Dyslexia-screening measures for N.J. kids advance

 Dyslexia-screening measures for N.J. kids advance in the Legislature (Mel Evans/AP Photo, file)

Dyslexia-screening measures for N.J. kids advance in the Legislature (Mel Evans/AP Photo, file)

Several measures to improve education in New Jersey for students with dyslexia are progressing through the Legislature.

The bills, advanced by a Senate panel, would require public schools to screen kindergarten students for dyslexia and other reading disorders, as well as providing professional development for teachers on how best to help a dyslexic child.

Sharon Seyler of the New Jersey School Boards Association supports the screening but said she is concerned about the financial impact on school districts and taxpayers.

“We just hope that there may be a discussion for a state appropriation to offset the cost,” Seyler said.

The costs of not doing the screenings also should be considered, said resident Liz Barnes who has an 11-year-old daughter with dyslexia.

“It is my understanding that many of these screening tests have low costs that would significantly lower what it would cost to remediate a bunch of third- to fifth-graders who are two or more years behind,” said Barnes of Plumstead Township.

Barnes says early intervention is critical for children with dyslexia so they can get the appropriate education.

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