‘Michigan Dyslexia Handbook’ could be first step in statewide intervention

Guidebook to bring early intervention to Michigan public schools
Michigan introduces dyslexia guidebook
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 6:54 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Students with dyslexia learn differently than their neurotypical counterparts, and typically require a different style of teaching. However, that different style of teaching is not available in a majority of Michigan’s public schools.

Michigan’s Department of Education released a guidebook to try and change that. While advocates push for legislation to be passed, they agree the book is a step in the right direction.

“Michigan Dyslexia Handbook: A Guide to Accelerating Learner Outcomes in Literacy” is designed to help educators and school officials understand practices to prevent reading difficulties and implement assessment practices to shape instruction and intervention methods. It contains information on causes of dyslexia, reading development, support systems and more.

Currently, parents of children with dyslexia in Michigan need to find their own resources. On top of that, insurance does not cover dyslexia, so any help received is paid for out of pocket.

East Lansing resident Nicole Martin has a daughter with dyslexia. Her daughter Tristin is late to school sometimes just to get the tools she needs to learn properly.

“She works with Michigan Dyslexia Institute, she goes there twice a week. She works with Mark Trinity LLC and does online tutoring twice a week” said Martin.

The cost of these services adds up and Martin acknowledges not all families can afford to cover the bills. She believes these programs should be inside our public schools, and available to all Michigan students.

She said that without the correct resources and intervention, students with dyslexia can fall behind quickly.

The Michigan Dyslexia Institute provides student intervention and teacher training. They also advocate for the State of Michigan to do more for their students with dyslexia.

Susan Medendorp works at the institute. She said that the guidebook is a step in the right direction, but also says the problem is systemic.

“Dyslexia in the state of Michigan has not been recognized for a long time,” Medendorp said.

Due to its unrecognition, she said, misinformation and a lack of training are the biggest problems. Mendendorp said teachers need to be trained and educated on dyslexia in order to properly serve all students.

The Michigan Dyslexia Institute said only a few Michigan schools have the resources for students with dyslexia because there’s no government assistance. They’re hopeful the guidebook will give schools a clear route to implementing a policy.

You can read the full “Michigan Dyslexia Handbook: A Guide to Accelerating Learner Outcomes in Literacy” here.

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