North Dakota Receives First-Ever Dyslexia Grant


Up to 1 in 5 students are affected by dyslexia in the US. For the first time in the state’s history, they are putting aside money for ways to specifically help students with dyslexia.

Dyslexia affects the way you process and interpret language and the ability to spell, speak, and read.

The state is looking for the best ways to discover whether or not a student has the disability and to better serve the students that do.

This year during the legislative session a bill was introduced to require all schools in the state to have a dyslexia screening before students were 7-years old. There were people for and against the bill but everyone came to the conclusion something better needed to be done to identify the students that were struggling with the disability.

19 school districts will be sharing nearly $230 thousand in state grant money for the new pilot program. The grants are going to the Kindred Consortium ($92,010), the Grand Forks school district ($87,390), and West River Student Services of Dickinson ($50,000).

North Dakota School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler says she’s excited to see what will come from this new effort.

“School Districts for a very long time have been focusing on reading challenges, processing challenges, or learning challenges in general — never specifically for dyslexia before,” says Baesler. “But you brought up a good point, Dyslexia is presenting itself more and more frequently with our children and student across not only North Dakota, but it’s presenting itself more nationally.”

Right now schools North Dakota use a Multi-Tier System of Supports which provides every student with the best ways to succeed in and outside of school.

“Never before has the state looked at screening students under the age of 7 and so we haven’t gone to that level of requiring that every student under the age of 7 be screened but this is what we hope these pilots will lead us to,” Baesler tells KX. “Is that a good policy for us to have? Should we require for every student to be screened for these specific learning challenges much like we screen our students for hearing challenges and viusal challenges?”

If you are worried your child might suffer from dyslexia here are some common signs according to Mayo Clinic.

  • Late talking
  • Learning new words slowly, such as reversing sounds in words or confusing words that sound alike
  • Problems remembering or naming letters, numbers, and colors
  • Difficulty learning nursery rhymes or playing rhyming games

Baesler says for the schools that aren’t included in the pilot program to communicate with the schools that are in it now and with their students that are dyslexic as well.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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