At Horizons Academy in Roeland Park, Gov. Colyer signs bill creating new dyslexia task force

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer was at Horizons Academy in Roeland Park Tuesday to sign a bill creating a new task force to focus on dyslexia. Photo credit office of Gov. Jeff Colyer.

The efforts of a Shawnee Mission School District parent concerned about lack of access to resources for students with dyslexia paid off Tuesday, as Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer signed a bill creating a new task force to explore the issue.

Mothers Christina Middleton, who lives in the Shawnee Mission area, and Katie Reed, who lives in the DeSoto area, worked for months to advance the effort through their organization Decoding Dyslexia. The parents argued that Kansas doesn’t provide sufficient education resources for students with dyslexia in many cases, and that the state should be doing more to provide evidence-based interventions to keep such students on track.

“Students with dyslexia are highly intelligent, but due to neurological differences in their brains they cannot perform at the same rate as their peers,” Middleton said. “Most public school interventions fail as students fall farther and farther behind.”

Working with Reps. Tom Cox and Shelee Brim, Decoding Dyslexia helped promote a bill creating the task force that will make recommendations to the legislature and the Kansas State Board of Education about best-practices for helping students with the learning disorder.

The task force will be made up of teachers, administrators, parents, school psychologists and other experts and will “recommend evidence-based reading practices to address dyslexia or characteristics of dyslexia for use by schools.”

Colyer signed the bill in a ceremony at Horizons Academy in Roeland Park, which specializes in educating students with learning disabilities.

“The work done by this Task Force is of paramount importance to achieving the goal helping all students have every opportunity to succeed,” Colyer said, “I look forward to standing side by side with them as we explore new options for Kansans with dyslexia.”