Kids with Dyslexia Struggle as Wisconsin Considers First Dyslexia Legislation

Mackenzie Martin:

For literate adults, it might be hard to remember what the process of learning to read felt like. For kids with dyslexia in Wisconsin though, learning how to read can be maddening. Help might be on the way though as two dyslexia bills circulate in Madison.

As part of our We Live Up Here series, Mackenzie Martin talks to a local reading specialist and a Rhinelander High School student with dyslexia.

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability. Kids that have it have a hard time understanding the way that sounds and letters correspond, which makes reading and spelling difficult. It can be really hard getting help, too, because a lot of schools won’t test for dyslexia or even acknowledge it’s a problem, in part because of how expensive it is to treat it.

In February, the Joint Legislative Council in Madison voted to introduce a bill that would employ a dyslexia specialist at the Department of Public Instruction. The vote on whether to introduce a related bill on developing a dyslexia guidebook was deferred until Wednesday, March 6th.

The process is in the preliminary stages right now, but a lot of people are hoping these bills become laws. People like Donna Hejtmanek in Harshaw. In addition to serving on the Dyslexia Study Committee that the bills were drafted for, she’s also a retired reading specialist and special educator of 41 years.

She says the issue is that kids with dyslexia aren’t taught how to read the right way.