.

15 Republicans and one Democrat are supporting House Bill 1175. It’s an act to define dyslexia for the purposes of special education and related services. South Dakota currently has no laws on dyslexia.

The bill has been sent to the house education committee, but a hearing has yet to be scheduled.

Page 1 of Hb 1175
Page 1 of Hb 1175

According to the International Dyslexia Association, “Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, that results in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia often experience difficulties with both oral and written other language skills, such as writing, and pronouncing words and writing.”

The website also reiterates that South Dakota is the only state without any bills signed. IDA also includes a map showing how many bills the states have enacted.

Brad Berens is the Superintendent for the West Central School District. He says this isn’t the first time South Dakota has seen a bill like this.

“It does look like they’re trying to, with this most current one, further define what dyslexia is. In the past we have seen bills that have outlined specific testing for dyslexia,” Berens said.

Some school districts have curriculum set in place for dyslexic learners, but others don’t have any guidelines or different practices for these students. Julie Mickelberg is a mother of a dyslexic learner. She says this bill could help bring more practices for dyslexic learning into schools.

“Our son was born with a neurological condition. And, he is entitled by law to be educated, but the school system, because we didn’t have that definition, and because we didn’t have the inclusion of dyslexia as a learning disability, we were not able to address his issues,” Mickelberg said.

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