Smith’s bipartisan dyslexia bill passes Congress

Bipartisan legislation introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) to further research into dyslexia cleared the House on Thursday and now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

The Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia (READ) Act, H.R. 3033, would support research to both expand our understanding of dyslexia and to create better methods for early detection and teacher training. The House unanimously passed the READ Act in October and approved a Senate amendment this week that sends the bill to President Barack Obama.

Approximately 8.5 million school children are affected by dyslexia, as are one-in-six Americans.

“Today we can help millions of Americans have a brighter and more prosperous future. Despite the prevalence of dyslexia, many Americans remain undiagnosed, untreated and silently struggle at school or work,” Smith said. “We need to enable those with dyslexia to achieve their maximum potential. I am glad that the House and Senate were able to work together and send the president a good bipartisan bill to help accomplish this goal.”

Under the READ Act, the president’s annual Congressional budget request would be required to include the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Research in Disabilities Education Program. The bill, as amended, also requires at least $2.5 million to be spent annually by the NSF on dyslexia research, focusing on best practices in identifying children and students with dyslexia, providing professional development about dyslexia for teachers and administrators, and developing curricula and evidence-based education tools for children with dyslexia.

The READ Act was introduced by Smith and Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), who serve as co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Dyslexia Caucus.

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