NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee has passed a new law that could help schools identify kids with dyslexia.
Lori Smith, of Clarksville, and her daughter, Ryann Smith, are the faces behind the new screening bill.
They insist that every student no matter what grade you’re in is screen for dyslexia every year.
And then it’s time to intervene. For Ryann, that was actually moving words and letters around so she can see them come together.
“She has a tutor and those kinds of things but for students who don’t have someone reading at home with them or maybe their parents aren’t readers themselves and our schools currently don’t have a way to identify this type of unique reading disability then who’s helping them,” said Lori Smith.
“It would be like getting held back and I could probably redo the grade like three times and probably never understand what was going on. If I didn’t have the help I had today,” said Ryann.
Ryann actually got in front of all of our states lawmakers and told them it took her almost three years to figure out why she was struggling with reading.
Her parents put her through testing and she was on months long wait lists, even went to a private psychologist. They had the means to do so.
Those who don’t are usually left behind.
“You do have high school students now who have slipped through the cracks all these years and with dyslexic students they’re able to cope they’re able to do well so sometimes they don’t show up on a teacher’s radar that they have a reading struggle because they make pretty good grades,” said Smith.
“In my class there’s probably like five of us who probably have dyslexia and I’m probably the only one who knows it,” said Ryann.
Before Ryann was diagnosed she says she would take a test at school and do terribly. She would then bring the same test home and her family would read the questions aloud to her and she would ace everyone.
The Dyslexia Screening Bill was signed into law in June.