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After years of waiting, Idaho parents may soon see support for students with dyslexia

Becca Savransky, The Idaho Statesman

Feb. 16—When state Sen. Robert Blair's father was in school, Blair said he was labeled "stupid" and a "problem child."

His father was dyslexic but didn't know it at the time, Blair said. Looking back, Blair can remember only one thing his father was afraid of: having to read something in a public setting.

"Even though that was roughly 80 years ago, that stigma is still alive with today's Idaho students," Blair said on the Senate floor Wednesday. He was speaking in support of a bill that would provide screenings to help identify students with dyslexia and interventions to help them learn. "Eighty years ago, we did not know what dyslexia was. Today, Senate Bill 1280 ... can help today's students not be afraid."

Idaho senators unanimously passed the bill — what would be a change in state law that parents, teachers and experts have been fighting for for years.

Parents told the Idaho Statesman that they struggled to get their children diagnosed with dyslexia. Even after they had a diagnosis, families said school districts across Idaho didn't provide the appropriate resources to help their children. Parents across the state have spent thousands of dollars out of pocket on outside specialists so their kids could learn to read.

The International Dyslexia Association estimates dyslexia impacts 15% to 20% of people.

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