Proposed bill hopes to detect dyslexia in students earlier

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

OKLAHOMA CITY - Michelle Keiper couldn't figure out why her son was struggling to learn how to spell.

"I started to notice his spelling. We could study. We would get the spelling words on Friday. We could study all weekend and sometimes he would be able to pass the test, and sometimes he wouldn't," Michelle Keiper, a teacher and parent of a dyslexic son.

It wasn't until Keiper did her own research that she discovered her son, Sam, is dyslexic.

"My son is one of the lucky 5 percent that found the reason why he was struggling," Keiper said.

However, not all children figure out the problem quickly.

"I pretty much started hating school. I would just lay my head down and cry," said one child.

Researchers say dyslexia has nothing to do with I.Q.; instead, it is an issue with language.

Thousands of students struggle to read and spell at grade level, but they often don't know why.

"Most dyslexic kids are like everyone else, and they shouldn't be treated like kids with disabilities and are stupid," Sam Keiper, who struggles with dyslexia, said.

House Bill 1542 would require better screening and remediation for those showing any sign of dyslexia.

"You cannot get to the third grade and expect to fix issues in a child's reading in one year. It's unfair to the teacher. It's unfair to the students, and it's unfair to the parents," said Rep. Mike Shelton.

Other signs of dyslexia include issues remembering the order of items and children may take longer to learn how to talk.

However, many teachers struggle to identify those signs in the classroom.

"It's something that I should have been taught at the university level and had not. There was one page about dyslexia," said Renee McFarland, a teacher in Sand Springs.

Shelton says the bill would also call for better training for teachers, which could lead to earlier help for students.

"Teachers will help understand what I'm going through,” Sam Keiper said.

While there is no cure for dyslexia, there are some ways to help.

The Mayo Clinic suggests reading  out loud to your child and hiring a reading specialist, if possible.

House Bill 1542 will be presented to the education committee next week.

For more information, visit Decoding Dyslexia.

See a mistake? Report a typo here.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.