Assembly Member Simon and Senator Golden Host 2nd Annual Dyslexia Awareness Day in Albany

Albany, NY – Today, Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn) and Senator Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) hosted the 2nd Annual Dyslexia Awareness Day at the Capitol. People from all over New York State who are affected by Dyslexia attended including students, parents, educators, and others. The day’s events included remarks from legislators and academics, a video, a panel of people with Dyslexia including students and legislators, and visits with legislators. Attendees also encouraged support for Dyslexia legislation (Simon A.1480/Golden S.2534).

Assembly Bill A.1480 will require the certification or training of teachers and administrators in Dyslexia and related disorders; ensure that the word “Dyslexia” is used in pertinent Individualized Education Plans (IEPs); and ensure that students with Dyslexia are identified and evaluated early so they get the assistance they need and do not fall behind their peers. Approximately 15% of children have Dyslexia, a brain based learning disability that makes word recognition, spelling and reading success a very difficult task. About 85% of children with learning disabilities have Dyslexia, making it the most prevalent learning disability in children. Yet, most parents, teachers, and administrators have trouble recognizing its symptoms.

Assembly Member Simon said, “With a clear focus on Dyslexia awareness, we will be able to effectively identify and treat this common learning disability that affects so many people. Our young learners deserve to grow and thrive in a learning environment that is fully equipped with the tools necessary to meet their individual needs. I’m thrilled by how much support Senator Golden and I have received from our colleagues, parents, and educators throughout New York in order to make this day a success and bring long overdue attention to this issue. When children’s learning needs are properly identified and teachers are trained in effective methods of teaching reading, we all benefit.”

Sen. Golden said, “It is reported that over 40 million American adults are dyslexic but sadly only 2 million know it or are clinically diagnosed with the learning disability. The signs of dyslexia are often characterized by difficulties with accurate word recognition and by poor spelling. Other aspects of dyslexia include problems in reading comprehension, reduced reading experience, and stagnant vocabulary growth. Incredibly, people with dyslexia excel or are even gifted in areas of art, computer science, design, drama, electronics, math, mechanics, music, physics, sales and sports. A list of such people would include Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Stephen Spielberg, Leonardo da Vinci, Winston Churchill and many other high successful individuals. As we kick off Dyslexia Awareness Day, we should remember that with the right training and support people with Dyslexia can lead extraordinary lives and achieve extraordinary success.”

Assembly Member Herman D. Farrell, Jr. said, “I am glad that people are finally understanding Dyslexia. Before I knew that I had Dyslexia, I thought I wasn’t smart, but now we know that you can be Dyslexic and excel in school and life once you get the appropriate evaluation and support. We also know that Dyslexia runs in families and my daughters have Dyslexia as well. My youngest daughter attends a specialized school where she is thriving and her self-esteem is high because the teachers are trained in effective methods of teaching such children. Her experience is totally different than mine was. This legislation will help more young people like my daughter be identified, and get the help they need so they don’t struggle unnecessarily and so they can be successful in all of their future endeavors.”

Senator John Brooks said, "As someone who struggled throughout school due to undiagnosed dyslexia, I understand the challenges one faces when they have a learning disorder. Awareness is key to letting every boy and girl who has dyslexia know that they aren't less capable or less intelligent than their peers, and they should never be discouraged. There are countless individuals who have gone on to have great success in their careers -- governors, CEOs, artists, state senators, movie directors and more -- because dyslexia doesn't limit your potential or prevent you from changing the world."

“Dyslexia is a disorder that prevents too many children from succeeding at school and being everything they can be with all their God-given talents. If we have the tools to train more educators to identify the signs of Dyslexia, then we have a better opportunity to create individual education plans for children who need them and boost their self-esteem so they can reach their full potentials. I thank Senator Golden and Assemblywoman Simon for being the lead sponsors for Dyslexia Awareness Day and bringing the legislature together on this issue in a bi-partisan and non-partisan way so we can help more New Yorkers treat Dyslexia,” said Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville).

Lavinia Mancuso of Everyone Reading said, “What a simple and powerful piece of legislation! Training all teachers in basic reading methodology, identifying students as soon as they begin to struggle; giving them timely and appropriate intervention. Teachers will love it; parents will love it, and, best of all, students will learn to read easily and well.”

Debra Rafferty of Decoding Dyslexia NY said, "Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, affecting 1 out of every 4 children. Students with Dyslexia can be helped in our public schools if provided the science-based instruction, training and education that have been shown to be effective. Our greatest resource to help these children is our teachers. However, we need to enable them with the needed training, education, and awareness of Dyslexia. Decoding Dyslexia NY supports pending legislation A.1480 to address this gap. We applaud efforts by Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, Senator Martin Golden and their colleagues to get this legislation passed. These children need our help. The Annie E. Casey Foundation has found that students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times as more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers. Literacy is the pathway to learning in all areas. We learn to read, so we may read to learn and live productive lives."

“Because I received the proper remediation and support I was able to accomplish academic feats with confidence and determination. I want the same opportunities for every dyslexic student. I hope New York joins other states in recognizing that Dyslexia is a real disability and kids need real support in the classroom," Skye Meredith Lucas, 17, Dyslexia awareness advocate, University of Pennsylvania class of 2021.

“Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon has been one of the most influential people working to secure the rights of individuals with dyslexia and reading disability. This new bill will bring better training for teachers and better identification of an individual child's specific needs, thereby improving the experience for all children with reading problems, and particularly for those with dyslexia. Throughout her career Simon has been a champion for children and adults with dyslexia,” said Amy Margolis Ph.D., President, Director of Neuropsychology, Brooklyn Learning Center.

Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon was elected to her first term in 2014. Simon represents all or part of several Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Park Slope, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, Red Hook and Prospect Heights. She serves on the following committees: Transportation, Higher Education, Labor, Consumer Affairs, Judiciary and serves as chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Tuition Assistance.