The second bill would incorporate the International Dyslexia Association's definition of dyslexia into the state's special education regulations. No uniform definition is in use by districts statewide, something advocates say can keep students from getting the help they need.
The resolution urges the state Board of Education to develop an endorsement to the instruction certificate for teachers of students with reading disabilities, create eligibility and training requirements for the endorsement, and work with colleges to develop instructional programs for candidates for the endorsement.
"Children with dyslexia can learn effectively with appropriate teaching, but if the instruction is inadequate, it can have devastating consequences that will follow these children into adulthood," Assemblyman Nelson Albano (D., Cape May), one of the sponsors of the measures, said in a statement.
In a statement posted on the Assembly Republicans' website, cosponsor Ronald S. Dancer (R., Ocean-Burlington) said, "A learning or reading disability like dyslexia is a hidden disability."
All three measures have companions in the Senate that await action.
"This is a good thing," said Liz Barnes, an Ocean County resident and a founding member of Decoding Dyslexia, a statewide advocacy group that has spread to 23 other states. "We've been actively supporting these bills since they were introduced in December."
Contact Rita Giordano at 856-779-3893, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ritagiordano.